Leachman, Fichtner also ink for Sandler pic

James Cromwell will portray the sadistic warden in the Paramount/Sony remake of “The Longest Yard,” starring opposite Adam Sandler, Burt Reynolds and Chris Rock.

Cloris Leachman has signed to play the warden’s secretary and William Fichtner has joined the cast for the pic, being produced by Sandler’s Happy Madison Prods. and MTV Films. Gary Oldman had been in negotiations for the warden part, portrayed by Eddie Albert in the original 1974 pic.

Cromwell will next be seen in Fox’s “I, Robot.”

Production on “Yard” will begin in mid-July at the Old State Penitentiary in New Mexico, with Peter Segal directing a script by Sheldon Turner. Sandler is producing with Happy Madison partner Jack Giarraputo, MTV Films prexy Van Toffler and exec VP David Gale. Par exec VP Brian Witten is overseeing the project.

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