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Rebound: Old School Meets Middle School
By Marie Morreale

Martin Lawrence stars as Roy McCormick, a high-strung college basketball coach who must redeem himself following a public meltdown, by leading a junior high school team.
(Photo: ©John P. Johnson)

Rebound is a laugh-out-loud film about hot-tempered, yet successful college basketball coach Roy McCormick. When he loses his temper and accidentally knocks out the opposing team's mascot, he's kicked out of college basketball until he can change his attitude. So Roy takes a job coaching an inner-city middle school team on a losing streak.

At first, Coach Roy just shows up for work dressed in his designer suits and ignores the kids who need his help. Eventually, the kids on the team melt his cold heart and draw him into their world.

Comedian Martin Lawrence plays Coach Roy McCormick. Read on for exclusive interviews with Lawrence and the rest of the cast of Rebound.


SN: How do you relate to your character, Coach Roy McCormick?
Martin: Well, I guess I could relate to him [about] getting angry and maybe blowing certain things out of proportion, but that comes with growing up and things like that. In this case he happens to be this college coach who can't get it together, and he's forced to coach a middle school team. So as far as it relates to me, I balance it and don't try to lose my temper that much. I've gotten angry while playing ball and things like that, so I can kind of identify with taking the game a little too seriously.

SN: What kind of message would you give to kids who might have anger issues and don't know whom to talk to?
Martin: Well, most definitely I think it's always a good thing to talk to somebody, because nobody can do it alone. We all have moments and times where we get angry and things upset us, but it's learning how to channel it. I think for kids who have that problem, if they're not talking to their parents, they most definitely should be talking to someone who's a professional to help them channel that.

SN: Did you play basketball in school?
Martin: No, I kind of just learned it as I rounded my 15, 16, 17th year. It's one of my favorite pastimes. If I have a lot on my mind, I go out to the court, and I start shooting around and playing with a group of friends. I'm enjoying it; it's an outlet for me.

SN: Which is your favorite team?
Martin: Detroit Pistons! I just got my ring this year, so I'm happy.

SN: Did you go in with certain expectations like how to deal with the kids?
Martin: Well, I've got three daughters myself, so I understand that they have their own personalities. The one thing I took into the movie was learning how to have patience with them, especially knowing that they have energy that they need to channel. By doing that, it allowed us to have a wonderful shoot, and it was just fun.

SN: How old are your daughters?
Martin: My daughters are 2, 4, and 9.

SN: Did the 9 year-old get to come on the set?
Martin: Yes, she got to do a little part, a little extra part in there, so she was excited about that.

SN: Does she see her dad on the screen and want to be in movies herself?
Martin: Well, this is what she's telling me right now. I want her to concentrate on her education. Once you got that you can do anything.

SN: Did you find yourself being a big brother to kids on the set?
Martin: Well, I kind of just played the Coach role, even when we weren't filming. I was just kind of to myself as far as being Coach and let the kids run together and get their camaraderie together. For me, I would have them come over some days and play basketball, so that would give them some outlets and give me an opportunity to bond with them and things like that, but nothing forced.

SN: Is there any actor you would really like to work with?
Martin: I probably said this years ago, but I guess I would say Denzel Washington, because I feel he can teach [me about] the level he's acting on. I think it would be a lot of fun just to learn from him.

SN: When you were in school, did you have a favorite subject?
Martin: Art and acting.

SN: In terms of art, did you like painting or sculpting?
Martin: Yeah, painting, sculpting, doing stickmen and all that—and I wasn't very good at it. I mean I didn't even do a good stickman, but I know my teacher would always say, "Martin, would you please settle down and stop joking all the time. If you just settle down and let the class finish their work, I'll give you the last two to three minutes of class to say and do what you want."

SN: What a great teacher!
Martin: I know. She was very helpful in that way. It's always important for [kids] to have someone to talk to—especially teachers who can talk to them and kind of hone into what they're going through. That's what she did for me. She actually gave me numbers for comedy clubs. The only thing I promised if I ever made it, I would buy her a car, and I lived up to that and bought her a car.

SN:What's her name?
Martin: Her name is Miss Henderson. Yeah, we called her Froggy.

SN: Why did you call her Froggy?
Martin: That was just her nickname. She approved it.


Coach Roy McCormick (Martin Lawrence) isn't pleased about having to change the tire on a bus carrying the Smelters to their game.
(Photo: ©John P. Johnson)
SN:Tell me about your character Keith. Are you like him or different from him?
Oren: Actually, I am very like my character Keith. We both really like basketball. We are very good and we play it all the time. I am kind of different from him because he goes at his coaches. If he doesn't like his coaches or doesn't like how the program is going on his basketball team, he lets the coach know it. He goes head-to-head with him. I don't do that.

SN: Was there anything silly that happened on the set with you guys?
Oren: On set I mean [Martin] plays different characters. He plays most of the characters in the movie, and he has this one character called Preacher Don, like a team preacher, and it is funny. He has like gold teeth and a perm with a purple suit on. That was the hardest thing; I had to keep from laughing on set. That had to be the hardest thing because that was so funny.

SN: Have you encountered anybody who has had anger management problems like Coach Roy, in Rebound? How did you deal with them?
Oren: I did. I had a coach a couple years ago who wasn't a really good coach. He yelled a lot, and he encouraged me not to shoot. He wanted his son to shine, instead of the rest of the team. I did not really like that, but I didn't really react like Keith would have reacted... I just dealt with it because I knew he would pass in a couple of years and go to another team.

SN: Which is your favorite NBA team?
Oren: My favorite team right now, even though they are going through a slump, is the Lakers. They have been my favorite team since the 3-peat and all that—even before they won three consecutive championships.

