Jack Harlow is the latest rap star to try his hand at acting and debut in Hulu’s White men can’t jump remake — and director Calmatic thinks Harlow has a bright future on screen.
“Whatever he does, it doesn’t feel fake or forced,” the director said The Hollywood Reporter at the film’s Los Angeles premiere on May 11 of what landed Harlow the role. “I think once he started acting and things got real, it was like, man, he’s doing his thing, this is special. I told him, ‘I think in 10 years you’ll be Jack Harlow, the actor who can rap well,’ so hopefully that’s what it is.”
Harlow takes on the role of Woody Harrelson from the 1992 basketball classic, while Sinqua Walls plays the role originated by Wesley Snipes. In preparation, the actors were put through an extensive basketball boot camp, as Calmatic teased, “We definitely put Jack Harlow through the wringer. We were like, ‘Hey man, you need to start training real quick.’ So he trained in between his tour dates and it all ended up being great. He came to court ready to go, man. He killed it.”
Walls had similar praise for Harlow, noting that since it was the rapper’s first time acting, “if he needed me, I was there. We’ve talked at length, but one of the things about him is he’s so naturally talented, he’s already got a lot of the stuff you can’t learn. And it just amplified that in those moments, and he did.
Although Walls was a basketball player in his youth, he still attended basketball practice to work on the chemistry between him and Harlow on the court, explaining, “Jack knew when I was going to the basket or I knew when he was going to pulling for a jump shot. That was our frequency.”
Of the daunting task of reimagining the iconic film, Calmatic — who chose not to consult with any of the original’s creative teams — said he was drawn to the Los Angeles focus.
“I think a lot of people don’t think of LA as a basketball place, but I grew up here and I think LA has a lot to offer in terms of basketball,” the executive said. “It was just my chance to tell that real story in an authentic way that people can relate to. It was a dream come true.”
White men can’t jump begins streaming on Hulu on Friday.