Christopher MacDonald, who plays Shooter McGavin – Gilmore’s enemy – in the film, told CNN Living golfer Shane O’Donoghue.
The film was a moderate success in its opening weekend, taking second place at the US box office and grossing $8.5 million.
Now, the popularity of reruns compiled in the form of nostalgia has revived intergenerational enthusiasm for the film, something MacDonald says is evidence of good writing and timeless comedy.
He is not mistaken. The colorful characters of Happy Gilmore live through a new generation of golfers.
In a video posted by golf maker Titleist, Zalatoris showed he had a quote from the movie’s scene and its likeness stamped on his wedge.
great white shark
Just like Gilmore is Shooter McGavin, a seasoned country club pro who has become his archenemy.
Known for his celebrity glam appearances and ego-driven ambition, MacDonald says he modeled McGavin on Greg Norman, one of his favorite golfers at the time. “Norman is also one of those guys who bore himself kind of a bad ass,” he told CNN.
While McGavin is clearly far less successful than Norman in his golf endeavors, both players are also known for their runner-up finals, of which the Australian golfer is best known for 31.
“Everyone loves to hate villains”
It was the opportunity to play a comedic villain that initially attracted MacDonald to the role. “All your creativity and synapses are on fire at all times…because you can get away with it,” he says.
Despite being the bad guy, the McDonald’s character has gained immense popularity over the years.
MacDonald says bringing smiles to fans’ faces has been especially rewarding during the pandemic. “If you can change someone’s day, you’ve accomplished something.”
He manages to generate enthusiasm for the film wherever he goes, particularly attracting attention at popular sporting events as fans ask him to recreate McGavin’s indelible celebration of the shooting.
“It made the character type iconic, which is cool,” he says. “Everyone loves to hate a villain.”
Ryder Cup-themed sequel
Before he was cast in the role, MacDonald had just wrapped up the sci-fi thriller Unforgettable with Ray Liotta.
“I was away from my kids who were very young at the time, and I was ready to go home,” he says. But after reading the text, he didn’t need to be persuaded, saying he knew it would be ‘an idiot to refuse this.
While appearing on “The Dan Patrick Show” on The Golf Channel in February, they were asked about the possibility of a “Happy Gilmore” sequel. “It’s going to be absolutely amazing,” Sandler told Patrick, while his fellow actor gave his thumbs up in approval.
Proudly honoring his Irish heritage, MacDonald suggested to CNN that a sequel to the Ryder Cup could be recreated in the Bell Tower. “It’s going to be really funny, and I hope they write it down,” he says.
“The actor gets five great roles in his life, unless you’re Tom Cruise,” he adds. “I knocked one off the top because of ‘Happy Gilmore’, because it was such a pivotal and rewarding experience for me.”