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Kevin Philliips on Pride

Published March 25, 2007 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Lionsgate.
Every sports movie has the same sort of characters. One of the staples is the guy with all the talent, but no discipline. In Pride, that’s Andre, played by Kevin Phillips. Though based on the true story of Jim Ellis turning his rec center boys into competitive swimmers, it fits perfectly into that mold. But first, the actor needed to learn how to swim.

Kevin Phillips Talks Pride

“I knew how to swim underwater but I didn’t know how to freestyle,” said Phillips. “So prior to the film, we had a month of training and in that month of training I learned how to swim and got into shape and was prepared to play Andre. We had two practices six days a week for like a month and, after practice, we would all go eat together, just get familiar with each other and I think that chemistry, that bond that we established from training, we brought to the film.”

Phillips also brought some character details to the script, like hints of an interest in the black power movement. “I brought my own ideas to my character that I thought would stand out and be strong and powerful. The necklace was a representation of my father. It was like the Jamaica symbol with the red, black and green just for power. I wanted to bring that to my character. It was like his superman emblem. Originally, my character’s father was incarcerated and if you see the scars on my back as Andre, the backstory of our characters went really deep.

Pride Pride

Dealing with the racial tensions of African-Americans joining a white-dominated sport gives the film conflict, and brought a reality to the filming. “Those scenes were very uncomfortable for me. We all deal with racism or prejudice at some point in your life but, for me, it was nothing that strong. Just to really see those looks and the words they were saying, it was like ‘whoa.’ It brought chills to my body and I just brought that to the character. This was what they went through at that time. It was really uncomfortable to be in that situation but, beyond the set they were cool. They were really observant and complimentary to us. ‘You guys are doing a great job.’ We all talked with each other. After the scenes, there was nothing going on that was negative.”

Pride is out in theatres now.

For the trailer, posters, review and more movie info, go to the Pride Movie Page.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Lionsgate.

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