Quentin Tarantino is, without a doubt, a talented filmmaker known for casting some of the best in the business. Now, we have confirmation we almost got a Tarantino collab with The Sandman himself, Adam Sandler.
While appearing on Bill Maher’s Club Random podcast alongside Judd Apatow, the trio got into a conversation about Inglourious Basterds. More specifically, they dove into the rumors that Adam Sandler was once set to star in the film.
Tarantino finally gave fans confirmation of the long-standing rumor that he wrote the role of Sergeant Donny’ The Bear Jew’ Donowitz for Sandler originally. The only problem was that Judd Apatow was already starting to film Funny People with Sandler.
During the chat, Apatow says his film Funny People and Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds were set to film around the same time. Still, he claims he had no idea about the casting choice, as Sandler already agreed to star in Funny People a whole year and a half before production.
Tarantino goes on to say he understood the reasoning but did have full intention to use Sandler. “Obviously, he should’ve done yours because of the whole thing of it. I mean, you start with the fucking video cassette of you guys as kids. But yeah, the Bear Jew was going to… I wrote the Bear Jew for Adam Sandler,” says Tarantino.
Tarantino adds, “When I was doing Little Nicky, he’s telling me like, ‘Oh man, I get to fucking beat up Nazis with a bat? Fucking awesome! I can’t fucking wait!’. He was like telling every Jewish guy, ‘I’m going to fucking play this guy who beats up Nazis with a fucking bat.'”
Sadly, there was basically no way around it, and Tarantino claims he was strapped for ideas on who to cast. “Here’s the problem. [Judd] wrapped up all the good Jews [for ‘Funny People‘]. That was the problem, jokes Tarantino.
“Seth Rogen and all the good Jews were doing Funny People. I’m killing Hitler with baseball bats, and there are no good Jews available! David Krumholtz, nobody! All the good Jews were all wrapped up! I’m doing the Jewish male fantasy!”
The Pulp Fiction director would look towards his group of friends for the role and eventually cast fellow director Eli Roth in the role of The Bear Jew. Roth would even direct the “film-within-the-film” Nation’s Pride, which was a central part of the Inglourious Basterds plot.
Inglourious Basterds became one of Tarantino’s biggest modern successes, grossing $321.5 million worldwide from a $70 million budget and winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Funny People did not fare as well, making only $71.6 million worldwide with mixed reviews.