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Exclusive: Wood Harris Confirmed for 'Sweetwater' Biopic; 2014 Playoffs Target Release Date

by Vanessa Martinez
January 4, 2013 9:00 AM
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Left - Wood Harris; Right - Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton
Left - Wood Harris; Right - Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton

Written and directed by Martin Guigui, award-winning filmmaker who has helmed several shorts and films, along with music themed documentaries about Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton and Sun Ra's, the long-in-gestation screen biopic titled Sweetwater seems to be moving full speed ahead.

A Sunset Pictures and Main Street Films production partnership, Sweetwater is set in the fall of 1950, during the time "the game of basketball changed forever when Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton entered the NBA. The first African American to play in the NBA."

Nat Clifton

According to Guigui, who confirmed Wood Harris' starring turn as basketball icon Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton and James Caan as New York Knicks team owner and 'Godfather' of basketball Ned Irish, the film has been 15 years in the making.  Director Guigui told us that he is currently wrapping up other key roles and in negotiations with several A-list Stars (Victoria Burrows & Scot Boland are handling the casting process).

In regards to the delays, Director Guigui says: "There is no rhyme or reason to the mishigas of making movies. I say the miracle happens when the right people come together at the right time. "Sweetwater" plays deep into my true purpose in life and I am beyond thrilled that it has finally come together. I'm looking forward to seeing the trucks land on set- 'cause that's when you really know you're making a movie."

'Sweetwater' writer/director Martin Guigui
'Sweetwater' writer/director Martin Guigui

Sweetwater - its first trailer targeted to drop for the NBA 2014 All-Star game in New Orleans and a wide theater release during the NBA 2014 playoffs - is parterning with the NBA, with SportsArc serving as the film's Sports Action Film partner. Produced by  Dahlia Waingort  and Josi Konski, the film will be  photographed by Jack Green (Unforgiven, Second Hand Lions) and scored by Lalo Schifrin (Mission Impossible, Rush Hour).

The film is teaming up with John Burk & Concord Music Group for the soundtrack. CC Hang will serve as executive producer and financier.

Filming will begin in Los Angeles, with production targeted for late February/March and April.

The crew behind Sweetwater is quite impressive, and according to Guigui we can expect "an outstanding ensemble cast", based on the talent he has been in talks with.

Based on the synopsis alone one can conclude, perhaps assume, the film will only focus in the fall of 1950, upon Nat Clifton's career debut at the New York Knicks, but we will just have to wait and see.

We look forward to those first stills/clips from the film, and will certainly keep you abreast with any new developments as they become available. For now, take a look at the pre-production/temporary poster for Sweetwater below:

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  • Pastor Gary L Cooper | March 4, 2014 11:18 AMReply

    I had the pleasure of meeting Nat Sweetwater Clifton when he first played for the New York. He played with my uncle on the Harlem Globetrotters and he came to my house to see my uncle and I must have 4 or 5 years old about that time but I will never forget when my uncle opened the door and I saw this giant black and he introduced him to my grandmother as his friend Nat but they call him Sweetwater. I tell people to this day they can worship all these NBA players they want but I had the privilege of meeting the first blackman to play for the New York Knicks

  • Naysue | January 8, 2013 5:29 AMReply

    I just want somebody to name 5 good Wood Harris movies. Go! I'm just saying.

  • candi | July 13, 2014 2:26 AM

    He was great in Remember the Titans and excellent in his role on The Wire. I know the Wire isn't a movie but it was an awesome tv series. I think Wood Harris is really talented but there aren't a lot of roles out there for young black men... I'm glad he had this gig coming up.

  • Tcruise | December 22, 2013 9:23 AM

    It only takes one breakout role

  • Nick | January 6, 2013 7:03 PMReply

    I actually auditioned for this five years ago.

  • Jules | January 4, 2013 12:33 PMReply

    I hope this turns out well. I would love to see it.

  • lolli | January 2, 2014 6:45 PM

    Wood Harris is an amazing actor who has not gotten the credit or respect that he deserves. He was amazing on "The Wire." He's one of the most amazing actors of his time. I guess you did not see Jimmi Hendrix or The Wire or Remember the Titans. or The Heart Specialists. or the countless of other things that he's played in.. This movie is going to be a great project for wood.
    I am a Wood Harris Fan!!!! He's a Great Actor.

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