Brand scores with 'rescue'

THE LAKERS have always been the more Hollywood basketball team in town, the one that draws the celebrities to those pricey courtside seats to see and be seen. But Los Angeles Clippers star Elton Brand is turning into a Hollywood ...

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Published: Sun 15 Jul 2007, 11:13 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:11 AM

player himself as co-producer of the new movie Rescue Dawn.

Inspired by a true story, the film stars Christian Bale as Navy pilot Dieter Dengler, who was shot down over Laos at the start of the Vietnam War and escaped a POW camp. Werner Herzog directed the $10 million movie based on his own documentary, Little Dieter Needs to Fly.

Rescue Dawn comes from Gibraltar Films, which the 28-year-old Brand co-founded; he spent a month on location in Thailand during the hot, physically demanding shoot. The 6-foot-8 (2.02-meter) power forward sat down with Associated Press to talk about movies and basketball

Why use your offseason time making movies?

I write - I write a lot of stuff - and I actually wrote a screenplay.

Wow, what's it about?

Well I wrote a few - I don't want to give it away. There are some talented people that could take it up real fast.

Ah, intellectual property and all that.

Yeah, intellectual property rights, copyright infringement, things like that. So my good friend and partner in Gibraltar Entertainment is (nightclub owner) Steve Marlton, and he said, "Why don't we make a production company?" I was like, "OK." But we had no projects, so we were searching for projects, and Little Dieter Needs to Fly was a documentary that I fell in love with.

What is it about movies that appeals to you?

Just that you can take your mind to a different place. It's like an escape - even if it's a scary movie and you're fearful, or a romantic movie and you're sad, or a comedy and you're laughing. I enjoy that aspect of watching movies and moviemaking.

So growing up, you must have loved movies.

Growing up, we didn't have cable or nothing. There was cable in Peekskill (New York), but I didn't have it. But when I got the opportunity to go to the movies, it was a special treat. I would go to see Rocky and - I don't know if I want to mention this - but like, (Teenage Mutant) Ninja Turtles. And I was just very excited and happy to just go to the movies.

A lot of athletes make an album, make a movie, do a TV show, and it can seem like dabbling. How do you convince the world that this is something you take seriously?

I think I took the right step in convincing the world that this is something I take seriously by doing a serious movie. It's an intense film. You know, it's action and it's exciting but it's very intense and very current. It's about a POW in Laos getting shot down, and he's at a POW camp, and how they survive, ande bravery and kinship that was formed, the bond that was formed. And it portrays Dieter Dengler - that's who Christian Bale plays - as he was. His son actually told me, like, "That's my Dad," after he saw the movie.

What else would you want to do, movie-wise?

I like character-driven movies and I want to tell a good story. You know, we're independent so we don't have a big budget for special effects and things like that anyway, and that's why I really liked Rescue Dawn. We wanted to make it real - feel real, seem real. When Christian Bale eats maggots, those were real maggots.

Oh, seriously? Those weren't stunt maggots?

Stunt chewy candy maggots, no, those were real maggots he was eating.

Do you envision a day after basketball is done when you would make movies full-time?

I really enjoy it, but I don't think I'm going to do anything full-time aside from basketball. ... If the right project comes around and I want to do it, tell a story, then I might go into it. But I'm not looking to do five films a year or anything like that.

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