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Can Athletes Ever Be Movie Stars?

Still Processing

May 19 2022 • 27 mins

What happens when athletes decide to act? And what doesn’t happen? Wesley Morris and Bill Simmons, sportswriter and founder of The Ringer, break down the history of athletes in movies. They start with Jackie Robinson playing himself in 1950, discuss the Blaxpoitation-era stars and make their way to the ’90s, from “He Got Game” (where Ray Allen turns in a solid performance opposite Denzel Washington, directed by Spike Lee) to “Space Jam” (the less said, the better). They trace this phenomenon all the way to Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock, arguably the most successful athlete-turned-actor of all time — who seems to be playing the long game. Then, they imagine a new kind of renaissance for the sports movie.

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