Antwon Tanner Talks One Tree Hill Reunions and 15th Anniversary of Coach Carter

One Tree Hill star Antwon Tanner talks first lead role, how One Tree Hill cast is still family, and working with Samuel L. Jackson twice

Chae Jones

AfterBuzz TV Host & Writer
Posted On: July 6th, 2020 8:54 pm pst

Maria Menounos
Keven Undergaro
AfterBuzz TV Founders

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, AfterBuzz TV is the artist-friendly entertainment news platform that celebrates, discusses, interviews, promotes and reports on the widest range of stars, creators and content through video, audio and article publications.

Dish Upon A Star: Antwon Tanner

To watch the full interview, CLICK HERE

Sometimes the dreams we have for ourselves change and we get to explore other avenues that we never thought of before. If we’re lucky we get to use our first dream to enhance the new one, which is the kind of experience our guest had.

Antwon Tanner joined Chae’ Jones for a Zoom interview to talk about what’s going on in the world, how Hollywood can solve the problem they created, celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Coach Carter, discuss One Tree Hill, A Christmas Wish, and more on our Dish Upon A Star series.

Tanner’s acting ability has always felt authentic and his comedic timing is impeccable. When asked if he always knew he wanted to be an actor Tanner replied,

“I actually never thought about being an actor. I wanted to be a professional basketball player which I got to accomplish and still play basketball to this day… It was right before my freshman year of college and I was playing in the Say No Classic in the Drew League and this coach noticed me and he was like man you can really play I think you should come audition for this movie. I was like okay. He told me, ‘I could get a hundred bucks a day if I was one of the players on the other team to play against the actors.’ I was like cool, that’s what’s up. They wanted the movie to look as real as possible. I went to the audition. They liked me as the basketball player then he hit me up and said they want you to come read for this role the next day and I was like I’m not an actor though, but I do want that hundred dollars you know.. so what’s good?”

Tanner continued, “Now, back then I never acted before so I didn’t know you could use the paper. I didn’t know you could use the script. So I just studied what I studied like I was studying for a regular test. I made sure I didn’t get no and, but, to, for, maybe….I had everything like a robot. She started reading and I literally went blank and forgot everything on the paper.  So I just kinda said it in my own words like naw, coach, you know this and this and that. I remember when I left the audition I was so mad on the bus like I’m not going to get that because I messed up. Like I studied all the hours and Becky told me to do this and do that and I missed a for, and, an, and, right there I was supposed to say that man I know they not going to hire me.”

Credit: IMDb

While Tanner thought he didn’t do well in his audition, it turned out making the script and character his own is what made the casting director fall in love with his talent. Which led to his first lead role in Sunset Park starring alongside Rhea Pearlman, Fredro Starr, De’aundre Bonds, and Terrance Howard.

It wouldn’t be the last sports movie Tanner worked on. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Coach Carter, starring Samuel L. Jackson. Based on a true story, this film inspired its players to be the best they can be, not just on the court but academically as well. Jackson has been an inspiration to Tanner, and when asked what it was like working and learning with someone he admired, Tanner stated that he learned a lot through him. 

“Well, actually that’s not the first time I worked with Sam. I worked with Samuel on 187. I play Auggie in that movie and that was the first time I got to meet with him. I sat down and I chopped it up with him and talked to him and I just learned so much and I was like okay cool and then when I got the opportunity to go in for the movie I was like man I hope I book this. It was a process, it took me about a month to book Worm because we were going back and forth. In actuality Worm didn’t even have that big of a role when it started. Worm had three lines on the original script. Worm had like three lines, but he was seen in a lot of stuff.” 

Credit: IMDb

Tanner continued, “I’ll never forget it because Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins know I don’t read scripts. I just kinda read my part because I like to watch the finished project. It’s not like a diss, I just be like I’m a fan of these guys so I want to watch it with everybody else, like a fan. Instead of like okay what’s going to happen, I know what’s going to happen on this part. I’ll just do my scenes and then watch it like everybody else. I’m just excited as the fans are. They came to me…Brian came to me that day and he was like I know you probably didn’t look at this last night when we sent it but um, just highlight your stuff please. I was like I’m good. He was like I know you good but just highlight your stuff because they talking about pulling the movie cause it wasn’t…the studio was not feeling it for some reason at first. I was like I got you man. So I looked at it really quick and then I was like okay I’m good. So I created this laugh for the movie. The laugh that I did in the movie, I created that laugh and everything so I was like I’m going to do this, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do that bam and we went in there and killed it. We killed it! So now Worm became from three lines to scene after scene after scene. Thomas always used to say I go with people that I know can deliver.”

