Quentin Tarantino confirmed a long-standing rumor regarding Adam Sandler and “Inglourious Basterds” during his latest appearance on Bill Maher’s “Club Random” podcast. Joined by host Maher and co-interviewee Judd Apatow, Tarantino finally went on record saying he wrote the role of Sergeant Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz for Sandler. Apatow had already locked Sandler in to filming “Funny People,” however, which means Tarantino’s Sandler dream never got realized.
“[Judd and I ] met each other through Adam Sandler during the time that I did ‘Little Nicky,'” said Tarantino, referring to his cameo in Sandler’s 2000 comedy. “I was like hanging out with that crew for a while. We went to a bunch of different things together. But also ‘Freaks and Geeks’ had just went off the air or it was on its way to go off the air and I had missed it, but that whole ‘Happy Madison’ crowd was like crazy for it.”
“I feel bad because when I did ‘Funny People’ with Sandler, I wasn’t aware that that was the exact time you were trying to use him for ‘Inglorious Basterds,'” Apatow cut in.
“Obviously he should’ve done yours because of the whole thing of it,” Tarantino replied. “I mean, you start with the fucking video cassette of you guys as kids. But yeah, the Bear Jew was going to…I wrote the Bear Jew for Adam Sandler. When I was doing ‘Little Nicky,’ he’s telling me like, “Oh man, I get to fucking beat up Nazis with a bat? Fucking script! Fucking awesome! I can’t fucking wait! I can’t fucking wait!” He was like telling every Jewish guy, “I’m going to fucking play this guy who beats up Nazis with a fucking bat.'”
Tarantino and Apatow were looking to film their movies at the exact same time, and Apatow already got Sandler to agree to star in “Funny People” a year and a half before the start of production. Sandler wouldn’t be able to star in “Inglourious Basterds,” but finding a replacement wasn’t so easy for Tarantino.
“Here’s the problem. [Judd] wrapped up all the good Jews [for ‘Funny People’],” Tarantino said. “That was the problem. Seth Rogen and all the good Jews were doing ‘Funny People.’ I’m killing Hitler with baseball bats and there’s no good Jews available! David Krumholtz, nobody! All the good Jews were all wrapped up! I’m doing the Jewish male fantasy!”
Tarantino ultimately cast his longtime friend Eli Roth in the role. Maher’s full “Club Random” podcast episode with Tarantino and Apatow will be available Dec. 18.