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The writers of the upcoming Netflix original film Hustle originally scheduled Adam Sandler’s character to scout basketball players over in China. However, Netflix later altered the script to keep the film’s plot away from Chinese cooperation.
“It was written originally that I find a player in China, and somehow, Netflix is not in China,” Sandler told Dan Patrick.
“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]. It was originally, ‘Find a player in China.'”
For background, Netflix is not available in China, apparently because of the country’s “regulatory environment.” But, as the Federalist notes, filmmakers often deliberately write scripts to include China and Chinese characters to capitalize on the lucrative Chinese box office. Thus, Hustle‘s writers — who are not under Netflix’s watch — had planned to involve Sandler’s character with China.
Say what you want about Netflix’s political biases, but it’s rare to see a company of this magnitude refuse to appease the Chinese government’s authoritarian commands.
Hollywood executive Chris Fenton, who wrote a book documenting why he regrets distributing American films in China, asked whether this “could be a new positive trend” to defend free speech.
— Chris Fenton (@TheDragonFeeder) August 30, 2021
Trend? I doubt it.
Later in the interview, Sandler told Patrick that — wait for it — LeBron James was the one who presented him the original script. Hustle is a joint production between Sandler’s Happy Madison films and LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment. As we know, James is very comfortable doing whatever China demands of him. So is John Cena. And the New York Times.
Though James is undoubtedly disappointed that Netflix decided to keep Hustle out of China, he remains one of the project’s producers.
To answer your final question: will the movie be any good? The answer is no. Have any of these Adam Sandler/Netflix films been worth a watch to this day?
Do you remember Hubie Halloween? Keep it that way.