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Well, that's not entirely true but Deion "Primetime" Sanders, one of the most electrifying men to ever strap on an NFL helmet recently made his acting debut in a comedy film set for theatrical release in February, entitled White T. The film features an all star cast and Sanders plays a legendary rapper named real deal.
Sanders was approached about the role by longtime friend and executive producer, Tiny "Deebo" Lister. (Friday, Batman Begins) When Director Lance Frank (Highway, Deluded Angels) and producer Blake Phillips sat down to discuss who could play the role of a legendary rapper that would be recognizable worldwide, yet fresh in terms of acting; they agreed on only one person, Prime Time.
Lister, Frank, and Phillips flew to the Super Bowl to meet with Sanders just as he was inaugerated into the NFL Hall of Fame. Sanders agreed to appear in the film only after learning that the film was dedicated to the two lead actors Jerod Mixon (Old School, Me, Myself and Irene, Bulworth) and Jamal Mixon's (Nutty Professor, Paul Blart) mother, Gaynell, who had a passed days earlier due to complications from multiple sclerosis. The Mixons have had a string of supporting roles in some of Hollywood's biggest Blockbuster comedy films of all time. This is their debut as lead actors.
"When we (the producers) sat down and discussed who could play this almost mythical character in the movie, Deion Sanders' name was the only one that everyone in the room agreed on. Even we did not know the brevity of his fame. Our biggest challenge was that we could only have 12 hours with Sanders to complete a scene that involved over 700 people and multiple camera angles while filming at the Roxy on Sunset Boulevard. Too complicate things further, anytime Sanders would leave the set crowds of people would gather around. There were literally people stopping their cars in the middle of Sunset Boulevard just to catch a glimpse of him. We even had famous actors stopping just to take a picture with Sanders." Director Lance Frank said.
Originally, Sanders had a rap written for him but when he showed up on set he and the Mixons decided they would rather freestyle all of the lyrics because they did not like the beats they were given. Director Lance Frank agreed to let them freestyle. Without skipping a beat Sanders took the stage and laid down 16 bars of freestyle rapping causing the crowd of 600 at the Roxy to explode with cheering and filming had to be stopped several times just to keep the noise down in the background because of the excitement.
Due to the audio being recorded live, the quality of the master track was not able to pass the quality control required for a theatrical release, thus forcing the producers to cut Sanders rap and place another performer's voice over the ending sequence of the film.
"Of course, I would have preferred to have Sanders performing at the end, but I am more than happy with how the film came out and working with Deion Sanders was an experience I will never forget. This is a legend that I grew up cheering for with my father during baseball and football seasons and I actually had the opportunity to direct him. It was a dream. Deion Sanders made time to smile, sign autographs, and take pictures with every fan that approached him. He is one of the most humble and nicest people I have ever had the opportunity to work with."
The film, White T, releases in theaters on February 13 of 2013.