Talking Movies: Olympics Hero Shane Heal

August 19, 2016
With The Boomers, well, booming at The 2016 Rio Olympics, we revisit a chat with Shane Heal, one of Australian basketball’s greatest legends, and a veteran of the 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympics.

Do you have a favourite film of all time? Braveheart – what a movie! Me Gibson was at his best in that, powerful stuff. And, The Castle, still funny every time you watch it.”

Favourite actors / actresses? “John Travolta – he’s a cool character on screen. Also Matt Damon is good. He changes his roles, making his movies different each time. Halle Berry is my current fave actress, especially in Swordfish, where she really showed her ‘talents.’”

When at the cinema what are your munchies of choice? “Popcorn and a choc top. Without a doubt, every time.”

Do you stay for the credits after the film? “Depends on how I’ve liked the film.”

I am going to name six basketball themed movies. Briefly tell me what you thought of each one. White Men Can’t Jump. “The best one so far.”

Blue Chips. “Okay. Nick Nolte was just okay.”

Space Jam. “Didn’t see all of it.”

Eddie. “Very light.”

Teen Wolf.  “It was alright for 1985.”

Finding Forrester. “That was very impressive. The story really moved me.”

Shane Heal in action

Shane Heal in action

Have any of your coaches ever used a movie as inspiration before you play? “A coach once used the Al Pacino speech from Any Given Sunday, and as a team we saw Braveheart. Both worked wonders.”

Do any fellow players remind you of any actors? “An opponent from Melbourne, Lanard Copeland, is just like Sammy Davis Jr.”

When you played in the U.S.A for the Minnesota Timberwolves, were there ever any Hollywood types in the crowds? “Prince had season tickets, Jesse Ventura came into the dressing rooms all the time, and Whitney Houston was a regular. But every time we played the LA Lakers, there was a real aura around Jack Nicholson.”

Have you ever disliked a film so much that you couldn’t finish watching it? Natural Born Killers.”

Finally, are there any other film experiences you can share that may have been a bit different? “When we were playing Port Douglas once, my wife and I were given a tour of The Thin Red Line set. Sean Penn greeted us and the director Terrence Malick recognised me as he was a fan. While playing in the Greek competition, I saw The Matrix in Greek subtitles, which was very distracting.”

This article was first published in 2003. 

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