Adam Sandler's latest high-stakes basketball drama Hustle is now streaming on Netflix, with some calling this his best role since 2019's Uncut Gems.

The movie follows unlucky NBA scout Stan Sugerman (Sandler) as he discovers Spanish basketball standout Bo Cruz (real-life Utah Jazz star Juancho Hernangomez) and the duo risk everything to bring him to the Philadelphia 76ers. The film also stars Queen Latifah and Robert Duvall.

While Sandler, Latifah, and Duvall aren’t really in need of acting coaches at this point in their careers, Hernangomez and other NBA icons seen through the movie did need a little help. She may not be seen onscreen, but a lot of Hustle's heart may not have been possible without former Albany High School teacher Noelle Gentile.

Noelle Gentile
Noelle Gentile
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Reported by the Times Union, the Capital Region native and ex-drama teacher at Albany High School previously worked with Hustle’s director Jeremiah Zagar’s breakout independent film We the Animals almost a decade ago. Gentile helped cast and coach the children in the starring roles. Zagar says Noelle,

“is a whisperer, a teacher and confidant who makes everyone around her better.”

When Zagar was tapped to direct Hustle, produced by Sandler under his Happy Madison Productions house and NBA royalty LeBron James, he brought on Gentile as the acting coach for all players represented in the movie and helping them stick the landing from basketball to acting.

Scott Yamano/Netflix
Scott Yamano/Netflix
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Juancho Hernangomez, Minnesota Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards, Inside the NBA host Kenny Smith, and NBA legend Julius “Dr. J” Irving were just some of the household names Noelle coached, and all gave glowing praise for the Albany resident, with Hernangomez saying,

"Noelle has been my daily inspiration to be better: a better actor, and more importantly, a better person.”

Expect plenty more of Noelle’s work on screens of every size: she’s an acting coach on Disney+ exclusive Chang Can Dunk out in 2023, has been attached to another Happy Madison production filming in Toronto, another LeBron James produced picture, and Zagar’s next release.

5 Independent Movie Theaters Around Albany, NY

Going to the movies is something many of us were longing for during the pandemic. Let's not forget in addition to the big multi-plex theaters, there are some mom and pops out there still struggling to make it. Here are a couple you can hit up in the Capital Region.