Lately, Twitter followers of Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace have received many updates from the beautiful Canadian city of Vancouver, which NBA fans might remember as the failed home of the Grizzlies from 1995 to 2001. While Vancouver has a lot to offer its visitors, there's no clear reason for a famous person to visit there for a prolonged period of time unless that person is filming a movie on the cheap. (Vancouver is great at standing in for random American cities.) But MWP couldn't possibly be filming a movie, right?
Well, he is. As reported by William Keck of TVGuide.com (via SLAM), World Peace is in Vancouver to film a movie for Lifetime:
Peace will make his acting debut in a movie adaptation of Nancy Grace's first novel, The Eleventh Victim, set to premiere in the fall on Lifetime Movie Network.
Peace will set down his basketball to play Garlan Fincher, a Georgia detective who works very closely with Atlanta Assistant District Attorney Hailey Dean, played by Beverly Hills, 90210 vet Jennie Garth.
How, you may ask, did this highly unusual bit of casting come about? Turns out World Peace and Grace became fast friends during their stint on Season 13 of Dancing With the Stars.(Garth is also a Dancing alum.) The Garlan character "is very dear to my heart," says Grace, who authored The New York Times best-selling novel based on her real-life experiences and serves as one of the film's executive producers. "I wanted to cast someone for whom I have a true fondness. Metta World Peace was my first pick."
I'm not sure the movie's casting directors would agree that MWP should be the first pick for any role that's not "Himself," but I suppose Nancy Grace has earned the right to pick whomever she wants to star in the adaptation of her novel (Note: Nancy Grace writes novels!). At the very least, his presence will bring some viewers to the film that might not have otherwise tuned in. For a small project like this one, that's worth something.
The NBA angle is a little more complicated. World Peace isn't the force he once was, but he had an effective year for the Lakers, particularly as the season moved along and he rounded into shape. The problem is that he wasn't in shape to begin with — in other words, that he seems more interested in opportunities off the court than what he can do for a team on it. Between this movie and his brief "Dancing with the Stars" stint, MWP is trying out some new things. There's no doubt that he's diverted some attention away from his primary profession.
That sometimes happens with professional athletes, though, and if World Peace is still an effective player then we run the risk of moralizing unnecessarily. Until we see him fail on the court repeatedly, there's no clear connection between his extracurricular interests and his game. For all we know, he'll be just as good next season. For now, let's embrace these other interests. He might not be able to act, but watching the man in a Lifetime movie promises to be great entertainment.