Credit: IMDb

The film wouldn’t be the same without Tanner seeing how much Worm could get away with! There is one question that is asked multiple times throughout the film. What is your deepest fear? Tanner revealed his deepest fear is, (https://youtu.be/1QqU-0s2TFQ?t=1182) “Having this country do what it’s doing twenty years from now, because those marches and protests were going on when I was in high school. This is 1993 for the Rodney King riots. The Rodney King trial when every police got acquitted. Every single one. All acquitted and this when they first started recording the cops. This was the first video of police brutality that they had in recent history and we riding for these same things in 1993, and here it is twenty years later, almost twenty years later, and they are still talking about the same thing. Just history repeats itself. It’s crazy. That’s a fear of mine that my kids will have to go through it. I don’t want them to go through it.”

The only way for history to stop repeating itself is to learn from it. Learn and hear what we’re asking for. Equality. It’s as simple as that. 

Now, before and after Coach Carter, Tanner played Skills in One Tree Hill. He is actually one of four characters/actors who filmed the pilot and the finale of the show. Which is an amazing feat. “The one thing I can say about One Tree Hill is that I like doing it because we touched on a lot of social issues way before a lot of the stuff started to happen. The school shooting you know what i’m saying, suicide we touched on so much of that stuff. Being bullied and all of that stuff that kids are actually dealing with today. That a lot of people didn’t know had people with mental illness. We touched on all of that. It was just crazy because I go back and watch it and be like damn, I didn’t even know we covered that wow, dope, because I never really watch the show. I would go to work and go home because I had kids.”

Which is understandable balancing being a dad and an actor.

Credit: IMDb

Though it has been eight years since the finale, in response to if it felt weird or like no time has passed whenever they reconnect, Tanner replied, (https://youtu.be/1QqU-0s2TFQ?t=1597) “Yeah, no that’s family. I mean we talk all the time though. That’s the crazy part. I talk to Hilarie all the time in some kind of way at least every day on social media or cause her kids, those are my god babies so I had to hit her up, like hey what you got going on? A lot of people didn’t know that Hilarie wasn’t married. They thought Hilarie was married already, but her and Jeff had been together for ten years, you know what I’m saying, I was at their wedding. Me, Soph, Joy, Lee, you know we all were there. It was real cool, you know we support each other. That’s my family.”

Credit: IMDb

Tanner’s favorite fan experience happened during one of the cons. Tanner shared, (https://youtu.be/1QqU-0s2TFQ?t=1766) “I remember after the show. I remember I was filming something this play, TV thing called From This Day Forward. I was filming that and we actually filmed where Club Tric was at, but it’s just a warehouse. Club Tric was a made up club, but we were filming in this warehouse and I remember these three girls came in and they came upstairs and they saw me and they cried. I was like you okay? They was like no it’s you. We literally just came out here on vacation and we were just going to visit spots where they filmed One Tree Hill at and to see you this is crazy. They literally cried. Some girls from Nebraska, they literally cried it was cousins three of them. I’ll never forget it. I was like damn, I didn’t know we had that much of an impact.”

As a fan of the show, I can attest to the impact it made in my life.

If you haven’t had a chance to make it to North Carolina over the last couple of years for the cons, you’ve been missing seeing these stars work together. Well, Lifetime has the fix for you during the holidays. In The Christmas Contract and the latest holiday movie, A Christmas Wish you get to see Hilarie Burton, Tyler Hilton along with a few of your OTH favorites. In response to how it feels working on his second holiday movie with Burton and working with everyone again, Tanner said, (https://youtu.be/1QqU-0s2TFQ?t=1949

“Those are paid vacations. That’s what we called them. Paid vacations. Hiliarie, literally those movies I think Hilarie has some kind of deal with Lifetime or something I don’t know, but sis she’ll just basically hit you up like bro, what are you doing tomorrow? Um, I’m chilling. Cool, I need you to come to Louisiana. I need you out here for like a week. Alright bet, I got you. I jump on a plane. We’ll talk about everything else later. It’s not even like we don’t talk about no contracts we just show up. I get to go see my sister, I know she going to bring my niece and nephew. You know what I’m saying and we hang out, so it’s like a paid vacation. We work…that work is nothing, it’s fun for us. I get to see them and the fans gravitate because they see us in a different light and we just all like working together.”

There is also supposed to be a new holiday movie in the works but due to COVID-19, it’s kind of stalled production, but if they can film by August, we might be getting another One Tree Hill reunion in time for the holidays!

You can follow Tanner @antwon_tanner on Twitter and @antwontanner2214 on Instagram.  If you are a fan of inspirational movies, teen dramas, compelling stories, and holiday cheer, in general, share this article and keep tuning into AfterBuz TV’s Dish Upon A Star series. 

About The Author:

Chae’ Jones is an actress, host, and writer in Los Angeles. She currently hosts Disney News Weekly on Popcorn Talk Network.

Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence

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