Thursday, November 3, 2011
Updated: November 4, 9:53 PM ET
Rex Ryan in Adam Sandler movie
By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rex Ryan isn't willing to guarantee an Oscar for his minor role in an upcoming Adam Sandler movie, but his performance is sure to turn the heads of New York Jets' fans.
In the movie, which multiple outlets are reporting will be called "I Hate You, Dad," the Jets coach plays a Boston-based lawyer, who, of course, is also a die-hard New England Patriots fan.
Ryan's lines in the movie feature him talking about Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, real-life rivals on the field whom he seems to obsess about daily -- mostly in a joking manner.
"I'm very fond of them," Ryan said Friday, referring to Brady and Belichick. "I do respect them, but that was what was so fun about it. When I read [the script], I was like, 'Oh my gosh!' But it was great. It was a lot of fun being on that set.
"I will say this, it's way more work than I thought it would be. I just thought you're gonna go in there, rattle off a couple lines and that's gonna be it. But when they said, 'Oh yeah. Shoot that again.' I'm just like, 'What, are you kidding me?' Now I know how the players feel when we say, 'Run that play again.' But it was a blast. Adam's a really funny guy all the time, even off the set. It was a great experience."
The reaction from Ryan's players was funny, to say the least.
"Anytime they put an amateur in a movie, they just give him an easy role, something that's natural to him," safety Jim Leonhard said. "And I think it's pretty obvious over the last couple years he's proven to be a big Patriots fan and a Tom Brady fan and Belichick fan so they just gave him what he knows. ... He really doesn't have to go out of character pretty much, and I'm pretty sure he's probably Rex Ryan in the movie. He [probably] didn't even get a fake name."
Said defensive lineman Sione Pouha: "I'm sure his acting side is coming out. I've done a couple commercials with him. It's no surprise he's venturing out a bit. It's kind of cool."
Asked what he thinks about how Jets fans will react, Leonhard said: "I mean they'll just get a laugh out of it, I hope. I hope it's funny, at least. Otherwise, he's kind of a sellout for money. But I hope he's at least funny. I'm not gonna judge it until I see it and see his performance."
Said Pouha: "I'm not sure. We'll see what happens. It'll bring a lot of grins, that's for sure."
Sandler grew up, and remains, a die-hard Jets fan.
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.