Director Eddie Huang Reveals Pop Smoke’s ‘Special’ Quality As An Actor

In just a few days, people will be able to see Pop Smoke in his posthumous acting debut in Boogie, a basketball film directed by Eddie Huang. The movie is a coming-of-age story about a Chinese high school basketball player, portrayed by actor Taylor Takahashi, which finds Pop playing his rival, Alfred “Boogie” Chin. During a recent interview with High Snobiety, Huang spoke about the upcoming film and working with Pop.

“We just became fast friends,” Huang said. “And when it came time for the audition, Pop knew his line, but I could tell he got nervous for one second. It’s the only time I’ve ever seen him nervous, he kept holding his phone real tight. He kept looking down at it and putting it in his pocket and taking it out again. And I said to him ‘Yo, just put it in your pocket, bro. Don’t worry about it. You know these lines.’ And he was like, ‘Are you sure?’ I was like, ‘You know these lines, bro. Just be the character. It’s not about the work. It’s about being the person.’ And he’s like, ‘Oh, I got you.'”

Huang also shared what he believed was Pop’s “special” quality as an actor:

We had a lot of first-time actors, but Pop just had it. And what is special about him that’s different from a lot of actors, is that Pop has no fear. He’s been through a lot in his life. Zero fear. You never get the same take with Pop, but you get something spicier and something different. On days that he was there, I would tell everybody, ‘Just get ready. It’s showtime. Catch this lightning in a bottle. I don’t care if he’s not on his mark. I don’t care if we’ve got to throw three cameras at it. But he’s going to do stuff.

You can revisit the trailer for Boogie here.