News Column

Morning Jam: Trail Blazers' Robin Lopez has created a television pilot, taking inspiration from Steven Spielberg

October 11, 2013

YellowBrix

Oct. 11--It's been well documented that Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez has eclectic interests outside of basketball, including a love of comic books, cartoons, video games and movies.

But it's more than merely a hobby. Lopez has Hollywood ambitions.

Lopez and brothers Brook and Chris have created a television pilot and are in the budding stages of shopping it to studios. Robin wrote the pilot with input from his brothers, and, while he isn't willing to reveal specifics, he acknowledged that it's an animation production in the "comedy-adventure" genre.

As a kid, Robin took an early liking to the popular movies created by Hollywood legend Steven Spielberg, and he says the vision of his show was shaped in part by some of Spielberg's earlier hits.

"It's kind of cliche at this point, but I've always been a fan of Spielberg and his early stuff," Robin said. "The feel of it, the look of it, just how he's able to make movies that appeal to everybody and still have that childlike quality."

Robin is particularly fond of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial," and the concept for his animated show is partly inspired by those films. He's quick to note that his show isn't "quite as ambitious" as a Spielberg movie, but it's a serious endeavor nonetheless, and his hope is that the show not only appeals to a younger audience -- which is the main goal -- but also to families.

Brook and Robin, who are twins, have visited multiple movie studios in recent years, including Fox and Disney, and once sat in on the taping of an episode of "The Simpsons." But their love of animation goes back to their childhood, and Robin and Brook have dabbled in cartoons and comics for years, creating countless characters and storylines for possible creations. Robin has always had a passion for drawing; Brook has always been the stronger writer.

But even though his brothers offered significant input and provided "concept images" for the show's characters, the script for this pilot is Robin's creation.

"We've kind of all pooled together what we like," Robin said.

In addition to the pilot, Robin said he would like to enhance the show's pitch by creating a vision of what a "status-quo" episode might look like should the show get picked up, so he's working on future plots. He and Brook -- who plays for the Brooklyn Nets -- have submitted the pilot to the entertainment arm of their player agency, Wasserman Media Group, for feedback, and it will be shopped to television studios.

Robin, who joked at media day that one of his nicknames was "Sideshow Rob" -- an ode to "The Simpsons" character Sideshow Bob -- is one step closer to realizing his Hollywood dreams. One day soon, Robin's eclectic tastes could be coming to a television near you.

-- Joe Freeman

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(c)2013 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)

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