Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Juancho Hernangomez Details The Hardest Part Of His Feature Debut In Hustle

Adam Sandler returns to full dramatic form in the Netflix feature "Hustle," the newest entry in his extensive set of collaborations with the streamer. Sandler plays basketball scout (and coach-aspirant) Stanley Sugarman, whose future rests on finding the next big undiscovered basketball talent. He discovers unknown basketball phenom Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangómez), and the pair work together to build the latter into the next big NBA star against all odds. It's an engaging feature with excellent lead performances and top-tier, high-energy basketball scenes.

"Hustle" is co-star Juancho Hernangómez's first feature outing, and with a stunning central performance you wouldn't know it. For a seasoned basketball player but relative film novice, one might imagine all sorts of the filmmaking process might provide some difficulty. Performance, blocking, stunt-work — acting is a complex and multifaceted art form. In an exclusive interview with Looper's sister site, Slashfilm, Juancho reveals the most difficult part of his time in "Hustle," and it isn't at all what one might expect.

Act, stretch, play, repeat

Of all the elements involved in performing in "Hustle," the parts Juancho Hernangómez found the most difficult to shoot were, somewhat ironically, the basketball sequences.

"For me, the most challenging parts were the basketball scenes," he explains. "It's kind of crazy, but I feel like they were really hard. Not just mentally, for my body, because you've got to warm up, do [the scene] five or six times, and then you've got to stop for 20, 30 minutes and do it again, and do it again for six, seven, eight hours. So, that really killed my body, that killed everything."

In the interview, Sandler chimes in to explain that Hernangómez would be "stretching all day long, warming up on the bike," perpetually keeping his muscles warm and ready to perform athletically. 

A typical feature film shoot involves production days landing somewhere north of 12 hours, each scene having a variable number of takes. With so many basketball sequences, that takes a strenuous toll. He notes that "that was the toughest part of the movie. I would rather do [scenes of] sitting at a table in a restaurant — more acting."

It might at first glance seem a little odd that a pro baller in his feature debut found basketball to be the most strenuous element of his filmmaking experience, but the unique requirements of a sports-centric film added a whole new set of considerations for Hernangómez.

"Hustle" is now available for streaming on Netflix.