Adam Sandler claims that Netflix asked him to change the setting of his upcoming film from China to Spain, as the online movie bazaar doesn’t stream in the Middle Kingdom.
The 54-year-old “Uncut Gems” actor dropped the bombshell during a Thursday appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show,” in which he discussed his new sports comedy “Hustle.” In the flick, which is currently in the post-production phase, Sandler plays a washed-up basketball agent who attempts to save his flatlining career by recruiting a talented overseas player to the NBA.
“It was written originally that I find a player in China and somehow, Netflix is not in China,” the “Happy Gilmore” star told Patrick. “So they were like, ‘Would you guys please make it so we find someone in Latin America or Europe?’ ”
The Happy Madison Productions creator added, “So the next thing you know — I’m in Majorca [Spain].”
As of Wednesday morning, the film’s synopsis on its official Internet Movie Database (IMDB.com) page still features the original location: “A washed-up basketball scout discovers a phenomenal streetball player while in China and sees the prospect as his opportunity to get back into the NBA.”
Meanwhile, although Netflix is making inroads throughout Asia, the streaming giant is currently unavailable in China with no plans to try and appeal to the Chinese market.
“We got turned down by the Chinese government several years ago — and we have not been spending any time on China in the last couple years,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told CNBC. “There’s so much opportunity for us in Asia, the rest of Asia — India, in particular, Korea, Japan, Indonesia and then all through Europe and Latin America.”
In lieu of a Chinese basketballer, Sandler’s on-screen counterpart will now be recruiting a Spanish player portrayed by Juancho Hernangómez, a real-life NBA player with the Memphis Grizzlies.
“[Hernangómez] acts better than me in every scene,” Sandler lamented. “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 veteran actors Queen Latifah, Ben Foster and Robert Duvall under the direction of Jeremiah Zagar, who previously helmed “We the Animals.” LeBron James, who recently starred in and co-produced “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” is listed as a producer on the Happy Madison Productions project.
“Hustle” does not yet have a release date.