Adam Sandler named his character in Hustle after his late father, Stanley Sandler, who died in 2003.
“I love basketball,” Sandler said at a recent Santa Barbara International Film Festival Cinema Society Q&A about his Netflix movie, Hustle. Sandler plays basketball scout Stanley Sugerman in the Jeremiah Zagar-directed dramedy about a down-on-his-luck scout who finds a promising player in Spain and vows to prove that they’re both worthy of the NBA.
It was a role he had a lot in common with, considering that his dad used to coach his sports teams as a kid.
“I named the character after my dad. My dad’s name was Stanley, and he was — he coached all my teams growing up. And he was really smooth the way he coached, my father, because he was stern. But you know, he just kind of pushed you to be as good as you could be at whatever you’re doing, and I just thought that was connected with this character that he just you know, and he just loved Bo Cruz he loved Juancho’s character, and he saw great things for his future, and he just wanted to push him in a way that kept him going and going — not too much,” Sandler said.
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“Like, my dad getting up at four in the morning and taking me somewhere to practice somewhere — just like my character, [he] didn’t even think about the time. He was just like, let’s go. Let’s get it done. It was so many mornings I would wake up in my house and my father was up before everybody, and he was ready to go, and he woke you, he goes, ‘Come on, let’s get out there. Let’s hit some baseballs,'” Sandler recalled. “So anyways, I connected a lot with this character my pop.”
Hustle is now streaming on Netflix.
Main Image: Adam Sandler courtesy of Santa Barbara International Film Festival