Former NorCal high school basketball star makes acting debut in 'Boogie'

LOS ANGELES -- Basketball and culture collide in the new drama, "Boogie," one of the weekend's newest movies.

It's a drama about an Asian high school basketball star looking to score a scholarship for college.

The man behind the movie is Eddie Huang, who saw his autobiography, "Fresh Off The Boat," become a TV sitcom. This writer, producer and restaurateur is now also a director.

Told through the eyes of one athlete struggling to get attention for his skills, "Boogie" is the story of a young man from Queens whose dream is to one day play in the NBA. The film also looks at Asian culture and customs.

This complicates the big picture of what the title character, Boogie, wants and what his parents think is best for him.

First time director, Eddie Huang, picked first-time actor Taylor Takahashi to be his star, but how did Huang know Takahashi could do it?

"When I started to learn about Taylor's past and his family, I just knew he could draw on a lot of his own life," Huang said. "And then he's one of the greatest basketball players I've seen in person. He's the all-time leading scorer at Alameda High School and I just knew. I knew when I met him."

"I don't know why but my life is filled with firsts like this and it excites me. And the riskiness of it gives me, like, energy," Huang added.

Takahashi's felt "supported every step of the way" as he took on a role to become an instant leading man.

"I never felt like I was alone or on this, like, journey by myself and I have to, you know, manifest this whole thing. It's just the support and belief in someone before they believe in themselves," he said.

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Taylour Paige, who plays Boogie's girlfriend, is an astrology lover who decided her character was a Scorpio.

"They're just very passionate and a bit, like reserved but protective but definitely cares very deeply and feels very deeply and, like, but very intentional about who they share their energy with," she said.

Paige, who's now 30, originally said "no" to the role because she'd stopped playing teenagers, but for "Boogie," she changed her mind.

Takahashi also enjoyed stepping back in time to play a teenager.

"I'm 28 so it was fun to tap back into that, for me anyways, to be a class clown. Like, I got to just do things I normally didn't do as a kid," he said.

"Boogie" is rated "R" and is playing at the Mission Tiki Drive-In in Montclair.

Its "on demand" date has not yet been announced.

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