Disney+’s “The Crossover” is based on a book by the same name. This series is great for families to watch together and is sure to spark many important conversations. It gets heavy, but also adds in some lighthearted and fun moments. We sat down with the cast and co-showrunners to discuss the ins and outs of the series.
Sabrina Revelle (Crystal Bell)
Derek Luke (Chuck Bell)
Jalyn Hall (Filthy aka Josh)
Amir O’Neil (JB aka Jordan)
Deja Cruz (Maya)
Skyla I’Lece (Alexis)
Trevor Bush (Vondie)
Kwame Alexander (Author/Creator/Co-Showrunner)
Damani Johnson (Co-Showrunner)
Kimberly Harrison (Co-Showrunner)
Where Did The Idea For The Story Come From?
Kwame Alexander wrote the book that this series is based off of. He also is a co-showrunner and jokes that he might be a bit too hands on with things. When asked where the initial idea for the story came from, he reveals that it wasn’t even his idea.
Kwame Alexander: The idea for the book wasn’t even my idea. It was a publisher who said, Kwame, we love your voice, you should write a book for kids about a boy who plays basketball, who’s got a dad, maybe give him a brother. And it’s about their family. And I was like, yes. Great idea. And so it wasn’t even my idea. But once I got that motivation, then I was able to tap into, okay, what was the relationship like between me and my dad? And ultimately, how can I write a love letter to him?
What Drew You To The Series?
There are a lot of great things about this series, so we had to ask the cast and showrunners what it was about this series and the story it tells that made them want to be a part of it. While they all have different answers, the sentiment is the same — they knew these were important stories to tell.
Amir O’Neil: It was basketball, but it was also the brotherhood between JB and Filthy that really drew me to this. The moment I got the audition, I was so excited about it because I felt like I related to both of them so much.
Jalyn Hall: The overall dynamic. The story was amazing, first off, and then the dynamic of the friends, family, and brotherhood. You can see when something’s gonna be gold and you’re gonna have a good experience doing it. I felt great vibes from it. The universe was talking to me and I was talking back and I was like, this is gonna be great. And it was. It was marvelous. It was something that I didn’t even know it could be.
Trevor Bush: I read the book in middle school years before I got the audition. So when I got the audition, I was like, I remember this. This was awesome. And then also, I played basketball my entire life — it is my life. So being able to bring in my two passions, acting and basketball, into one amazing TV show? I couldn’t ask for anything better than that.
Skyla I’Lece: I had not read the book beforehand, but when I first got the script, and I read it, I was like, this is so detail oriented. And you don’t see that a lot. You don’t see a lot of poetry in the lines or vivid imagery in the stage directions. This is this is different. This is something new and I’m excited to audition for it.
Deja Cruz: Definitely just reading the sides for the audition. I felt the swagginess of this whole thing.
Derek Luke: I love the family organism, and getting a chance to play that on screen. I was always, as a kid, in my imagination. I grew up in a single-mom household. I think internally, I was always longing for a coach, a mentor. And so to be presented with a project where both parents are present. Both parents are intelligent, have drive and passion. I love the two boys, their coming-of-age story, and the actors Jalyn and Amir.
Sabrina Revelle: It was when I first got the audition. It seemed fun. Very different than what I would have thought my first series regular would have been. It was actually fun because I received it during the pandemic, and it was like, yes, let’s get something that’s a bit lighter. And don’t get me wrong. We go through our trials and tribulations on the show, but it’s definitely one filled with love. It’s not filled with a bunch of struggle, which you normally see specifically for our community. So that drew me to the show. This is an upper-middle-class family, a double-parent household family. I too, grew up in a single-parent household, had a stepfather for a bit, but wasn’t really present. So that’s why I speak to it a lot. Because you can be there and not be there all at the same time.
Kimberly Harrison: My boys are huge fans of the book. But also the representation and to have a show where I can sit with them, and we can watch, and we all take something different from it. That was absolutely important to me, coming on to the project.
Damani Johnson: Just the heart and the joy that’s inherent in the story. It inspires me, and so I wanted to help inspire other people.
Amir O’Neil’s character, JB, suffers from ADHD. When asked about bringing that aspect to the series, he explains that he doesn’t have ADHD, but a friend of his does.
Amir O’Neil: I just micro-analyzed him. Also doing a lot of research such as reading articles about people who have ADHD talking about what goes on in their everyday life. And certain triggers they might have. Things like that. I wanted to make sure that I accurately portrayed.
All eight episodes of The Crossover season one are available to stream on Disney+ now.
Tessa Smith AKA Mama's Geeky, is a journalist that covers geek and Disney culture on her own website, as well as freelances for other sites such as What's On Disney Plus and Screen Rant. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Marketing and loves all things geeky. She is a Disney Vacation Club member and a Founders Circle Member of Disney+. She is also an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes and a member of the Critics Choice Association. Tessa lives in Upstate New York with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs named Sansa and Khaleesi.