The Sandman isn’t done making basketball-adjacent movies just yet. After taking it to the hole with Uncut Gems, Adam Sandler is set to star in Hustle, a new Netflix movie produced by LeBron James. The film will see Sandler starring as a fired b-ball scout who discovers a talented player overseas and decides to bring him to the United States.
Adam Sandler’s next Netflix movie is Hustle, a Jeremiah Zagar-directed feature with a script from Taylor Materne and Will Fetters. LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment are producing. The plot, per Variety, follows “an American basketball scout who, after being unjustly fired, discovers a talented player abroad and decides to bring him to the U.S. to prove that they both have what it takes to make it in the NBA.”
I just want to point out this is almost an identical plot to The Scout, a 1994 comedy starring Brendan Fraser and Albert Brooks. In that film, Brooks played a baseball talent scout who finds an unlikely star player in the Mexican countryside. Sure, the Sandler movie subs baseball for basketball, but these are very similar plots.
According to Collider, while the longline above simply mentions the star player as coming from “abroad”, an early version of the script “was about a Chinese streetball phenom who travels from China to Los Angeles to train for the NBA Draft, thrusting him into the hype machine of pro basketball prospects.” Hustle was originally set up at Legendary after they bought the pitch in 2018. Netflix later nabbed the rights, and sold Sandler on the idea, with Fetters doing a rewrite of Materne’s original script.
I enjoy the Sandman as much as the next person, and I especially like it when he goes outside his comfort zone to do things like Uncut Gems and Punch-Drunk Love. That said, his Netflix output so far has been firmly in his low-brow comedy wheelhouse, so I’m not expecting Hustle to blow me away in the end. But I’d be happy to be proven wrong. Go for that Oscar again, Sandler. You can do it.
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