Where baseball was Jackie Robinson, so was in the NBA Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, whose story is finally explored in Sweetened water. The sports film explores the story of a Harlem Globetrotter who would become the first African American to sign a contract with the NBA for the New York Knickerbockers, though he faced a lot of hardships along the way.
Everett Osborne leads Team Sweetwater alongside Jeremy Piven, Cary Elwes, Kevin Pollack, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Richard, Gary Clark Jr., Jim Meskimen and Eric Roberts. The film explores Sweetwater’s first-hand story, and the impact he had on those around him, and is an emotional adaptation to the life of a living legend.
before the movie was released, screen rant Speak EXCLUSIVELY with superstar Cary Elwes to discuss Sweetened waterhis knowledge of the true story of the film, and its potential opinion The return of the franchise, working with Zack Snyder Moon Rebeland more.
Cary Elwes on Sweetwater, The Return of Saw and Rebel Moon
Screen Rant: I’m so excited to talk to you Sweetened waterI saw it earlier this morning, and it was just a beautiful movie. What really sparked your interest in being a part of it?
Carrie Elwes: Well, if you look at my body of work, Grant, I kind of gravitate toward historical subjects. History was the only subject I was really good at in school, but if a film, if a project, has any redeeming social, cultural or historical value to it, those are the projects I obviously gravitate toward. This one seems to tick all of those boxes.
It was a story I didn’t know. I had no idea about Sweetwater; I didn’t know who Ned Irish was. Little did I know Sweetwater changed basketball. I didn’t know any of these things, which is really a shame. So, I am thankful that I got the chance to be part of a project that helps enlightened people.
I certainly didn’t know as much about Sweetwater’s story as I did from the movie.
Cary Elwes: What did you know? I’m curious, as a Brit, you’re an American who grew up here, you learn about sports, what do you know about Sweetwater?
How much research did you find that you had to do to understand the story as a whole, as well as to understand Ned? Or is it mostly in Martin’s script?
Cary Elwes: Martin did a great job with the script, and he’s had this project for 28 years, which gives you a glimpse into this guy’s passion. Martin was instrumental in helping Sweetwater be inducted into the Hall of Fame. I’ve been able to find plenty of interviews with Ned and with his contemporaries, friends, and a few detractors, to build up a general picture of the man that really struck me, you know, because he was definitely a conflicted individual.
I think the first thing I knew about Ned was that the color that really interested him was green. He was all about filling out the park, whether it was rodeo, dog show, wrestling or boxing, it didn’t matter to him as long as the revenue came in.
He thought the Globetrotters were just a bunch of circus performers, and he saw nothing of it, and it wasn’t until Lapchick really took the time to impress the Irish, and the Irish got to meet Sweetwater and watch him play, [did he] He seriously realized that this man was really an extraordinary basketball player, who had the opportunity to change the game as we know it. I think Irish realized he could be remembered for something more than just being the owner of the Park and the Knicks, he could actually help being a part of history. I think this was an important decision for him, and one he didn’t take lightly. Obviously, he had a flight to go before he got there.
I love the way this movie chronicles that journey, so with all this research you’ve done, what are the most interesting parts that you learned that you brought to your performance?
Cary Elwes: That’s a good question. Grant, I felt among his detractors and supporters that he was very outspoken and very outspoken. He was very tough on the outside, but he was weak at heart, so he obviously used those qualities to his advantage when he needed to. He was someone who really loved the game, but didn’t understand his place in history until Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton entered his life, and like I said, those people operated out of fear. This was the time of apartheid, in the 1940s and 1950s, when people operated out of fear. For Ned, it was fear of the bottom line, fear of becoming a figure of ridicule.
But then, I realize that this man has the power to change the sport as we know it. There isn’t a single statue of this man, or plaque anywhere other than the Hall of Fame, and I find that fascinating, I really did. This man changed sports as we know it. I had the honor of meeting Mr. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and asked him, “What does Sweetwater mean to you?” And he said, “Carrie, there would be no Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, no Michael Jordan, no Magic Johnson. We couldn’t live without this guy, so we have a lot to respect.” The fact that this movie took 28 years to complete can now tell you how complicated it is for these people to be identified, even on film, it’s extraordinary.
You mentioned Ned’s relationship with Lapchick in the movie, and the dynamic that you and Jeremy have throughout the movie is a joy to watch, what was it like to build that relationship and that dynamic with him?
Cary Elwes: Yeah, you look at Lapchick’s character, he also has conflicts, I think you have to create conflict with the character, because that’s who we are as human beings. We are besieged by our struggles, our dreams, and our desires, but it’s the differences that really define who we are, unfortunately, and so when you make the right decision in life, you realize that history is upon you, and you have to make the right move.
These people understood the ramifications of that, and it may have taken them longer to get there, because of the time they were living in, but at least they made the right decision in the end, and I’m grateful to them. I think we can all be very grateful to them, because they changed basketball as we know it. Now, we look at professional sports, and we can’t imagine those sports without people of color, so [it was a] Time is crazy but thank God the smartest minds prevail.
I couldn’t agree more, and love the way Everett brings Sweetwater to life in the movie.
Cary Elwes: Yeah, he’s an amazing guy, not just a great actor, but an amazing human being. We were very lucky to get him, because without Everett, there would be no movie. You’re talking about finding an actor who can perform, but who can also play basketball. Everett, this guy can play a professional role if he feels like it, honestly, I’m not kidding, this guy’s an exceptional athlete, but also to be able to bring humanity into the role, and pressure him to do all of that, he delivered. I can tell you, I can count on one hand the times he missed the basket while we were shooting. He’s made literally hundreds, so all of our reactions on camera when watching them were real. [Chuckles] This guy was extraordinary, so we were very lucky to have him, and he stepped up to the plate, delivered in ways we can only hope.
I’m a huge fan of the horror genre, and I love it opinion franchise. We have the next movie, and we knew Amanda would be back for it. I know you can’t say whether or not you’ll come back for it, but I’m curious if you’ve ever considered further exploring Lawrence’s story in this franchise in the future?
Cary Elwes: I have no comment one way or the other about this franchise, I can’t really speak to it. I’m glad the filmmakers keep making money, and it seems like a monetary reward to them, I can’t really speak to, because I’m not really involved anymore.
You have a number of exciting projects coming up, but one that really piqued my interest is Moon Rebel, just for the breadth of that representation, which Zack Snyder always seems to have. How was your experience working on this film? What can you tell me that won’t get you in trouble with Zack and Netflix?
Cary Elwes: I can’t tell you much, honestly, other than that it’s an epic movie. I think fans will be very excited when they get the chance to see it. It’s a big, massive movie, and Zack, you know, knows how to make the epic. So, it was a fun experience, and I’m excited for the crowd to watch. It’s coming out at Christmas, and it’s so much fun.
In the late 1940s, basketball was a whites-only game. But the bird across the country is a team of African-American players whose extraordinary talent and showmanship have made them famous for nearly two decades: The Harlem Globetrotters, including the 26-year-old named Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton (EVERETT OSBORNE). ), whose power-advancing skills fascinate audiences and opponents alike, inspiring sportscasters to create neologisms such as “dunk” for Sweetwater’s on-field accomplishments.
As Abe Saperstein (KEVIN POLLAK), the Trotters’ manager and promoter, works to get the team and Sweetwater the recognition they deserve, irrepressible New York Knicks coach Joe Lapchick (JEREMY PIVEN) sees in Sweetwater the man who can rock the game as “Jackie.” Robinson is a basketball player.
Sweetened water Hits theaters April 14th.