Oscars: Shaq Enters a Race With Basketball Doc ‘Killer Bees’ (Exclusive)

“I’ve been to a Hamptons 20 times,” Los Angeles Lakers fable Shaquille O’Neal told me on Friday when we spoke with him exclusively about his opening into a Oscar foe as a writer of a documentary underline Killer Bees. “But I’ve been on a abounding people’s side — a Leonardo DiCaprio, a Puffy, a Beyonce side, with a boats, where people are good off — so when we was told there was another side, we was like, ‘That’s impossible!'”

So, during a propelling of his crony Glenn Fuhrman, O’Neal screened an early cut of Ben Cummings and Orson Cummings‘ 82-minute documentary underline about a primarily-black Bridehampton High School basketball group — nicknamed a “Killer Bees”  — and a coach, Carl Johnson as they shielded their 2015 state pretension while concurrently confronted with racism, gentrification and income inequality. “I was utterly astounded by what we saw,” a 46-year-old said. “I was like, ‘This is a story that needs to be told.'”

O’Neal and art dealer/gallerist Larry Gagosian, a Hamptons local, sealed on to a film as producers, with Fuhrman fasten as an executive producer. The film had an awards-qualifying run in theaters on both coasts a week of Jul 27 — it played during a Cinema Village in New York and a Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Los Angeles — and it subsequently strike VOD on Aug. 7 before, reasonably enough, personification during a Hamptons International Film Festival on Oct. 6.

O’Neal couldn’t be during a Hamptons for a film’s premiere, though he says he had already finished several trips to Bridgehampton to accommodate with a kids — he even shot hoops with a team. “When they saw that we was a unchanging person, we consider that’s what repelled them a most,” he removed with amusement. “I came in by myself, no bodyguards, no entourage, wearing a same jeans as they were, same clothes, same sneakers — and we consider they satisfied that we was an comparison chronicle of them.”

Next Wednesday, O’Neal, along with Gagosian, Fuhrman and a Cummings brothers (Bridgehampton High alums) will pierce their film to Hollywood, hosting a screening and accepting for friends with boldfaced names and members of a Academy’s documentary branch, in a wish that a film might benefit some Oscar traction forward of voting to establish a shortlist for a best documentary underline Oscar. (O’Neal will also join me for an part of THR‘s ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast that will cover his whole life and career, and will post shortly thereafter.)

O’Neal has served as a writer on several projects given timid from basketball in 2011 — among them, a 2016 30 for 30 part “This Magic Moment,” a 2017 eremite play Steps and a 2018 documentary A Week in Watts. Still, we half-jokingly had to ask him if he is feeling some-more encouraged to pierce into a area of awards-caliber projects these days, so that he can obstacle an Oscar like his former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant, with whom he always enjoyed extreme competition, and who took home a statuette for best charcterised brief in Mar for his autobiographical film Dear Basketball. “Oh, that’s funny,” he replied with a laugh. “That’s funny. It would be good [to win]. But when we put these films out, we wish that they will hold people emotionally. Lives aren’t going to change otherwise. If we win awards, we win awards. But zero I’ve finished outward of basketball has been about winning awards.”

And does he intend to continue producing films after this one? “Of course,” he pronounced emphatically. “We’ve got a lot of things in a works. Now that I’m late and have most some-more time, yes, we wish to do it most more.”

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