When Marky Mark decided to make the leap from pop star to serious actor in the mid-1990s, his first major role was in The Basketball Diaries. Nearly two decades later, Wahlberg (né -y Mark) will guide his 2011 equivalent through a similar path. Deadline reports Wahlberg and Justin Bieber are in negotiations with Paramount to star in an untitled drama set in the world of street basketball. The idea surfaced over NBA All-Star weekend, when Bieber impressed Wahlberg and producer Stephen Levinson with his skills in the celebrity game (Bieber was named MVP). Ian Edelman, creator of the Wahlberg/Levinson production How to Make It in America, will write the script, described as “The Color of Money meets The Karate Kid.” More after the jump.
Rucker Park is not populated by white kids with mop tops, so I see the Karate Kid parallels in Bieber as an outsider trying to earn respect. That makes Wahlberg the Mr. Miyagi figure. Does the Color of Money reference imply Bieber will turn on mentor Wahlberg and eventually face off in the climactic one-on-one game? Because that sounds awesome, horrific, or both.
I will say this for the prospects: street hoops could is a great setting for a movie. Edelman has demonstrated a canny sense of New York culture in How to Make It in America that should translate well to the project. And Bieber is a charming kid — under the right director, this could be his 8 Mile. I’d much rather see Bieber take on this than play a young Ashton Kutcher in What Would Kenny Do? in his feature debut. That sounds painful. This has potential.
That said, has anything good ever been come from the NBA celebrity game?