LeBron James Talks About His Role in ‘Trainwreck’

Aaron (BILL HADER) with LEBRON JAMES as himself in Trainwreck – Photo Credit Mary Cybulski

He’s widely considered as one of the greatest athletes of his generation and stars in Judd Apatow’s latest comedy “Trainwreck” playing the best friend of Bill Hader’s character. Although he has never taken on such a large acting role, the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player says he was game for the challenge. “They said, ‘You’re going to play yourself, and I told them that I can do that easily. I can just show up and say, ‘I’m LeBron. I play basketball. I can shoot some jumpers, and I can dunk.’ They said, ‘No. You’re actually going to be Bill’s best friend in the movie, and you’re going to be a love doctor who helps him patch things up with his girlfriend.’

Amy (AMY SCHUMER) chats it up with LEBRON JAMES - Photo Credit Mary Cybulski
Amy (AMY SCHUMER) chats it up with LEBRON JAMES – Photo Credit Mary Cybulski

In his fifth feature film as a director, Apatow once again shows his continuing knack for hits as he introduces us to Amy (TV’s “Inside Amy Schumer”) who has been raised by her philandering father to believe that monogamy isn’t realistic. Now a barhopping, pot-smoking magazine writer, she lives by that doctrine, and is enjoying what she feels is an uninhibited sex life free from stifling, boring romantic commitment. When she finds herself starting to fall for the subject of the new article she’s writing, a charming and successful sports doctor named Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), she starts to wonder if other grown-ups, including this guy who really seems to like her, might be on to something.

LEBRON JAMES and BILL HADER  - Photo Credit Universal Pictures
LEBRON JAMES and BILL HADER – Photo Credit Universal Pictures

“Trainwreck” benefits enormously from the likeability of its leads. Aaron is a nerdy overachiever in the world of sports medicine. He wants to help people and works with Doctors Without Borders, which is an organization that he feels strongly about, while the straight-talking Amy is no model of moral integrity. She’s a sexual girl who does what she wants, even if it means ending up doing the walk of shame among early morning commuters with whom she takes the Staten Island ferry. The juxtaposition of the two characters proves fertile ground for fantastic banter for they are believable and extremely likeable as the thrust together couple.

Amy (AMY SCHUMER) tries to relax with Aaron (BILL HADER) in Trainwreck - Photo Credit Universal Pictures
Amy (AMY SCHUMER) tries to relax with Aaron (BILL HADER) in Trainwreck – Photo Credit Universal Pictures

With sparkling performances from characters that include Brie Larson as Amy’s straight laced sister to stand-up comedian Colin Quinn, who plays their sardonic father, what makes this film work is its ability to squeeze big laughs out of real-world situations. The film succeeds because the actors play their characters well.  With a carousel of entertaining characters, the supporting cast includes Tilda Swinton, who plays Amy’s boss, the brazen British editor of S’Nuff magazine and James as Aaron’s best friend. James plays a penny-pincher who loves the TV show “Downton Abbey” and always insists they split the check despite his financial success. “Look at what happened to MC Hammer,” he says in one scene.  Far too interested in Aaron’s life and his relationships he’s always the doctor, following up and trying to understand why Aaron’s making certain decisions. Happy that Aaron has finally found a girlfriend, he is also extremely protective of his pal.

LEBRON JAMES and director JUDD APATOW  - Photo Credit Mary Cybulski
LEBRON JAMES and director JUDD APATOW – Photo Credit Mary Cybulski

“Amy is a bit of a trainwreck, and she sends my best friend, Aaron, through a collision course mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. But you got to go through pitfalls in order to get what you want, and that’s the best part of this flick,” shares James.

Resisting any urge to look for just one laugh-out-loud moment per scene, Apatow shoots for incessant humor loading up every other minute with witticisms and filling smaller roles with other talented comedians (Dave Attell, Tim Meadows, Nikki Glaser and Leslie Jones). There are several funny sexual scenes including one when Amy insists her blatantly closeted OCD CrossFit instructor (played by wrestler John Cena) talk to her during sex and another scene where she almost ends up screwing the magazine’s teenage intern.

TILDA SWINTON plays Dianna, Amy's editor - Photo Credit Mary Cybulski
TILDA SWINTON plays Dianna, Amy’s editor – Photo Credit Mary Cybulski

Apatow continues his exploration into the world of relationships with this well-established ensemble which delivers not only killer laughs but also a palpable sense of affection. He lets the story take hold and the characters develop throughout with a mix of laughs and romance.

“Trainwreck” will resonate with a lot of folks and appeal to both sexes.  If Apatow (director of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”) was seeking to make another funny film that is also romantic and realistic about relationships, he’s certainly succeeded once again. Finally, a breath of fresh air arrives in this stale summer of superheroes films.

Samantha Ofole-Prince serves as the Senior Entertainment Editor for Trendy Africa. She covers industry-specific news that includes television and film. Photos by Mary Cybulski

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.