Woody Harrelson returns to basketball court as a coach in 'Champions'

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Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Woody Harrelson returns to basketball court in 'Champions'
Woody Harrelson heads the cast of the new movie, "Champions," performing community service by coaching a team of adults with intellectual disabilities.

LOS ANGELES -- Woody Harrelson is back on the basketball court.

The actor who starred 30 years ago as a streetball hustler in "White Men Can't Jump" is now playing a coach in "Champions."

He plays a former minor league basketball coach who gets into some trouble. The only way out of it? Agreeing to community service - coaching adults with intellectual disabilities.

Harrelson says he learned a lot from his co-stars.

"What they did in terms of just being themselves and just showing the greatness of who they are just kind of came through always," said Harrelson.

"It was just really lovely and refreshing and very honest and a lot of their personalities shone through in their characters, which I was delighted by, because they're such fun, incredible people. So it really worked," said co-star Kaitlin Olson.

Also in the mix - Cheech Marin, as the man who runs the community center where they all practice.

"I was always thinking in the back of my mind, this is not the first guy who came in and tried to do this job. So I was used to a lot of characters trying to weasel out of it, you know? So that kind of informed my attitude toward him," said Marin.

Director Bobby Farrelly says he looked far and wide to cast the team with 10 actors who loved basketball.

"They had all played basketball wherever they grew up but they were willing to go out and audition for the role," said Farrelly. "And so we looked at hundreds and hundreds of auditions and these 10 actors are the ones who stood out."

"The fun we had was just extraordinary," said Harrelson.

"Champions" is rated PG 13 and is in theaters now.