Adam Sandler and LeBron James teaming up? On the same team like Bill Murray and Michael Jordan in Space Jam? Well, sadly, no. But they are collaborating on a new Netflix movie titled Hustle that Sandler will star in and James will produce.
The narrative revolves around an American basketball scout who is unjustly fired after discovering a once-in-a-lifetime player abroad. The scout decides to bring the player to America to prove that they both have what it takes to make it in the NBA.
Jeremiah Zagar, who helmed the acclaimed indie drama We The Animals, will direct from a script by penned Taylor Materne and Will Fetters that Netflix acquired out of turnaround from Legendary.
Interestingly, Materne’s original script was about a Chinese streetball phenom who travels from China to LA to train for the NBA Draft. Now the player is just being referred to as being from “abroad”. Why?
Well those that follow the NBA know that drama arose between the NBA and China last year, leading to China refusing to air NBA games following controversial comments from Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey that set off an international incident. James found himself mixed up in it before the season when asked to weigh in on the situation.
Could that controversy have altered plans for the film? Possibly. We’ll have to wait and see until a deeper synopsis arrives. Either way, Sandler is a good fit for his role as he’s a huge basketball fan in real life, and actually has his own basketball court – the brilliantly named Happy Madison Square Garden – on the Sony lot in California.
This is an interesting project because it’s not exactly clear what genre it resides in. There’s easily an avenue where this is a usual wacky Sandler comedy, but Zagar’s presence as director and the grounded logline hint at something closer to a drama. Could this be Sandler staying serious after the huge praise he garnered for Uncut Gems? Let’s hope so.