LeBron James Gave 'Important Gift’ to Biopic Director

<span class="caption"><span class="caas-xray-inline-tooltip"><span class="caas-xray-inline caas-xray-entity caas-xray-pill rapid-nonanchor-lt" data-entity-id="LeBron_James" data-ylk="cid:LeBron_James;pos:1;elmt:wiki;sec:pill-inline-entity;elm:pill-inline-text;itc:1;cat:Athlete;" tabindex="0" aria-haspopup="dialog"><a href="https://search.yahoo.com/search?p=LeBron%20James" data-i13n="cid:LeBron_James;pos:1;elmt:wiki;sec:pill-inline-entity;elm:pill-inline-text;itc:1;cat:Athlete;" tabindex="-1" data-ylk="slk:LeBron;cid:LeBron_James;pos:1;elmt:wiki;sec:pill-inline-entity;elm:pill-inline-text;itc:1;cat:Athlete;" class="link ">LeBron</a></span></span> Gave 'Important Gift’ to Biopic Director</span><span class="photo-credit">Michael Buckner - Getty Images</span>
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  • Promoting his new film Shooting Stars, director Chris Robinson spoke about LeBron James' impact on his own biopic

  • Robinson admitted that he still has not actually met the basketball star whose story is the centerpiece of the film, but calls that a "gift"

  • Robinson feels LeBron staying back allowed the director to discover the character from the recollections of James' friends and family

Biopics about living people can be a tricky task for any filmmaker. Sometimes the input of the subject is beneficial, as in the case of Elton John offering his singular insight for the autobiographical Rocketman. In other cases, it can be detrimental, as many point to the involvement of the surviving members of the band Queen as the reason Bohemian Rhapsody was so sanitized (or maybe these wealthy 1970s rock stars really did just stay sober, faithful to their spouses, and went to bed on time after some lovely cookies and milk. Who knows?).

In some cases, the subject of a biopic will even wind up playing themselves, like Eminem in 8 Mile or Howard Stern in Private Parts, arguably making it even more difficult to show a side of the subject that they themselves want to be hidden away.

That's why Shooting Stars director Chris Robinson says LeBron James gave him an "important gift" when he was working on the biopic of the basketball star: he stayed away.

Speaking with Cinema Blend, Robinson revealed that he still has yet to actually meet LeBron James, one of the executive producers of the film Shooting Stars, based on a book James himself co-authored. James greenlit script changes and approved locations for shooting but was not physically on set, nor did he force his specific point of view onto the direction of the film. After all, as not just a producer and business mogul but a still-active NBA player who recently broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's longstanding record, it would be difficult for James to be more active in production.

And as it turns out, that was actually a gift to Robinson, though the director didn't see it at the moment.

"And in the beginning, though, you know, I was like, ‘Oh, man, I want to meet him, I want to talk to him, I wanna be filled in.’ But the gift that I received was I was able to speak to all the people around him, his friends, his teachers, his coaches. {...} So I think that was a gift, both as a filmmaker and being given the creative freedom to do something that's about his life, which ‘Wow, this is about his life.’ So we had to get it right. And then also, just being able to tell a story in an authentic way."

Giving Robinson the space to discover LeBron James in the words and memories of the people who knew him not only took the pressure off of the ATL director to conform to LeBron's specific vision of himself, but to pull together these different recollections into his own personal artistic vision. Robinson calls the picture he paints of James and his teammates "a superhero origin story," and attributes that perspective to being able to discover James through the lives he touched.

Shooting Stars can currently be viewed on Peacock.

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