Jonigan Booth as Tre, Snoop Dogg as Jaycen Jennings, and Tika Sumpter as Cherise in “The Underdoggs.” (MGM Studios)

With a career spanning over three decades, Snoop Dogg is an icon. With a career that knows no bounds, he’s transcended the title of “rapper” to become a multifaceted legend.

In his new film, “The Underdoggs,” Snoop plays Jaycen “Two Js” Jennings, a former professional football player who’s sentenced to community service after a reckless driving accident. While cleaning up a local park he comes across a little league football team in dire need of a coach.

Initially, Jennings, infamous for his ego, has no interest in helping the team – that is until he sees Cherise (actress Tika Sumpter), his high school sweetheart who’s the mother of one of the players. Jennings, with the help of his eccentric friend, Kareem (actor Mike Epps), devises a plan to rekindle his relationship with Cherise and rehab his public image, by coaching the team.

In real life, Snoop Dogg has been the coach of “The Snoop Youth Football League” since 2005, which served as an inspiration for the film. The program boasts some remarkable stats including over 85,000 youth participants with over 20,000 going on to play in college and 25 being drafted into the NFL.

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Snoop Dogg as Jaycen Jennings, in “The Underdoggs.” (MGM Studios)

This extensive experience with the youth made Snoop an invaluable part of the casting process. While some films regulate child actors to brief one-liners, these peewee’s were a pivotal part of the film’s storyline.

Through “The Underdoggs,” Snoop is being introduced to a new generation of young actors excited for their big break, unaware that the lead actor is one of the most famous artists in the world.

Actor Jonigan Booth plays Cherise’s son “Tre,” the team’s “Superstar” whose talent and attitude remind Jaycen of himself. When asked about his experience on set, Booth said, “Snoop’s really a grown kid. Sometimes when Charles was [giving directions], we were having rap battles,” exclaimed Booth.

During a recent press conference, moderated by journalist Danielle Young, the audience erupted in laughter when Booth added, “I know Snoop can rap, but like he can really rap,” said the pre-teen with shock and awe.

Booth’s on-screen mother Sumpter added, “All the kids thought they could out rap Snoop, and I was just staring at them like never gonna happen.”

With The Snoop Youth Football League being an inclusive space for kids regardless of race, creed, or socioeconomic status, it’s refreshing to see that level of inclusivity represented in the film which included female football players.

Actress Kylah Davila played “Ghost” whose gender isn’t revealed until her helmet falls off after being tackled. There’s a moment of pause followed by resounding cheers.

Snoop Dogg depicts a former professional football player turned youth football coach in “The Underdoggs.” (MGM Studios)

On the importance of not underestimating girls participating in predominantly male sports, Davila shared, “Growing up, I loved playing football.  But the boys would always exclude me since I was a girl, they always thought I was weak. But the funny thing is, I’m a gymnast, so I’m strong!”

Davila continued, “I’m very honored to play someone like Ghost. She shows that girls can do anything, not just be pretty.”

With one of the most recognizable voices in the world, Snoop has hundreds of acting credits to his name, many of those being cameos as himself, so it’s hard to imagine him ever being an underdog. However, during the press conference, Snoop revealed that he’s been working hard to hone his craft.

“They didn’t believe that I could be an actor because I was so focused on rapping and not really like taking the time to think about the structure and the skill and the practice that goes into it.

“So, I had to, prepare myself to get better, but I started as an underdog where I wouldn’t get roles. I had to practice, I had to get better. I had to do things to make sure that when I do get an opportunity they couldn’t say no.”

After one meeting with producer Jonathan Glickman, Snoop and his producer partner Constance Schultz-Morini had the outline for the film. Then, they bought in producer Kenya Barris and writing duo Danny Segal and Isaac Schamis for the screenplay. For director, Glickman called on Charles Stone, who directed the Bernie Mac film, “Mr. 3000” which has a similar premise as “The Underdoggs”. After learning Stone was also the director of one of Snoop’s favorite movies, “Paid In Full,” Snoop said, “‘I’ve got to work with him.”

With a career spanning four decades from music videos to TV and film, Stone was able to give Snoop the guidance he had been looking for as an actor.

“I noticed that when we started shooting, he’d come over to talk to me and give me information and direction about how the scene could be better or how I could approach it differently,” said Snoop.

“That’s what I long for as an actor, to have a director actually direct me. Hopefully, it looks good on the screen and people enjoy the movie as much as I enjoyed playing the lead” he added.

Perfectly cast as “Cherise” actress Tika Sumpter was a joy to watch on screen. Tika shared that she and Snoop have been friends for over a decade having met on the set of the soap opera, “One Life to Live.” Known for her roles in “Run The World” and “The Haves And The Have Nots,” Sumpter shares that she took inspiration for her role from Snoop’s wife,  Shante “Boss Lady” Broadus.

“When she and Snoop were on set, you could just feel their bond. I love that they’ve known each other since high school and that they’re still together,” said Sumpter.

“I love that they’re the inspiration for this love story, where two people find their way back to each other.”

Rounding out the cast are actors George Lopez, Andrew Schulz, Kal Penn, and Kandi Burrus.

“The Underdoggs” streams exclusively on Prime Video on January 26th.