‘Uncle Drew’ Interview: Lil Rel Howery Talks the Love of the Game, ‘Space Jam’, Working with Legends & More
Posted on Sunday, July 1st, 2018 by Steven Prokopy
Comedian/actor Lil Rel Howery is two things to the core: a Chicagoan and a basketball fan. So when he was asked if he wanted to star in a feature film adaptation of the popular Uncle Drew commercial shorts (all made by Pepsi), with NBA legend Kyrie Irving returning as the titular character, he was quick to say yes without even looking at a script. The film also stars such basketball luminaries as Chris Webber, Reggie Miller, Nate Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, and the WNBA’s Lisa Leslie, all playing elderly former players, recruited by Howery’s Dax to play in the Rucker Classic street ball tournament in Harlem against much younger players. Uncle Drew also stars Tiffany Haddish as Dax’s ex-girlfriend, who breaks things off with him and immediately begins dating his lifelong arch nemesis on the court, Mookie (Nick Kroll).
Already a prominent comedian throughout Chicago and a rising star nationally since the beginning of the 2000s, Howery beginning getting smaller film roles and starring roles on such series as “The Carmichael Show” and “Insecure.” But it was his role as life-saving TSA agent/best friend Rod Williams in writer/director Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017) that served as his calling card performance to the world. In addition to Uncle Drew, Howery has a very funny cameo in the current release Tag, and audiences will see him at the end of the year in director Susanne Bier’s ensemble sci-fi thriller Bird Box, co-starring Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, Jacki Weaver, Trevante Rhodes, David Dastmalchian, and fellow Chicagoan John Malkovich.
/Film spoke with the 38-year-old Howery in Chicago recently about his love and connection to the game of basketball (including the film Space Jam, starring his all-time hero, Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan); how his long-time friendship with Kroll translated into playing bitter enemies in Uncle Drew; and his experience on the Bird Box set. Read More »