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Disney Channel movie mixes Chanukah and basketball.
Special to the Jewish News
in Japan while dad was playing
there). His brother coaches basket-
ball in Brentwood, Calif. "I picked
his brain," notes Jones.
But for all his athletic familiarity, he
had none when it came to Jewish tradi-
tions. Borrowing .a line from his charac-
ter, Jones says he felt "like a gefilte fish
out of water," but learned a lot.
"It was an educational experience
for me when it comes to Jewish tra-
ditions and the religion," he says. As
for the gefilte fish, he found it "a lit-
tle salty, but it was good."
Jones, who has appeared in such
films as The Wood and Phone Booth,
has been acting since he "fell into" a
drama class at Alabamba's Tuskegee
University, which sidetracked him
from a law career. Now in his fifth
year on Judging Amy as Bruce Van
Exel, he will be seen playing cops in
the upcoming thrillers Twisted with
Ashley Judd and Samuel L. Jackson,
due out in April, and Collateral with
Tom Cruise, which will be released
Jones speaks fondly of those co-
stars as well as the young actors in
Full-Court Miracle. "We still keep in
touch," he says.
Alex D. Linz, the 14-year-old who
here has been no shortage of
portrays team captain Alex
inspirational sports stories
Schlotsky, identified with his charac-
on screen, but Full-Court
ter on several levels.
Miracle puts a new, distinct-
"We're very similar," he says. "We're
ly Jewish twist on an old theme.
both fast talkers, very passionate. We
Based on a true.story (albeit one
both love sports. I love the .cama-
relocated from Florida to
raderie of being on a team." Linz,
Philadelphia to accommodate film-
however, prefers hockey.to basketball.
ing in Toronto), the Disney Channel
Like his screen counterpart, Linz
movie focuses on a winless Hebrew
to shape up to score. For two
Academy basketball team and the
we had two NBA hopefuls
former college star the players recruit
us in basketball. It was
to coach them. As the title suggests,
exhausting, really," he confides. But
the climactic game mirrors a certain
he found it fun to play the athletic
role — and his first specifically
Richard T. Jones ( judging Amy)
portrays Lamont Carr, a college star
A "mostly observant Jew" who plans
whose NBA dreams get sidetracked
continue his post-bar mitzvah
when he takes on the role of the
Hebrew school education, Linz enjoys
team's personal Judah Maccabee.
Chanukah for "the gelt, the presents,
"It's about chasing that passion,
seeing family," but is well aware of its
not giving up — and finding out
message, emphasized in Miracle.
what it is that's your destiny to do,"
"There's a lot in the movie about
says Jones, who met the real Carr, a
interpretation of the Torah and
consultant on the film, towards the
and faith. The general idea
end of production.
as far as Judaism is concerned is that
Drawn by the story, script, the
chance to work with
kids and the fact
that the movie had
the Disney Channel
imprimatur (a big
deal for his children,
says the father of
three), the 6-foot-2-
inch Jones also loved
the hoops aspect.
"I'm very good,"
he says, proudly
pointing out that
he sunk the half-
court shot he made
in the film on his
A former football
player, Jones is
from a family of
athletes — and
coaches. His father,
for the Atlanta
following his pro
."Full-Court Miracle" Richard T ones, David Sazant, Alex D. Linz, Ise Blank fort and Erik
(Richard was born