MSU basketball player Keenan Wetzel writes short film starring former basketball player Delvon Roe
After five months of pre-production, the crew of “The Cager” has wrapped up taping the short film about a basketball player who gets injured in college.
“He was supposed to be the top-10 pick in the country and gets hurt during one of his games and isn’t able to go to the pros,” Eightfold Marketing and Creative CEO and founder Nicholas Stachurski said. “So he’s in this crossroad position in his life, where he has a daughter and a girlfriend who’s his high school sweetheart and he feels trapped ... he feels caged.”
“The Cager” was written and directed by MSU basketball guard Keenan Wetzel.
The short film stars former MSU basketball player Delvon Roe. He will play the main character, Wes, who undergoes a situation similar to the one Roe faced in his college basketball career.
Roe is now a SAG-certified actor out in L.A. and flew in to play the lead in the film.
“East Lansing, I’m home!” Roe said. “I’m glad to be back here working on ‘The Cager’ with Keenan Wetzel.”
Many thought Wetzel’s idea for the film was originally inspired by Roe, including Stachurski.
“So the film isn’t based on (Roe)’s life, but Keenan Wetzel as he was writing this, it was a heavy influence what had happened to (Roe),” Stachurski said. “That’s kind of what I would say inspired him. I can’t speak for him, but I do believe that he was really inspired by (Roe)’s situation.”
Wetzel, however, said it was more than just that.
“Inspiration maybe, but there’s so many scenarios like (Roe)’s and like somebody getting hurt that it wasn’t based on anything with him,” Wetzel said. “Obviously when you’re casting, you realize, ‘That’s my friend. He can do that role.’”
Wetzel added that getting Roe involved, however, was important for the film.
Stachurski also said it’s a huge problem in college athletics, where these top-10-percent athletes get injured and they don’t have a back-up plan, like Roe did with acting.
“(Keenan)’s seen a lot of athletes who are just these great, great people, but after college they just don’t have that path past their sport,” he said. “Keenan really wanted to speak to that and help people get over that hurdle in their life.”
Stachurski added they hope to be able to distribute “The Cager” to certain non-profits that speak to the issue of being a single parent, which is a topic that’s also touched on in the film.
“In the story ... the main character’s father left him as a child,” he said. “So we do want to distribute this to certain non-profits as an entertainment and educational piece to show their members. We hope to be able to give back with the film in that manner.”
Stachurski said they hope to have the final edit done sometime in November.
“We’re going to have the red carpet premiere at NCG and hopefully we’ll have a lot of the MSU community come out,” Stachurski said.
Wetzel said it’s amazing to see everything finally coming together and that it couldn’t have been possible without the donors’ support from early stages.