The Rush: Actress Uzo Aduba on Boston sports and paying college athletes debate

Actress Uzo Aduba is on The Rush, chatting with Jared about how her experience as a college athlete at Boston University informed her performance in the film “National Champions,” taking her Boston sports fandom to the next level and resurrecting her skills on the ice as a former competitive figure skater. Plus, Uzo reveals how her role in “National Champions” altered her opinion of the debate about college athletes getting paid. Check out the film in theaters starting December 10, 2021.

Video Transcript

JARED QUAY: Your character Catherine is kind of the villain of sorts in this film.

UZO ADUBA: Do not let LaMarcus rob you of your legacy.

JARED QUAY: But my question to you is who do you think, in your opinion, is the villain of the sports world today?

UZO ADUBA: I mean, I guess anybody who crushes my Boston sports teams dreams that's the villain in my [? book. ?]

JARED QUAY: National champions is coming to theaters December 10th and I'm here with one of the stars of the film Uzo Aduba. How are you doing today, Uzo?

UZO ADUBA: I'm fantastic. How are you?

JARED QUAY: I'm great. You used to run track in Boston University on athletic scholarship. So what's it like to be in a movie where the team is so connected to your real life experiences?

UZO ADUBA: Wild is the word I would say. And coming from a place of having some knowledge already about sports and that entire world was cool, I guess. I never thought that my track experience would play into my acting experience, but here we are.

JARED QUAY: The film explores what atop-- what would happen if top athletes pulled out the stops in order to unionize players to get a paycheck.

- So I'm personally asking all players in Monday's national title game to join me in this boycott to demand that the NCAA will recognize players as paid employees and not student athletes.

JARED QUAY: Your character Catherine is kind of on the opposite side of the players. So tell me from your experiences, did the role change your view or is this something you agree with?

UZO ADUBA: Well, I went into the project having a really clear idea, an opinion of what I thought should happen, how it should be done X, Y, and Z. And then by the time we wrapped the project, Jared, I started to consider-- stay with me now. I was able to understand the wider conversation that was being had, having sat in a different seat from my own experience.

- What happens to all of the other sports that are not men's football and basketball when they start paying you?

JARED QUAY: I got a controversial question for you now because we found out that your dog's name is Fenway. And so does that-- does that make you a Red Sox fan? Is that your favorite team in Boston?

UZO ADUBA: That's correct I'm from Boston Sox and my dog is named, yes, Fenway Parbark.

JARED QUAY: But is that your favorite Boston team? Does that be--

UZO ADUBA: Oh I'm all Boston teams--


UZO ADUBA: That's like picking a favorite child. Is that possible? I have more than one favorite Boston team, but my favorite Boston name for a dog was Fenway.

JARED QUAY: So you ran track, you've run marathons, but I feel like the thing I'm most impressed about is you also had a figure skating career.

UZO ADUBA: As well.

JARED QUAY: So just tell me can you still doing [? Axl ?] and are we watching the Winter Olympics this year?

UZO ADUBA: I haven't tried one for a few years. But if you give me some time probably to of course watching the Winter Olympics. I love the Olympics. I love the stories. I love taking that ride for those weeks with all of the athletes of course.

JARED QUAY: So you are on screen with Kristin Chenoweth for about 10 seconds. To me, that's enough to turn the movie into a musical. So can we get this Wicked On Ice together or what? I feel like that's what the world needs right now.

UZO ADUBA: Wicked On Ice?


UZO ADUBA: It's coming. It just hasn't been announced yet. It's coming, but it's good.

JARED QUAY: All right, well, look here, that's all I have for you today. You guys if you're watching this, go check out national champions in theaters December 10th. Uzo, thank you again for rushing with me and I hope you and Fenway can enjoy all the Boston championships all over again because they keep breaking my heart every time the Patriots win a good game. Thanks. Congrats on the film. You have a nice day.

UZO ADUBA: Thank you. You too. Happy holiday.