Adam Sandler and Queen Latifah are on-screen spouses in Netflix’s sports drama film Hustle, which showcases some of the pitfalls that come with success.
Centered in the City of Brotherly Love, Hustle takes viewers through the grit and grind of the hustle of life throughout the streets of Philadelphia as a basketball scout (Adam Sandler) attempts to mold an international basketball sensation into the next NBA superstar.
Shadow and Act recently spoke to Latifah, Sandler, Juancho Hernangomez and director Jeremiah Zagar about the film.
As a Philly native, Zagar was intentional about including extra details that immerse the audience into the place that he is fortunate to call home.
“There were details that were very important for me to add that I was hoping would make it true to Philadelphia,” Zagar told us. “[The] little things like the locations and where they’re playing basketball, right in front of Pat’s and Gino’s, in that lit-up court– there were places that I knew that I wanted to shoot in my whole life that I got to put in this movie. And so that was pretty thrilling.”
The film comes to life through a storyline that tugs on the hearts of many as it explores the importance of family, sacrifice and the grind– all while encouraging folks to hustle for the life that they want.
Sandler and Latifah embody the perseverance that often goes into the hustle and bustle of life throughout the film. Together, the pair takes those watching on a journey of the type of commitment it takes to mold an upcoming NBA superstar, all while keeping the family first.
“We often see the star, who’s out front, or whose picture is out there, but we don’t see what it took to get them there,” Latifah said. “All of the hours of practice, meals prepared, all of the tears…along the way. You don’t see that all the time, but many hours go into making someone successful or just convincing them to believe that they can be. So I think this movie does a really good job of displaying that and showing [that] sometimes, you have to make sacrifices in order to achieve those goals.”
Sacrifices like those made by her on-screen husband in the film, Stanley, who is portrayed by Sandler. At one point during the story, he makes a decision to walk away from it all in order to really go after the life he desires for himself– one where he isn’t always on the road missing the best moments that life has to offer.
“I think that me walking away in that moment and saying ‘You’re not gonna believe in me? I’m gonna have to believe in myself. That comes from my wife just giving me the confidence and the support and the idea to say ‘You don’t gotta take that, you gotta know what you’re capable of,” Sandler shared. “So just go after it and get it.’ That happens in real life. Sometimes you just gotta go and say ‘Alright, I gotta get around you and go after what I dream.'”
Throughout 'Hustle,' we witness Sandler's Stanley work overtime to help fulfill the dream of Bo Cuz (Hernangomez), whose definition of hustle might be different than the average person.
“[It’s about] hustling for your family, not just in basketball,” said Hernangomez. “I mean hustling is his life. He tried to make his dream come true at 16, but had to give up that dream to raise a child. He has hustled all his life. He grew up without a father, he hustles for his family, for his mom, for his daughter.”
However, much like Sandler’s character, his hustle is all about giving something up or letting things go in order to have the life he’s destined for, a message that he hopes resonates with those watching.
“To be honest, life is hard, everybody has ups and downs, we are all the same,” Hernangomez continued. “I got my ups and my downs, but you gotta just keep going, keep working and keep trusting. Be around people who trust you and help to motivate you. That’s how it goes. When you are in those high moments, you gotta keep working because you never know what can happen tomorrow.”
Hustle is now streaming on Netflix.