Thunderstruck is a family friendly flick staring three-time NBA scoring champ and recent Olympic gold medalist Kevin Durant. In the movie, the 23-year-old plays himself, and mystically switches skills with a nerdy teenager.
I thought for sure this was going to be like Freaky Friday but for boys — Not really!
It certainly has star power with Durant, along with the other cast members, including Jim Belushi and his son, Robert. But the basketball star is a pretty soft-spoken, quiet guy and not nearly as charismatic on the screen as he is on the court.
Dressed in camouflage pants, a black long sleeve jersey shirt, his signature shoes and black and white checked socks, Durant told me he likes fashion and tries to set his own since of style.
The movie just feels like it wasn’t developed enough. I’m sure a lot of it is on the cutting room floor. We really wanted to see Durant not just miss shots on the basketball court but become more of the awkward 14-year-old freshman role. Maybe it’s because we’ve already seen too many other movies with similar story lines and we are just conditioned to expect that?
Thunderstruck brought me back to Dallas to the Ritz-Carlton for these interviews. Got to love Southwest and the every hour flights to Big D.
Durant was my first interview of the day; dressed in camouflage pants, a black long sleeve jersey shirt, his signature shoes and black and white checked socks, he told me he likes fashion and tries to set his own sense of style. He really is excited about this movie and is probably still tweeting about it as you read this.
Nickelodeon star Taylor Gray, who plays the teenager who gains Durant’s pro basketball skills, is actually a very good basketball player and is believable. In person, he was paired with comedian and actor Brandon T. Jackson, who portrays Durant’s agent. Both talked about the perks of being on movie sets, especially when it involves an NBA superstar, like Durant. They said they got several FREE pairs of Durant’s basketball shoes and you bet they’ll be calling him for Oklahoma City Thunder tickets.
Belushi and his son play high school basketball coaches and offer comic relief in the movie. They have been working together for years, from According to Jim and The Defenders to even comedy gigs on the road, so it's no wonder they have great chemistry. They’re friendly, loud and constantly poking fun of each other.
They're big sports fans too, so this movie was a no-brainer for them. Jim Belushi said he has never coached one of his kid’s teams before because he is just way too intense and he probably couldn’t control himself around the other parents, who also take sports too seriously.
Belushi and his son have been working together for years, so it's no wonder they have great chemistry.
Belushi senior is now 58 and looks good; he was super tan and had just come off a trip in Europe. He was observant too: He couldn’t get over that I had light blue nail polish on my toes. In fact, it seemed like we both got the memo to wear blue button-down shirts for the interview, too!
And, ladies, I think you'll notice Robert is pretty easy on the eyes.
Also, making cameos in the movie are former Houston Rocket players Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith. The two joined Shaquille O’Neal on the sports set throughout the movie, adding commentary, slamming Durant on his slump and lack of performance on the court. These guys are truly funny! Something tells me they weren't scripted either, all of their comments seemed very off the cuff.
I do get the chance to go on a lot of movie junkets, and I can honestly say this was a really good one. The cast made it fun for all of us. The interviews were light-hearted and everyone was super laid back. Overall, Thunderstruck is a fun is short movie (98 minutes to be exact).
Will I take my 7-year old? The answer is, yes. And, I think after you see this clip featuring the cast, I’ll see you in the popcorn line.