Hustle is a 2022 American sports drama film directed by Jeremiah Zagar, from a screenplay by Taylor Materne and Will Fetters. The film stars Adam Sandler as an NBA scout who discovers a raw but talented player in Spain (Juancho Hernangómez) and tries to prepare him for the NBA draft. Current Minnesota Timberwolves player Anthony Edwards plays the main antagonist, Kermit Wilts. Queen Latifah, Ben Foster, Robert Duvall, and Heidi Gardner also star, while LeBron James acts as producer through his SpringHill Company banner.
Hustle was released by Netflix on June 3, 2022. It premiered to critical acclaim, with Sandler’s performance singled out for praise.
‘Hustle’ Cast & Character Guide
- Adam Sandler as Stanley Sugerman, a scout and coach for the 76ers
- Queen Latifah as Teresa Sugerman, Stanley Sugerman’s wife
- Ben Foster as Vince Merrick, Rex’s son and 76ers co-owner
- Juancho Hernangómez as Bo Cruz, Stanley’s basketball player recruit from Spain
- Silas Graham as young Bo Cruz
- Robert Duvall as Rex Merrick, Vince’s father and 76ers owner
- Jordan Hull as Alex Sugerman, Stanley’s daughter
- Heidi Gardner as Kat Merrick, Rex’s daughter
- María Botto as Paola Cruz, Bo’s mother
- Ainhoa Pillet as Lucia Cruz, Bo’s daughter
- Anthony Edwards as Kermit Wilts, a player and rival to Bo
- Kenny Smith as Leon Rich, a sports agent and Stanley’s friend
- Fat Joe as himself
- Jaleel White as Blake
Several current and former NBA players and coaches portray themselves or other characters. Trae Young, Jordan Clarkson, Khris Middleton, Aaron Gordon, Kyle Lowry, Seth Curry, Luka Doncic, Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, Aaron McKie, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Dirk Nowitzki, Brad Stevens, Doc Rivers, Dave Joerger, Mark Jackson, Sergio Scariolo, José Calderón, Leandro Barbosa, Álex Abrines and Maurice Cheeks portray themselves, while Boban Marjanovic plays the “Big Serbian” and Moritz Wagner the German “Haas”. Street ball legends Grayson “The Professor” Boucher, Larry “Bone Collector” Williams, and Waliyy “Main Event” Dixon appear. Felipe Reyes, Piere Oriola and Juancho’s brother Willy Hernangómez appear as members of the Spanish national team.
Adam Sandler as Stanley Sugerman
You know him, you love him, you’ve seen him in movies like Murder Mystery, The Ridiculous 6, Grown Ups, Hubie Halloween, Happy Gilmore and many, many more: Please join us in welcoming the great Adam Sandler to the court! Sandler plays Stanley Sugerman, a basketball scout for the Philadelphia 76ers who discovers a hotshot Spanish streetball player with a checkered history. As the pair bond over their passion for family and basketball, they find themselves struggling to make it out on top of the heated NBA draft competition. For Sandler, this is a deeply personal role: The man’s love of basketball is well-documented.
Queen Latifah as Teresa Sugerman
She’s a film and music icon, but the 5-foot-10 Latifah also made a name for herself in high school as a power forward on her school’s basketball team. You may have seen her performances in Girls Trip, Last Holiday, Beauty Shop, Bringing Down the House or her Oscar-nominated turn in Chicago. She’ll next be appearing in the upcoming Netflix thriller End of the Road. Here, she plays Stanley’s steadfast (and foul-mouthed) wife Teresa.
Juancho Hernangómez as Bo Cruz
Up until Hustle, the Madrid-born Hernangómez wasn’t interested in acting. But his turn as untrained streetball player Bo Cruz is one of the dramatic linchpins in Hustle. It’s a convincing and wholly engaged performance. Hernangómez has been a professional basketball player for NBA teams like the Denver Nuggets, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Utah Jazz, on which he’s currently a forward. If Hustle is anything to go on, however, Hernangómez may have an additional career path open to him.
Kenny Smith as Leon Rich
The former NBA star and current sports commentator plays sports agent Leon Rich, Stanley’s best friend. Smith was surprised to get the call from Sandler to play the role. “He sends me the script, and I’m looking through it. I call him back and I’m like, ‘I don’t see my name.’ He’s like, ‘You’re Leon.’ I’m like, ‘Leon’s got, like, 30 pages of dialogue, bro. I’ve never acted,’ ” Smith said. “He’s like, ‘No, you’ll be great at it. Don’t worry. We’ll get you an acting coach. I just know you’re great for the part.’ ”
Anthony Edwards as Kermet Wilts
That’s right, Hustle has Ant-Man in its corner. No, not that Ant-Man — rather, rising basketball star Anthony Edwards. He plays the film’s antagonist Kermet Wilts, a formidable player who faces Cruz down on and off the court. This isn’t the first time Edwards and Hernangómez have shared a stage; they previously played alongside one another on the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Jordan Hull as Alex Sugerman
Hull is the rookie of the Hustle team, a 19-year-old performer previously known for her work on Showtime’s L Word sequel The L Word: Generation Q. Hull plays Sandler and Latifah’s Evil Dead-loving teenage daughter.
Ben Foster as Vincent Merrick
Foster has spent the past few years carving out a space for himself as a truly intense character actor: His performances in Hell or High Water, Hostiles and Warcraft see Foster letting his freak flag fly, chewing scenery and stealing scenes with abandon. In Hustle, Foster plays Stanley’s boss Vincent, a slightly more subtle role than his usual fare. Still, this isn’t nearly as quiet as Foster’s work in something like Debra Granik’s melancholy Leave No Trace. He still sneaks in a little bit of manic energy.
Heidi Gardner as Katherine Merrick
The scene-stealing Saturday Night Live star plays Vincent’s sister, an ally to Stanley who just doesn’t seem to have enough time to help out with the team. She’s also appeared as a judge on Is It Cake? For more Philly-flavored Gardner, her SNL character “Every Boxer’s Girlfriend from Every Movie About Boxing Ever” is always a delight.
Robert Duvall as Rex Merrick
Duvall, who plays the owner of the 76ers, is the venerable legend of the Hustle cast. From his first roles in ’70s classics like Network, The Conversation, and The Godfather saga to his later appearances in 21st-century gems like Get Low and Widows, Duvall remains one of the most reliable actors around. He won a best actor Oscar for 1983’s Tender Mercies, but, if you’re in the mood for more sporty Duvall, his admirably committed work in the Will Ferrell soccer comedy Kicking & Screaming will probably do the trick.
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