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Sanaa Lathan says making 'Love & Basketball' was 'miserable': 'There was a lot of crying behind the scenes'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
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  • Sanaa Lathan
    Sanaa Lathan
    American actress and voice actress
  • Gina Prince-Bythewood
    American film director and screenwriter

Sanaa Lathan’s experience making Love & Basketball wasn’t a slam dunk.

The actress was asked about the film, nearly 20 years after its release, and she didn’t hold back, describing the filmmaking experience as “miserable.” She said it’s because she felt the director, Gina Prince-Bythewood, settled for her in the role of hoops player Monica Wright.

“I think Gina,” who wrote the script and was making her directorial debut, “finally got to the point where she had to hire somebody,” Lathan told CBS Los Angeles. “It’s almost like she hired me because she couldn’t find somebody else.”

She admitted, “I felt like the default” hire. “There wasn’t a lot of joy and there wasn’t a lot of trust in me.”

Further, the carefully choreographed basketball scenes were a challenge for someone who had “never picked up a basketball.” Lathan felt Prince-Bythewood “and the producers really wanted a basketball player that could act as opposed to an actress they could teach to play basketball.”

As a result, the vibe on the set of the film, which she co-starred with Omar Epps, wasn’t great.

“I was miserable,” she said. “There was a lot of crying behind the scenes for me.”

Things between Lathan and Prince-Bythewood did get better, however, as time went on. The women eventually bonded on the set, and went on to work on other projects together, including Disappearing Acts and Shots Fired.

Lathan said that Prince-Bythewood has since become like “sister” to her. She praised her artistry and talent.

And of the not-so-great experience making Love & Basketball, Lathan added, “Luckily, “I can laugh about it now.”

The role was a stepping stone to many others for the actress, who’s quite busy these days. She will be back for the final season of The Affair and also worked on the The Twilight Zone reboot.

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