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Look out for more coverage of
Juwanna Mann in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Juwanna Mann

Miguel A. Nunez, Jr • Vivica A. Fox • Tommy Davidson • Kim Wayans • WRITER: Bradley Allenstein
DIRECTOR: Jesse Vaughan

Vivica A. Fox and Miguel A. Nunez, Jr are sistas shooting hoop in Juwanna Mann THE CONCEPT:
After many professional confrontations, arrogant basketball star Jamal Jeffries is booted out of the league. To keep receiving a paycheck while waiting to be reinstated, he has to trade in his jock-strap for a bra, and try out for the Charlotte Banshees – a woman’s basketball team. Here he’s transformed into its new female role model – Juwanna Mann.

U.S. RELEASE: June 21 2002, national • Rated: PG-13


JESSE VAUGHAN on using performers from TV’s In Living Color in the film:
“When you think about it, there are some amazing people who came through In Living Color – Jennifer Lopez, the Wayans, Tommy Davidson and Jim Carrey. That show was like a magnet attracting all the up and coming talent.”

“The challenge of this movie is you have to buy that this man is a woman in a basketball uniform – that’s so difficult. And you believe Miguel is a woman.”

”Trying to find the right make-up artist for Miguel to be convincing, when Jamal turns into Juwanna, was difficult. There were two things I said to the producers of the film – you have to put the right amount of money behind the wardrobe and the makeup artist, because the whole movie is centered around that experience.”

MIGUEL A. NUNEZ (Jamal Jeffries/Juwanna Mann):
“I went through 15 different looks. I had to sit there for the entire three hour process and then they would take a photo, send them to the studio, and the studio would go, ‘No, that’s not it.’”

VIVICA A. FOX (Michelle Langford):
“He ended up using my makeup artist. Her name is Kate Best and I met her on Soul Food. And it was like magic. I think she really made Miguel look pretty. And it wasn’t overdone. It wasn’t like a transvestite, drag queen, and that’s what everyone else had given him.”

TOMMY DAVIDSON (Puff Smokey Smoke):
“I loved the idea that my character, Puff Smokey Smoke, had gold teeth – once the teeth went it, the character came alive.”

KIM WAYANS (Latisha Jansen):
“Our basketball training was intense. I hooked up with the New York Liberty, and the girls took me under their wing and showed me how to play. Their trainer coached me at Madison Square Garden on the days it was empty. I put in four hours a day for a month and a half to get ready for this movie.”

“There was a big scene that was cut between me and Kim. I like Juwanna, and Kim’s character likes Juwanna and we had this duel on the roof – it was a draw!”

“I didn’t know how I was going to play a woman. I’d sit in front of the mirror and put a wig on and practice my speech, trying to get it real so I didn’t sound like a guy trying to sound like a woman. I was still trying to figure it out the night before we started filming. That night I had a dream and I started dreaming about being back home in my little town in North Carolina. I thought about this country-ass girl that used to live right next door to me, and I said, ‘That’s her.’ I thought about some of the lines I had to say and I thought about how she would say them, and that was it.”

“I played basketball in high school, but I hadn’t really played since then, so my sneakers were a little dusty. It was basically picking up the fundamentals and plays and learning to set your picks. Jesse really wanted us to look convincing.”

“I have a new found respect for women and the process they take for getting ready. Guys, let your women take all the time they need!”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official Juwanna Mann site
Images above © Warner Bros./ Morgan Creek
Feature © 2002 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #620, July 2002 cover

For reviews and features about all kinds of films, read Film Review regularly.

Film Review, Superpowered 2002 cover

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