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Sanaa Lathan is opening up about her miserable experience working on Love & Basketball considered one of the best sports rom-coms ever.

Co-starring Omar Epps and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, the story centers on a young Black couple navigating the challenging worlds of romance and athletics.

In a new interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith, Lathan dishes on what it was really like for her working on the project as a young actress who had to prove herself worthy of the starring role.


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“I was miserable. I can laugh about it now,” said Lathan. “I got the job and I think Gina [Prince-Bythewood] finally got to the point where she had to hire somebody. It’s almost like she hired me because she couldn’t find somebody else.


There wasn’t a lot of joy and there wasn’t a lot of trust in me. It was her baby and it was her first time directing. It was a big deal for her and nobody knows me then really. She gets to the point where she makes this decision with me, but I felt like the default.”

The other challenge was the actress had never played basketball prior to the film.

“I had to go through so much to get the part and in all the basketball scenes, [they] surrounded me with real ballplayers,” said Lathan. “There was a lot of crying behind the scenes for me.”

Producers of the film also wanted a real basketball player to play the female lead.

“The hardest challenge was getting the job, which I think weirdly prepared me for Monica,” said Lathan. “I had a dance background, but I had never picked up a basketball. Gina and the producers really wanted a basketball player that could act as opposed to an actress they could teach to play basketball. I was very lucky… I did a staged reading of the script when she was still working on the script.

She couldn’t get my stage reading out of her head. She wasn’t auditioning a lot of actresses. I would always get to the last step and then they would throw in another basketball player. They were giving the basketball player acting coaches. They would always do a basketball audition for me, which was just the worst. Finally I demanded that if you want me to continue, you’ll have to get me a basketball coach. They gave me an assistant coach for the LA Sparks and she had me training five hours a day before I got the job.”

Scroll up and hear her tell it via the clip above.

Catch Sanaa in “The Twilight Zone,” streaming now on CBS All Access.

PHOTO: PR Photos



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4 thoughts on “Sanaa Lathan Says Filming ‘Love And Basketball’ Was Miserable

  1. Lathan has begun to sound like “a handful.” Like other moderately talented “actresses” who snag “starring” roles, she has her father to thank. He was a director for several 70/80s Black-themed TV series so he had the contacts. In her interviews, Sanaa sounds spoiled, self-centered and moderately bright. She’s not that pretty and her acting matches her looks. This is the 3rd or 4th time she’s “dished” on some production she’s been involved in… how “badly” they treated her….how “certain” Hollywood stars treated her so “mean” when she first started out… completely oblivious to the fact that perhaps she thought they were “mean” to her because they all knew that the only reason she was on the set was because her father got her the job…had nothing to do with her “talent” or lack of. Judging from her manner and demeaner during interviews, she comes off as the type of person who “kicks down and kisses up.” …and thinks she’s really all that and a bag of chips. I don’t waste my time watching productions starring her. They all are pretty mediocre. I don’t see her rising to much more than she already has.

    • quippian I wholeheartedly agree. Lathan’s acting is mediocre at best. More than likely, she does have dear old dad to thank for being allowed to get as far as she has in the acting world. I do not know why actors and actresses wait years to speak on their unhappiness with a role, show or movie they were in. If they are that unhappy, return the check……

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