SN: Do you have a favorite player on the Lakers or on another team?
Oren: I like Kobe as a player but I have two other favorites on other teams. LeBron James is excellent. He is really good and Steve Nash. He is averaging like 18 points and 11 assists per game. That is really hard to do.

SN: Do you have a specific shot or move?
Oren: I can up with this 360 reverse layup. Cool. You are in the air, and it is like you're flying.

SN: What is your favorite subject in school?
Oren: My favorite subjects are math and science.

SN: Tell me why you like math.
Oren: I like math because it makes you think. It is not too easy, with me it is not too hard, but the math I am going through right now is getting pretty hard.

SN: Which math is that?
Oren: Algebra I. The equations and quadratic equations, I am getting through it, and I am still getting an A on it.


SN: First, tell us about your character on your TV show, Phil of the Future, Pim Duffy.
Amy: Well, Pim is sort of maniacal, and she's super, super smart. She doesn't like her brother, because he's perfect and she feels kind of like she's a screw-up. But she has a good heart in the end, and she's really close with her mom and she thinks her dad's crazy. She plots against everyone and she's not mean-spirited, but she's evil, so she's really fun to play.

SN: Do you ever wish that you could be as blunt as she is?
Amy: All the time. She does things that I want to do all the time. She does what every kid dreams of doing, but I mean sometimes I wish I didn't have a conscience and could just say what I wanted to, but I do.

SN: Was it fun being a girl with all those guys?
Amy: Actually, there was one other girl on it, Alia Shawkat, who's on Arrested Development, so we ran together. I mean the boys teased us, but it was so fun. Boys will go out and play basketball with you and baseball and wall ball, so it's nice to be around that.

SN: Do you have a favorite teacher?
Amy: Well, the teacher who really inspired me to do what I can and do everything I can and try my hardest and who really started me getting into poetry and inspired me to try out for the school talent show was Mrs. Bittner. She was my second grade teacher and she was the best teacher and by far my favorite.

SN: Do you keep in touch with her at all?
Amy: I sent her a letter, but I don't know if it even got to her, or if she's even at the school anymore, but if I ever win an Oscar, she will definitely be thanked.


SN: Describe Beans. Is he like you?
Stephen Anthony Lawrence: Beans is like a modern day Dennis the Menace. I don't know. Some people think I'm like him. My parents do. I don't really.

SN: What's the quality you like best about him and the one you like least?
Stephen Anthony Lawrence: He's really loyal, I guess. And he's really annoying.

SN: What was Martin like to work with?
Stephen Anthony Lawrence: Martin is just a hoot. He's just the absolute greatest guy. Very funny.

SN: You've worked in Cheaper by the Dozen and Cat in the Hat. You've worked with top comedians like Steve Martin, Mike Myers, Martin Lawrence, and Will Ferrell. That's impressive for a 14 year-old! Do you want to be a comedic actor?
Stephen Anthony Lawrence: I want to continue acting comedically, but I also want to direct. I plan to go to USC to study film.

SN: What's your favorite book?
Stephen Anthony Lawrence: Um, I don't know. I know the guy is a little weird, but I really like Stephen King.

SN: What's your favorite book of his?
Stephen Anthony Lawrence: I really liked Cujo. That was one of my favorites.

SN: Why is reading important for kids?
Stephen Anthony Lawrence: It expands your vocabulary. The other day I learned what "lucid" means.


Coach Roy McCormick (Martin Lawrence) celebrates with the Smelters.
(Photo: © John P. Johnson)
SN: Tell me about your character in Rebound.
Steven Christopher Parker: My character is Wes, a tall, skinny band geek who plays the French horn. He's not an athlete, but he gets recruited to play basketball.

SN: Because of his height?
Steven Christopher Parker: Yeah.

SN: Tell me about some crazy things that happened on the set.
Steven Christopher Parker: Well, Martin Lawrence improvised half of the movie.

SN: How did you handle that? Did that throw you off at all?
Steven Christopher Parker: No. I've been doing improv for a long time, so it was actually a lot of fun.

SN: I read that War of the Worlds was the book that influenced you the most. Why?
Steven Christopher Parker: I don't know. It's just a really interesting book. It's all about how man dominated the earth and when something comes, it can just take us over. And it's all about how there could be life on Mars. It's just a cool book and inspired me to write something like that.

SN: Speaking of books, do you remember the first book you actually read as a little kid?
Steven Christopher Parker: I think it might have been a book called Why Is the Grass Green?. It's a series of books and they answer questions like why the grass is green and why the sky is blue.

SN: Sounds like you're still very inquisitive. What would you like to find out more about?
Steven Christopher Parker: I would love to find out more about history. I'm a big history buff. I love learning about all the things that happened. I love to learn about tons of stuff that happened in the past.

SN: Jim Carrey has had a big influence on you. How old were you when you first saw one of his movies or first saw him on TV?
Steven Christopher Parker: I was about 9 years old, or maybe I was 11. I saw Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. I was obsessed with it. We had a copy of it, and we took it on a vacation trip in our RV. We just watched it over and over again. My brother and I wrote out the scenes that we liked, and we just played them over and over and over again.

SN: You mentioned that your family went on vacation in an RV. Is that a family tradition?
Steven Christopher Parker: We did that twice or three times a few years back. We haven't done it since, but we went to Wyoming. We went to Yellowstone National Park, and we went to South Dakota and saw Mount Rushmore.

SN: So you've seen some pretty unbelievable and exciting things in the United States.
Steven Christopher Parker: Yeah.

SN: What's impressed you the most and where would you like to go?
Steven Christopher Parker: I would love to go to Venice, Italy or all over Italy. It's the most amazing country I've ever heard of.