A new series on Disney+, “Big Shot,” tells the story of Division I men’s basketball coach Marvyn Korn (played by John Stamos) who loses his job after throwing a chair at a referee. Trying to redeem his reputation, he takes the only job available to him, coach of a girls’ basketball team at an elite private school. He teaches them how to be a more cohesive team—insisting that the team’s top shooter learn how to pass—while he becomes a more empathetic person.
In the casting process, the actresses vying for the lead roles didn’t only have to show their acting chops, but their ability to realistically portray basketball players. One of the team’s starters, Olive Cooper, is portrayed by actress Monique Green, who had not played organized hoops, but does come from a basketball family.
“I had my dad help me practice in the front yard with our basketball hoop every single day up until the test, so I felt prepared and confident,” said Green, whose father is former NBA player turned commentator Kenny Smith. “During the test I made sure to wear my younger brother’s basketball uniform to make me look like I can play.”
The show’s basketball coordinator, Keyla Snowden, assessed the skills and assigned the lead actresses their positions. “My number is special because the coordinator gave me the number she had when she played,” said Green, who plays shooting guard.
“Shooting the action scenes on ‘Big Shot’ takes the most time because we actually have a full court,” said Green, whose previous TV credits include “This is Us,” “Fuller House” and “black-ish.” “We’re actually playing. We have choreography, but we don’t have doubles.”
While Green and her teammates are actresses portraying basketball players, the extras cast as their opponents are basketball players, some of whom were brought in to help train the actresses prior to the start of shooting.
“We had our first full court basketball playing experience, and they put all five of the actors on one team and five real basketball players on the other team,” said Green. “We were out of breath by the time we finished playing.”
Part of the plot involves the Sirens improving and gaining confidence under Korn’s tutelage. Green and her castmates are happy their hard work is finally being seen. Shooting began in 2019 but was halted due to the pandemic. The cast reconvened and finished season one earlier this year. Team dynamic is crucial.
“The girls that got cast had good chemistry,” said Green. “Through the basketball practices that we had and through shooting we really did build this team relationship.”