Of late, Netflix has been busy expanding its horizons and becoming more exclusive as well as diverse whether it is in terms of storytelling, choosing actors, or representing different cultures and countries. But for its upcoming comedy film, Hustle, starring Adam Sandler, the streamer went against its motto and made a very surprising change reportedly for “brand purposes.”
The revelation was recently made by Adam Sandler himself when he appeared on The Dan Patrick Show (via The Hollywood Reporter). After revealing that the production of the film is currently underway, he shared that when the streamer greenlit the film’s script, Netflix asked for one major change in the storyline. Hustle will see Sandler played the character of a disgruntled and washed-out NBA (National Basketball Association) scout who decides to breathe life back into his drowning career by discovering an extraordinary basketball player from overseas and making him NBA’s latest recruit.
The initial plan was for Adam Sandler’s character to travel to China and find his career-saving ace basketball player there. But as Netflix is not in China, the streamer requested them to switch the location to somewhere in Latin America or Europe. Thus, on Netflix’s request, the location was then changed from China to Majorca, Spain, and professional basketball player Juancho Hernangómez of the Memphis Grizzlies (NBA) was picked as the golden recruit Sandler’s character will find.
As revealed by Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings in a chat with CNBC last year, Netflix’s absence in China is not voluntary. Years ago, the streamer attempted to establish its presence in the country, but the Chinese Government shot down its offer. After this, Netflix, which now has over 200 million subscribers and is present in more than 190 countries, never made further efforts to set up shop in China.
Hustle is part of the $275 four-movie deal that Adam Sandler and his film production company, Happy Madison Productions sealed with Netflix last year. Even though Sandler is one of the few actors who holds a high number of Golden Raspberry Award Nominations (37 in total, of which he has won nine), his films are widely popular on the streamer as revealed by Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer. Reportedly, Netflix subscribers have binged more than 2 billion hours worth of his movies, which naturally translates to bringing more films starring the actor to the platform.
Apart from Adam Sandler, Hustle stars Queen Latifah, Robert Duvall, Mario Botto, Ainhoa Pillet, Kenny Smith, Kyle Lowry, Ben Foster, Juan Hernangomez, Jordan Hull, and Andrew “McLovin” Perloff. The film is directed by Jeremiah Zagar, based on a screenplay by Taylor Materne and Will Fetters. The film is produced by Happy Madison Productions, Roth/Kirschenbaum Films, as well as by LeBron James and Maverick Carter on behalf of The SpringHill Company. The film is currently under production and has been filmed in Pennsylvania as well as in Camden, New Jersey. Currently, no official release date of the film has been announced though it is expected to debut on the streamer sometime in 2022.