Actress Regina King On Why She Loves 'The Sandlot'

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The NPR series, 'Movies I've Seen A Million Times' features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching. Today, we will hear from actress Regina King, talking about 'The Sandlot.' King currently stars on the TV show 'Southland.'


Next, our colleagues at the NPR program WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED have been asking some of their guests - particularly people in the film business - about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

Today, we hear from actress Regina King. Her credits include "Jerry Maguire" and "Ray." She currently stars on the TNT television show "Southland." The movie she could watch a million times is "The Sandlot."


HANK BALLARD: (Singing) Finger poppin'...

REGINA KING: I'm Regina King, actress and aspiring director. And the movie I've watched a million times is "The Sandlot" directed by Dave Evans and starring Patrick Renna, Tom Guiry, and Denis Leary.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (as character) Whoa.

TOM GUIRY: (as Scotty Smalls) You call that pitching?

KING: The movie is about a kid named Smalls who moves into the neighborhood with his mother and stepdad. And he befriends this group of kids that play baseball in the sandlot.


CHAUNCEY LEOPARDI: (as Squints) You never heard of the Sultan of Swat?

BRANDON QUINTIN ADAMS: (as Kenny DeNunez) The Titan of Terror.

VICTOR DIMATTI: (as Timmy) The Colossus of Clout? The colossus of clout?

GUIRY: (as Scotty Smalls) Oh. Yeah, the Great Bambino. Of course. I thought you said the Great Bambi, that wimpy deer.

KING: All the personalities of these boys were so different, and it reminded me of my block growing up.


PATRICK RENNA: (as Ham) Hey, you want S'more?

GUIRY: (as Scotty Smalls) Some more what?

RENNA: (as Ham) No, no, do you want a S'more?

GUIRY: (as Scotty Smalls) I haven't had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?

RENNA: (as Ham) You're killing me, Smalls.

KING: The sandlot that they play in is right next to James Earl Jones' house. And he has this huge dog that they call The Beast.


LEOPARDI: (as Squints) Because Mr. Mertle asked the cops how long he had to keep The Beast chained up like a slave. They said until forever. Forever.

KING: Smalls doesn't really know much about baseball. He's learning as he's with them. And the whole time that they are talking about the greatest player ever, they're talking about Babe Ruth, but they never say his name. So a ball goes over the fence, and they're like: OK, playtime is over. And Smalls is like: Well, I got a ball.


GUIRY: (as Scotty Smalls) I got it, guys. I got it. I got the ball, guys. I got it.

KING: Little does he know, he goes and gets the ball that his stepdad had signed by Babe Ruth for them to play with.


GUIRY: (as Scotty Smalls) You're out.

KING: It's his first homerun, and he hits it over the fence. And they're like: Oh, man, Smalls. OK, playtime's over again. And he's like: No. I got to get that ball back, guys.


GUIRY: (as Scotty Smalls) We got to get that ball back.

RENNA: (as Ham) Oh, yeah. Right. Good one, Smalls.

GUIRY: (as Scotty Smalls) No, you don't understand.

KING: You don't understand. I got to get that ball back. It's my dad's ball. And they're like: Why is it such a big deal? And he says: I don't know. It was signed by some girl. And they're like: Some girl? Who?


GUIRY: (as Scott Smalls) Some lady named Ruth. Baby Ruth.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (as characters) : Babe Ruth.

KING: That scene's also my son's favorite scene. I showed that movie to my son when he was about five years old. I tell you, this kid watched it like he had it on a loop. And still to this day, certain things will happen, and then my son, he's 16 now, will say something like: Listen to me, Smalls, you know. It still has such a connection for me and my son 11 years later.


MARTIN: That's Regina King talking about the movie she could watch a million times, "The Sandlot." She currently stars on the TV show "Southland." This is NPR News.

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