WHAT JAMES KEITH WANTS OTHER SOMA ATHLETES TO KNOW
An interview with Champions star, James Keith
By Anne DeForge
"I never thought I would see someone like me starring in a movie. I really never thought I would see a movie with most of the main characters played by people with special needs. The movie Champions, Directed by Bobby Farrelly is about a former minor-league basketball coach that receives a court order to manage a team of players with intellectual disabilities. Despite his doubts, he soon realizes that together they can go further then they ever imagine."
I had the honor to sit and chat with Massachusetts own James Keith, who plays Benny in the movie.
Anne DeForge: How did you get the opportunity to start as a basketball athlete in Campions?
James Keith: So I have been playing basketball during Special Olympics and Specials Olympics emailed my parents saying would you be interested in this. And it was auditioning for the movie Champions. So I kind of got the role from Special Olympics.
Anne: Were you nervous meeting other famous actors?
James: I wasn't nervous, I mean people would be nervous meeting a well known actor, but I just had a conversation with them, so I really wasn't that nervous. It's like we were all professionals and maybe I was a little nervous in my head (laughs) I just had a lot of fun and if you enjoy doing what you are doing at the moment then the nerves kind of go away.
Anne: Did you enjoy working with Woody Harrelson?
James: Yeah, I totally enjoyed working with Woody Harrelson. He's a funny guy. He has a lot of spunk. I joked a lot with him. I played thumb wars with him. He's an amazing dude and I really appreciated him. He helped me a lot when I worked with him.
Anne: How long have you been a Special Olympics athlete?
James: I have been a Special Olympics athlete since I was 8 years old. .Now I am 25. I never thought I would see someone like me starring in a movie. I really never thought I would see a movie with most of the main characters played by people with special needs. The movie Champions, Directed by Bobby Farrelly is about a former minor-league basketball coach that receives a court order to manage a team of players with intellectual disabilities. Despite his doubts, he soon realizes that together they can go further then they ever imagine. I had the honor to sit and chat with Massachusetts own, James Keith who plays Benny in the movie.
Anne: What sports do you participate in for Special Olympics?
James: I participate a lot in Special Olympics. I play soccer, basketball, track and field, skiing and powerlifting, just to name a few.Anne: Wow you're busy!James: I actually have Special Olympics basketball practice tonight.
Anne: What is your favorite memory in the movie?
James: My favorite memory in the movie is meeting everyone. Everyone brought their own spunk, we all got along really well. Meeting Woody, Kaitlin, Cheech and everyone on the Friends basketball team was really nice. And we obtained life long friendships from meeting them and becoming friends outside.
Anne: That's awesome! Anne: Did you always want to be an actor?
James: Not at first, but now I had so much fun with Champions I want to continue to do this because I had so much fun.Anne: What message do you hope people learn from the movie?James: I want them to learn that you can do anything you set your mind to. And you can achieve anything in life and you can blossom and have dreams and success.
Anne: What was your great achievement in life?
James: My greatest achievement in life was when me and my whole family made it into the Special Olympics Hall of Fame way back in 2017.
Anne: What is your next dream or goal?
James: That's a good question. My favorite dream or goal is just to enjoy life and becoming a role model. And letting everyone out there know you can do anything you set your mind to.
Anne: So that ties into my last question, as a Special Olympic athlete what would you like to tell other athletes about their goals and dreams
James: Nothing is small, you literally can do anything you set your mind to. If you want to go to college, you can go to college. If you want to try something new, try something new. If you don't like it, at least you gave it a shot. But if you enjoyed it, continue doing it. That is what the message would be. Just be you, just be the unique amazing being that you already are. There is a lot of success for everyone.
Anne: Is there anything else you would like people to know?
ames: I am huge family type of guy. If you have an amazing family let them know that, love them and just be yourself.