Meeting Adam Sandler Convinced Christopher McDonald To Accept Happy Gilmore’s Villain Role

The truth is that Christopher McDonald didn’t want to play Shooter McGavin, at all. In a 2011 interview with The AV Club, the actor admitted that he initially turned the role down, more than once. As McDonald said:

“I turned that movie down twice. I had seen Adam [Sandler] in a movie called ‘Billy Madison’ and I’d seen him on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and I thought he was funny … But I turned it down because I was really tired. I’d just done two movies back-to-back in Vancouver. But they said, ‘They’d really like for you to play this Shooter McGavin guy.’ And I’m, like, ‘Ugh, it’s another bad guy. I don’t wanna do that.'”

After turning down the role, McDonald took to the links where he won a tournament. It left him thinking that a golf movie might be a lot of fun, so he made arrangements to meet with Adam Sandler. “And within 15 minutes, I knew I had to do this movie,” McDonald said of his meeting with the Sandman. “Because this man was absolutely sick and funny and very smart, very, very smart. And that’s when I decided it would be a really good idea to do it.”

It ended up being McDonald’s most notable role ever. More than two decades later he’s still referred to as the “‘Happy Gilmore’ Villain.” It’s safe to say that of the hundreds of roles that McDonald has played since his 1978 debut in the CBS made-for-TV movie “Getting Married,” no other role impacted his life and career as much as Shooter McGavin.

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