Original Casting Choice For Inglourious Basterds’ Bear Jew Was Nothing a Tarantino Fan Could Expect

Original Casting Choice For Inglourious Basterds’ Bear Jew Was Nothing a Tarantino Fan Could Expect
Image credit: A Band Apart, Zehnte Babelsberg

Eli Roth, who eventually portrayed the baseball-bat-wielding member of Basterds, wasn't the first choice for the role.

Quentin Tarantino 's 2009 war film Inglourious Basterds was a notable addition to his body of work for a number of reasons.

It was the first period piece in the filmmaker's career, set in an alternate 1940s in the midst of World War II, with all of Tarantino's subsequent films set in different time periods.

It also featured a completely new cast, unlike the director's other works, which often include familiar faces such as Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, and several others.

But perhaps the most important thing about Inglourious Basterds is that it launched the career of Christoph Waltz, who brilliantly portrayed Colonel Hans Landa, to international fame and opened the doors to Hollywood for the actor.

However, the film could have used another face familiar to many moviegoers in a very unusual role.

During a conversation on the Club Random podcast, Tarantino revealed that Sergeant Donny Donowitz, or "The Bear Jew," portrayed by Eli Roth, was originally intended to be played by none other than Adam Sandler himself.

While the two were working on the 2000 comedy Little Nicky, in which Sandler starred as the son of Satan and Tarantino made a cameo appearance as a blind deacon, they discussed the character of Donny Donowitz, and Adam could hardly contain his excitement.

Unfortunately, a scheduling conflict prevented the actor from taking on the role of "The Bear Jew," as Sandler was already busy with the black comedy-drama Funny People, which was released the same year as Inglourious Basterds in 2009.

Although Eli Roth did a great job portraying the character, it is a shame that we were robbed of the opportunity to see Adam Sandler as a baseball-bat-wielding badass cracking Nazi skulls.

After all, although he mostly stars in comedies, the actor can shine in more serious projects, take 2019's crime thriller Uncut Gems as an example.

Curiously, another mostly comedic actor, Mike Myers, also appeared in Inglourious Basterds as General Ed Fenech and absolutely nailed it.

Quentin Tarantino's presumably final film, The Movie Critic, is expected to premiere sometime in 2024, although a specific date hasn't been announced.

Do you think Adam Sandler would have been great in the role?

Source: Club Random podcast