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About The Production
Whether on court or on set, it was all about teamwork for the actors in the urban drama, Crossover. Written and directed by Preston A. Whitmore, II, Crossover cast the most talented professionals Whitmore could find in acting and in streetball. Preparation for the film included two weeks of on-court workouts for six to eight hours a day run by the film's basketball choreographer, Mark Edwards.

Whitmore's script called for more than 100 different plays in the film's on-court scenes and Edwards wanted to make sure that every razzle-dazzle move was true to the game. As the first major film to depict streetball, Edwards said everyone's goal was to make sure that Crossover was authentic.

"I put them through the torture chamber,” said Edwards of actors Anthony Mackie and Wesley Jonathan. "As far as the film is concerned, when we have a team unit, whether it's acting or playing ball, we need to stick together. We win together and we lose together.”

Mackie echoed Edwards' commitment to the actors and players functioning as a team. Hot Sauce helped both Mackie and Jonathan with specific ball handling tricks and the actors provided the famed ‘baller with suggestions on approaching certain scenes. For Mackie, one of the benefits of working with Edwards on Crossover is the overall improvement in his skills for pick-up games back home.

"Mark completely changed my style of shooting,” said Mackie with a glimmer of pride. "I couldn't hit a three-point shot from the baseline to save my life. And now I step back and I'm all net!”

The actors and the players shared the best of themselves with each other for the making of Crossover, mixing a fair amount of good-natured trash talk in with the camaraderie. Mackie continued, "When Mark Edwards came in, he told us that if we didn't show them respect as ball players then we'd get used on the basketball court. But I told Mark that if they didn't show us respect as actors, then they'd get used in a scene. It was all fun and games and everyone stepped up to the plate as far as making the work look realistic.”

For that realism, Whitmore recruited not only Hot Sauce, a former And-1 player and star of its Mix Tape series, but brought in several other professional streetball players, as well. The streetballers, who played on the teams Enemy of the State or Platinum in the film, included Marvin "High Riser” Collins and Michael Banks, famed for on-court vertical leaps in the 50-inch range.

Other notable players included Jason "The Professional” Martin, Renaldo "Violator” Johnson, "Springs” William Johnson, Michael Law, Ryan Harrow who doubled for Lil JJ, and Irving "Right Back” Lapone, among several others.

For Whitmore, casting professional players who've toured with And 1, showed their skills in commercials and on courts around the world was key to exposing the sport for the first time in a major film.

"Streetball is probably one of the biggest quiet phenomenons that America has seen,” Whitmore said. "It has its genesis in the Harlem Globetrotters in some of the moves that we have seen in the past that have been taken to the next level today. And one of the things that's great about having these players is that we're not using digital tricks. What the audience sees on the screen is what these guys can actually do.”

Along with the themes of friendship and loyalty, Crossover also takes a look at talent, ambition and the choices that talented hoops players have to make. In the film, basketball is just a means to an end for Noah Cruise, a ticket to study medicine and not entry into the NBA. It's a conflict that Hot Sauce said he can relate to.

"When a player starts thinking about having that paper coming in, of course they're gonna chase the money before waiting for that degree,” he said. "So, then chase the money and the


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