'White Men Can't Jump' at 30: Woody Harrelson reveals how he hustled co-star Wesley Snipes while filming
To hear him tell it, Woody Harrelson enjoyed every minute of shooting the 1992 basketball favorite White Men Can't Jump, released in theaters 30 years ago Sunday.
"That was one of the funnest times I ever had doing a movie," Harrelson told us during a 2017 Role Recall interview (watch above, with White Men starting at 1:45). "The whole experience was incredible. All those guys who worked on it, and playing ball all day long. Ron Shelton, great director. It was a great experience."
But it's clear there was one moment in particular the Cheers alum savors above all else from the set of the film, in which he co-starred with Wesley Snipes, as they played a pair of Venice Beach street ballers who join forces to hustle other players. It was hustling Wesley Snipes.
"I remember having an actual contest with Wes where I was trying to dunk. We were betting and everything. And I was losing. And then he went to his trailer to rest or something – I don't know what he does in his trailer," Harrelson recalled.
As Harrelson was practicing, a woman on the production's sound team asked him why he wasn't stretching. It was his "introduction to yoga" – Harrelson has done it ever since – and it worked wonders.
"I started stretching and the next thing you know, I could dunk the ball," he said.
Of course the actor had to clarify: "Just on a nine-and-a-half-foot rim. I couldn't do it on a 10-foot rim. But even on that, it was the absolutely peak, the top of my abilities, just to get that nine-and-a-half-foot rim."
When Snipes came out of his trailer after doing whatever Wesley Snipes does in his trailer, Harrelson flexed a classic con artist move, pretending he still couldn't jump.
"And we upped the bet and upped the bet and then I slammed it," he laughed. "I'll never forget the look on Wes's face. That was a joyous moment."
Harrelson, Snipes and co-star Rosie Perez will reunite for what will hopefully be another joyous moment as presenters at Sunday's Academy Awards.
Stream White Men Can't Jump on Amazon Prime.