On Tuesday, WBO 130-pound champion Jamel Herring got a full-on taste of Hollywood, at least from the actor’s perspective, and he had an interaction on a movie set which he will never forget.
The 33-year-old hitter, fighting under the Top Rank umbrella, had some wardrobe fitting and shooting on Tuesday for his role in Steven Spielberg’s version of West Side Story, the play which was rendered into film form back in 1961.
OK, so he did wardrobe, then what happened?
“For starters I had to full shave! Something I didn’t do in years, they also gave me a 1950s hairdo which will shock a lot of folks, and the wardrobe says 1950s from head to toe! I did most of my fitting last week when I first went on set in New Jersey, but we definitely got the scene done yesterday and altered my wardrobe on the fly.”
What about that scene? What can he divulge?
”I can’t really speak much on the scene, of course, but there’s a conflict where the Sharks confront the girls of their race, about sticking with their own ‘kind’ and the women obviously don’t want to hear any of it. While all is is happening I’m literally in front of them, whaling on the bag, and working with my on-screen trainer.”
Basically, the ‘61 flick was a musical rendition of a story retelling the “Romeo and Juliet” deal in a city atmosphere. If you haven’t seen it, it goes like this: in the summer of 1957 in Manhattan, a white American gang, the Jets, beef with the Puerto Rican gang, the Sharks. There is brawling, and also dancing and singing galore. We will presume that Herring wasn’t present to be in the choir.
So word is he met and interacted with the all-star film-helmer, Spielberg, the other day. What can he share about that?
”It’s crazy because Spielberg took notice of me after reviewing all the reshoots and seeing me in the background constantly pounding the bag,” the boxer relayed. “I was pretty much the only true boxer on set, so after a while a lot of production crew just kept coming up to me in between shoots asking about my story and background. When Steven found out that I was a Marine and Olympian he lit up and praised me for being on board. He was a real humble guy, and I had a lot of fun doing the scene with them. That’s how I pretty much got Steven’s attention, it got to a point they started calling me Ray Robinson on set.”
And, but of course, wise souls soak up knowledge and look to learn from most every circumstance; what did Herring take away from his Hollywood foray?
”I was just soaking up of all the hard work that goes into doing a movie, but I spoke with other actors to get more insight on their experience.”
Uh, oh — should Bob Arum start looking for another 130 pound ace for the stable?
”Boxing will be my first love. That’s why I wanted to knock that out of the way because once I start camp this weekend, I’m turning everything out,” said the pugilist, who will face off with Lamont Roach in a November title defense.
”Being a world champion means far much more than being a star elsewhere, at least right now. I didn’t fight my way up just to lose focus now! I still want those big fights, and a huge event against Carl Frampton (next St. Patrick’s Day) is in the near future but first, let’s take and handle Lamont seriously!”
Cut! And print...