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Adam Sandler Explains The One Part He Messed Up While Trash Talking In Hustle

In the new Netflix Adam Sandler drama "Hustle," Sandler plays basketball-scout-turned-hopeful-coach Stanley Sugarman, a man whose career hopes come to hinge on the discovery of an undeniable new talent. He finds that talent in unknown player Bo Cruz (real-life player Juancho Hernangómez), a kind-hearted single dad with a troubled legal past. Sugarman works to help Cruz meet his potential and overcome a sizable array of hurdles to get drafted into the NBA in a wonderful new sports drama with stellar central performances.

One of the film's most charming sequences sees Sugarman teach Cruz, a talented streetballer with no formal competitive basketball experience, how to keep cool against the inevitable trash talk one sees on the court. It's a hilarious scene, with Sandler spitting a barrage of insults at Hernangómez in an attempt to make the latter's confidence unshakable. In a new interview with Looper's sister site SlashFilm, the pair reveal there was one unfortunate little catch. It turns out that Sandler's Spanish language barbs didn't quite hit in the way he intended. 

Always make sure your insults work in cultural context

According to Hernangómez, the scene saw Sandler improvise "a lot," which Sandler immediately clarified: "Well, we had some improv going at all times because [Hernangómez is] a very loose guy, and funny, and we loved each other."

The scene works well because of the pair's clear chemistry, and the insults have an organic, easy feel to them — that is, until Sandler's character, Stanley Sugarman, pulls out prepared insults in the Spanish language. "The Spanish, I had that written down, I have to admit," he says. "When I had [to] talk nasty in Spanish, and try to insult him, they were all written earlier. [To Juancho] I remember one time I said something to you in Spanish and you go, 'That's Mexican.'"

The insults were in the Spanish language, but cultural context is everything when it comes to idioms making sense, so the phrases didn't work as intended. As Juancho Hernangómez (who, like his character Bo Cruz, hails from Spain) explains, "He tried to find, like, trash talk in Spanish, and he just starts [doing] Mexican [trash talk], he was so funny. I said, 'That's not Spanish, it doesn't even bother me. We don't say that in Spain.'"

It just goes to show that, when finding insults in a language that's widely spoken across multiple continents (for any reason, really, from the professional to the personal), make sure your chosen barbs actually work for your interlocutor and in the proper cultural context. Hopefully, one day, we'll see a set of "contextually meaningless insult reel" outtakes on Netflix.

"Hustle" is now available for streaming on Netflix.