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Q&A With Jeremy Sisto

The 'Clueless' alum on mastering tennis for his latest role.

In the new movie Break Point (currently available On-Demand and in select theaters September 4), Jeremy Sisto plays Jimmy Price, a burnt-out doubles tennis player working the pro circuit. He can't keep a partner, so he turns to his estranged brother (played by David Walton) to help him in some career-reviving matches—which includes a memorable scene with real life pro doubles players the Bryan brothers. We had a chat with the Clueless alum about his character and how hard it is to train for tennis.

Your character is a flawed guy.
He sure is. He’s someone who does not want to grow up, that’s for sure.

I was trying to think of a good way to describe him.
Yeah, he definitely enjoys surprising people and like to bucks the system’s rules. He does things that people deem inappropriate, and tennis is filled with those [types of people]. 

What’s it like to play someone who’s a little bit unlikeable?
Well, it’s great. This character is a guy that everyone wants to play. He’s the guy who says the funny thing and is inappropriate, but still saying the things everyone is thinking. Or at least, I imagine everyone wants to play him because I did. I would love to not care what people think about me.

So, it sounds like you had an easy time relating to him.
Yeah, when we came up with the character it was based more on the idea, like, how many comedic opportunities there could be within a bourgeois sport that has a lot of necessary behavioral things you have to do in order to respect the game. It’s super fun because this is a character that I never really get to play because a bigger actor always wants it.

But he’s also a good tennis player. Do you play a lot?
Yeah, me and the writer [Gene Hong] on the film, we play tennis together. We weren’t that good or anything, but we talked about ideas. As the movie got closer to coming into fruition, I started spending more time on the court and really busted my ass. It’s really hard, especially tennis, to learn if you’re older because it’s full-body. Every muscle has to be working together in order to pull it off.

And people who really know tennis will know if you’re faking it.
Yep, they will. And you know, there are also some weird tennis players out there. There are some professionals—especially at this level that Jimmy’s at—that have some really weird non-traditional techniques and forms. We had some kind of out with that. But we have a lot of good-looking tennis in it.

Did you get any specific advice or tips from your trainers?
Oh yeah. Every one of them has great tips. Problem is, many of the trainers had opposing techniques that they were certain was the right technique.

Who’s your dream doubles partner?
We actually got to play against the Bryan brothers. Not an actual match, but me and David played with them for an hour or something. It was awesome and crazy! They were hilarious, because at a certain point we were thinking we were doing pretty well. And they’re like, “Great shot!” And then we realized they do this all the time for charities and stuff. So, I basically felt like a 10-year-old.

This interview has been condensed and edited.