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Adam Sandler: Netflix Removed China Plot from New Film Because It Doesn’t Do Business There

"Hustle" casts Adam Sandler as a basketball recruiter who travels overseas to find a top talent.

FILE - This May 29, 2019 file photo shows Adam Sandler at the "Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh" FYC event in Los Angeles. Netflix  announced Friday that Sandler and his Happy Madison Productions have reached a new deal with them to make four more films. He’s had five films with the studio along with the stand-up special “Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh.”   (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP, File)

Adam Sandler

Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP

Adam Sandler’s next Netflix original movie is “Hustle,” a basketball comedy that pairs the actor with acclaimed “We the Animals” helmer Jeremiah Zagar. The film casts Sandler as a basketball recruiter who travels overseas to try and convince an international basketball star to come to the U.S. and play in the NBA. During a recent appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show,” Sandler revealed that Netflix altered the movie’s original concept that saw his character traveling to China to find a basketball star.

“It was written originally that I find a player in China and somehow, Netflix is not in China,” Sandler said. “So they were like, ‘Would you guys please make it so we find someone in Latin America or Europe?’ So the next thing you know, I’m in Majorca [Spain]…[but] it was originally, ‘Find a player in China.’”

Netflix does not operate in China, thus it would not want to make an original movie with a plot that hinges on the country. The move to Spain opened up the door for real-life NBA basketball player Juancho Hernangómez to be cast opposite Sandler. Hernangómez got his start in the NBA playing for the Denver Nuggets and was recently traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves to the Memphis Grizzlies.

“[Hernangómez] acts better than me in every scene,” Sandler said. “It’s just like, god damn it. This guy is falling, crying in the middle of a scene, doing the right thing. Every joke he says, I’m like, ‘He said it smoother than I would have.’”

“Hustle” also stars Queen Latifah, Ben Foster, and Robert Duvall. The script comes from Taylor Materne and Will Fetters. LeBron James, who just made a splash in Hollywood with “Space Jam: Legacy,” is attached as a producer on the project.

Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison, Roth/Kirschenbaum Films, and Maverick Carter’s The SpringHill Company produced “Hustle.” Director Zagar cut his teeth in documentary and short-form filmmaking, but his feature debut “We the Animals” broke out of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The coming-of-age drama won the NEXT Innovator Award and went on to earn five Film Independent Spirit Award nominations. “Hustle” will be Zagar’s biggest project to date. The film does not yet have a release date.

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