How ‘Happy Gilmore’ Landed Carl Weathers by Accident

Adam Sandler never would have thought to cast Apollo Creed as Chubbs
How ‘Happy Gilmore’ Landed Carl Weathers by Accident

In the wake of Carl Weathers’ passing, a lot of folks have been sharing stories about the beloved Rocky actor/former NFL player/budget-stew aficionado, including Adam Sandler and director Dennis Dugan, who both worked with Weathers on Happy Gilmore, the movie that proved that golf can be watchable, but only when it features crude jokes and random melees with elderly game-show hosts.  

In retrospect, it’s obvious that Weathers was the perfect choice to play Chubbs, the avuncular one-handed golf coach, but it turns out that Weathers’ casting was one big happy accident (pun unavoidable). As Dugan told The Hollywood Reporter, Weathers’ name only came up because the director was eager to cast Christopher McDonald as the film’s villain: Shooter McGavin.

When Dugan contacted McDonald’s rep, the agent suggested that he should consider auditioning one of her other clients for the role of Chubbs: Carl Weathers. Dugan questioned the idea of casting a “football player guy” as a former golf pro, but was told: “Yeah, but he really wants to read for it,” which Dugan interpreted to mean “read Carl, and I can get you Chris McDonald.”

So Dugan and company went along with the agent’s apparent quid pro quo, even though Sandler was similarly skeptical about casting one of the dudes from Predator as his cardigan-wearing mentor, telling Dugan, “Oh, man, I don’t know. I didn’t picture that.” But Weathers “killed it” at the audition, and, according to Dugan, was hired on the spot. 

Dugan went on to describe Weathers as a “charming, wonderful, sweet, nice guy” who was so humble that he didn’t even react badly when a crew member screwed up and sent him to “the holding area for the extras.” And if you think that’s not such a big deal, we’d like you to take three seconds and imagine how, say, Christian Bale would have reacted to that situation. 

This was far from the worst thing to happen to Weathers on the set of Happy Gilmore though. As the actor revealed in 2020, he seriously injured his back while filming Chubbs’ death scene, even suffering “excruciating pain” for years afterwards. 

Amazingly, Happy Gilmore wasn’t the only time that Weathers’ instincts vastly improved a comedy in spite of its creators’ original intentions. His iconic guest appearance on Arrested Development was first conceived of as a hacky parody of Rocky 3, featuring a similarly homoerotic beach scene starring Weathers and Tobias. 

But when creator Mitch Hurwitz spoke to Weathers about the gig, he was essentially embarrassed into calling off his planned pitch after Weathers immediately asked him: “It’s not just going to be a bunch of Rocky jokes is it?” Instead, Weathers suggested that the gag could be that he’s “really cheap.”

Meanwhile, Scott Baio was perfectly content to be subjected to a barrage of “Chachi” jokes. 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this). 


Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?