When Quentin Tarantino first announced he was working on a "men on a mission" World War II movie called "Inglorious Bastards" (no one knew he would intentionally misspell the title at the time), the internet went into fan casting overdrive. What would a 2000s version of Robert Aldrich's "The Dirty Dozen" directed by Tarantino look like? Is Bruce Willis in the Lee Marvin role? Robert Forster as Robert Ryan? Some athlete-turned-actor (Mike Tyson?) taking up Jim Brown's mantle?
As we've learned is often the case with Tarantino, the vaguely pitched project never lands anywhere close to fan expectations. Once the two-time Academy Award winner sits down to bang out the screenplay, it takes on a convention-bending life of its own. Tarantino may adore "The Dirty Dozen" (or Brian Hutton's "Kelly's Heroes" or J. Lee Thompson's "The Guns of Navarone" or, y'know, Enzo G. Castellari's "Inglorious Bastards"), but there will be no fan service. You're not going to get what you want.
Nor will Tarantino. At least not when he has his eye on Adam Sandler for the role of Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz.
Judd Apatow Inadvertently Cast The Bear Jew
During an appearance on Bill Maher's "Club Random" podcast, Quentin Tarantino revealed that he had his sights set awfully high for the character renowned for bashing in the heads of Nazis. It's long been rumored that QT wrote Donowitz for Adam Sandler, but he waited until he was sharing a microphone with Judd Apatow to confirm this — because, after all, it was Apatow who kiboshed the casting. Per Tarantino:
"I wrote the Bear Jew for Adam Sandler. When I was doing 'Little Nicky,' he's telling me like, 'Oh man, I get to f****** beat up Nazis with a bat? F****** script! F****** awesome! I can't f****** wait! I can't f****** wait!' He was like telling every Jewish guy, 'I'm going to f****** play this guy who beats up Nazis with a f****** bat.'"
This was 2000, a good nine years before Tarantino would get around to making "Inglourious Basterds." The filmmaker's procrastination cost him dearly. Apatow beat him to the Sandler punch with his passion project "Funny People," which was based in part on his experience as a struggling stand-up comic while sharing an apartment with the Sandman.
Finding a replacement proved just as hard for Tarantino. "Here's the problem," he told Maher. "[Judd] wrapped up all the good [Jewish actors for 'Funny People']. That was the problem. Seth Rogen and all the good [Jewish actors] were doing 'Funny People.'"
Fortunately for Tarantino, his filmmaking protege, Eli Roth, was plenty Jewish and quite good in front of a camera. He took up Donny's bat and went Kevin Youkilis over the noggin of Nazis in Tarantino's World War II fantasy, so it all worked out. But if you say you don't want to see the alternate universe version of "Inglourious Basterds" with Adam Sandler as The Bear Jew, you are a liar.
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The post Quentin Tarantino Confirms The Bear Jew from Inglourious Basterds Was Originally Written for Adam Sandler appeared first on /Film.