“Because I was wondering, like, what if you kept your baby teeth until the age of 18 or 20?”
In 2011, shortly after changing his name from Ron Artest to Metta World Peace, the then-Lakers forward was asked by a reporter about the name change.
Instead of answering her question, he went into a bizarre discussion about Jesus Christ and teeth.
“Not only did [Jesus] build the world in seven days and seven nights,” he noted, “but he also said, ‘OK. Let them lose their teeth early, rather than late’.”
The interview went viral, and seven years later, it’s now been adapted into a short film by directors Jesse Lamar High and Nik Harper of studio LAMAR+NIK.
In METTA WORLD TEETH, the filmmakers imagine what Metta World Peace must have been thinking at the time of the interview.
It’s short, insightful and hilarious, taking viewers on a visual tour through the imagination of one of sport’s kookiest personalities.
We spoke to LAMAR+NIK to know more about the making-of METTA WORLD TEETH.
The interview with Metta World Peace was done back in 2011. What made you realise you suddenly want to do a micro-short about it?
“Firstly, we just want to point out the irony that we’re being interviewed about a video we made about an interview. Excellent.
Secondly, we’ve been watching the Metta World Peace interview for quite some time. Nik and I were watching the interview one day and we just wondered what was going through Metta’s mind when he answered the reporter’s question. He seemed like he really had a long and hard think about teeth.
“So, we started fantasising about what Metta might have been doing when he had this epiphany about teeth. Eventually, that’s what led us to making the short. That and it was just super funny to us.”
Can you give us a little insight into the creative process involved in the making of METTA WORLD TEETH?
“Well, we wrote the script and then started pre-production pretty soon after. We funded the video ourselves for around $300. Wanna give a special thanks to Alan for lending us gear to make it happen.
From there we secured locations and cast. For the actor that was going to play Metta we just wanted someone who looked close enough. A budget version of Metta if you will. We wound up getting in contact with Matthew (Metta) through Michaelene (Toothless Woman in Field). He’s not an actor and this was his first time in front of a camera, but he was awesome.
“When we got closer to shooting the short we called in our good friend and DP Spenser Sakurai. He did an amazing job even with our limited resources. Lastly, we shot for two days and edited it over the course of a month or so.”
Has Metta World Peace actually seen METTA WORLD TEETH?
“We were in LA for LA Film Festival and showed off a rough cut of the short to a couple of people. One of the people we showed it to actually had a connection to Metta’s manager. Long story short, we had a call with Metta’s management before we released the video and they loved it.
“We discussed possibly getting the actual Metta involved, but with our limited funds it didn’t wind up working out. That’s really the only thing that would have made it funnier to us. If the actual Metta was in it. The management raved about the video though and it’s entirely possible that he’s seen it by now.”
What’s next for you?
“We have some other shorts we’re working on right now and we’re slowing chipping away at this feature we’ve been writing. In the meantime though we’re just pitching on music videos and commercials. Just always trying to stay creative and busy. Thanks Lost At E Minor for the interview!”