Growing up in Marina del Rey, just outside of Los Angeles, Sinqua Walls and his friends used to quote lines and act out scenes from the 1992 movie White Men Can’t Jump. For Walls, like most American teenagers stumbling through the 1990s, the film, which is about a pair of basketball hustlers who team up to earn extra cash by playing pickup games around Los Angeles, was more than just a sports movie or a buddy comedy propelled by motormouths Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson.

“There were so many things going on culturally during that time,” says Walls, 38, who spoke to me on Zoom as he was leaving the gym. The movie came out a month before the Rodney King riots, a five-day period when people in Los Angeles protested the acquittal of four white policemen who had been filmed brutally beating Rodney King, a Black man, with batons......

Walls has four more unreleased projects, including Mending the Line, in which he plays a wounded Afghanistan veteran with PTSD alongside Brian Cox. The project is also his first executive-producer credit. Plus, there’s Carry On, in which he stars opposite Jason Bateman and Taron Egerton as a T.S.A. agent blackmailed into allowing a dangerous package onto a Christmas Day flight.

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