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THE LONGEST YARD

About The Characters
Forming the backbone of the Mean Machine are Paul Crewe, the quarterback, played by Adam Sandler; right-hand-man Caretaker, played by Chris Rock; the coach, Nate Scarborough, played by Burt Reynolds; and running back Megget, played by rap star Nelly, who makes his major motion picture debut. 

Leading the way at quarterback is Paul "Wrecking” Crewe. Crewe gets himself kicked out of the league for shaving points, then gets himself kicked into prison for taking police on a wild joyride.

Adam Sandler, whose lifetime domestic box-office take is over $1 billion, plays Crewe. Hated by the prison population for his role in a point-shaving scandal (he's even called "Unamerican!”), Crewe just wants to serve his time, keep to himself, and get out. The warden immediately dashes that plan.

"When Crewe gets to prison, football is the last thing on his mind,” says director Peter Segal. "It's part of his bitter past. So, when he's recruited by the warden, he doesn't want anything to do with it. But even though he's forced into it, he's given a second chance to get some respect for the game – and that becomes something meaningful for his fellow inmates, his band of criminals and misfits.” 

Segal says Sandler is just the guy to step into Burt Reynolds's shoes. "When Burt Reynolds played the part, he was a sex god,” says Segal. "He was the best-looking man on the planet and the world's biggest star. That's intimidating, but Adam grabbed that and really made the role his own. He's as funny as ever, but he also shows a gritty side to himself. He's going to surprise a lot of people.” 

Crewe's right-hand man is Caretaker, a man with connections to the outside world. "Caretaker is the guy who has the prison wired,” explains Giarraputo. "He can get you anything, introduce you to anybody. He's a perfect friend to have on the inside.” To play the part, the filmmakers turned to Chris Rock, marking the first time the former "Saturday Night Live” officemates have worked together on a feature film. Giarraputo says that Rock was the perfect guy to play the part. "Sandler's wanted to work with Rock since the ‘SNL' days. When he saw how the role of Caretaker was shaping up, he thought Chris would be perfect. He comes to the set ready, with so many good ideas – he's a great guy to work with.”

"Chris Rock helps bring this classic to a new generation,” says Segal.

"I've been friends with Adam Sandler for 18, 19 years,” Rock notes. "We even shared an office for three years when we were on ‘Saturday Night Live.' But this is the first time we've ever really worked together.”

Despite the fact that he's the only cast member who doesn't get to suit up, Rock says he doesn't feel like he missed out. "No football for me,” he says. "Romanowski, Bosworth – those guys' necks are thicker than my leg. I want no part of them. I don't need to get smacked in the head by Romanowski. Dalip is the biggest guy out there – I bet that my hand feels to him like my daughter's hand feels to me.” 

That said, the award-winning comedian doesn't deny that he felt the competitive spirit: "Adam Sandler is really funny in this movie,” he says. "I had to bring it.”

Before assembling the rest of the cast, Giarraputo and Sandler approached Burt Reynolds, who played quarterback Paul Crewe in the original film. Reynolds takes the part of coach Nate Scarborough, a former Sooner and now inmate. Though his playing days are long past, Scarborough contributes a lifetime of football knowledge. Similarly, Reynolds' experience was an invaluable resource for the filmmakers. "Burt's the heart and soul of this movie,” says Giarraputo. "It was an immense help to have him on the set – he let us know how things went the first time around.”

The 1974 film of "The Longest Yard” was a breakout hit. How did it feel for Reynolds – one o

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