CULVER CITY, California — In what is likely to be the smallest backfield former NFL linebackers Brian Bosworth and Bill Romanowski have ever faced, Nelly will play the running back to Adam Sandler’s quarterback in the upcoming remake of “The Longest Yard.”
Fortunately, Sandler’s team of inmates, who take on a team of prison guards, will have an NFL star of their own in former Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin, as well as quite a few studs from another sport.
“A lot of wrestlers — [Eric 'Extreme'] Goldberg, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash — [will face off against the prison guards],” Sandler said Friday at the office of his Happy Madison production company. “I’d say 98 percent of the cast can beat the sh– out of me. Cloris Leachman is the only one I could take.”
Veteran actress Leachman, who also co-stars in Sandler’s other upcoming movie, “Spanglish” , will play the secretary for the prison’s sadistic warden, played by James Cromwell.
“Do you know who’s awesome who’s in it?” Sander adds. “David Patrick Kelly from ‘The Warriors’ — the guy who clicks the bottles.”
Chris Rock also joins Sandler and Nelly on the prisoner’s team, which Burt Reynolds, who played the Sandler part in the 1974 original, is coaching. “He was nice enough to say, ‘Go ahead, young man, throw a football,’ ” Sandler said.
Snoop Dogg was also hoping to co-star, but will be on the road with Linkin Park and Korn during filming.
The cast, which also includes Terry Crews (“White Chicks”) and William Fichtner (“Pearl Harbor”), is convening next week in New Mexico to shoot the movie under the guidance of “50 First Dates”/”Anger Management” director Peter Segal. “The Longest Yard” will be released Memorial Day weekend in 2005, Sandler said.
Meanwhile, Sandler’s production company is midway through shooting the sequel to Rob Schneider’s “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,” tentatively titled “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.”
“There’s a lot of titles being tossed around, ‘Deuce Bigalow: The Passion of the Mangina’ is one,” Sander said. “Schnieder’s over in Amsterdam right now, hopefully not eating too much hash and making his movie.”
Sandler’s fifth album, Shhh … Don’t Tell, will be released this week. The first single, the techno song “Secret,” is climbing the dance music charts.
“In Florida, they play that stuff a lot and I was visiting my mom and dad and I was driving in the car and listening to that style of music,” Sandler said. “I called my machine and I said, ‘Gotta do a song like this.’ ”