The lovely, hilarious and charismatic comedian has been keeping audiences bursting in laughs ever since he has cracked mainstream entertainment. Born in Brooklyn, NY, in September of 1966, it may come as no surprise that Sandler was a shameless class clown who left his classmates in stitches and his teachers with a handful. Never considering to utilize his gift of humor to pursue a career, Sandler eventually realized his potential when at the age of 17 his brother encouraged him to take the stage at an amateur comedy competition. A natural at making the audience laugh, the aspiring comedian nurtured his talents while attending New York University and studying for a Fine Arts Degree. With early appearances on The Cosby Show and the MTV game show Remote Control providing the increasingly busy Sandler with a growing fan base, an early feature role coincided with his "discovery" by SNL cast member Dennis Miller at an L.A. comedy club. As the unfortunately named Shecky Moskowitz, his role as a struggling comedian in Going Overboard (1989) served as an interesting parallel to his actual career trajectory but did little to display his true comic talents.
It wasn't until SNL producers took Miller's praise to heart and hired the fledgling comic as writer on the program that Sandler's talents were truly set to shine. Frequent appearances as Opera Man and Canteen Boy soon elevated him to player status, and it wasn't long before Sandler was the toast of the SNL cast in the mid-'90s. While appearing in SNL and sharpening his feature skills in such efforts as Shakes the Clown (1991) and Coneheads (1993), Sandler signed a recording contract with Warner Bros., and the release of the Grammy-nominated They're All Gonna Laugh at You proved the most appropriate title imaginable as his career began to soar. Striking an odd balance between tasteless vulgarity and innocent charm, the album found Sandler gaining footing as an artist independent of the SNL universe and fueled his desire -- as numerous cast members had before him -- to strike out on his own. Though those who had attempted a departure for feature fame in the past had met with decidedly mixed results, Sandler's loyal and devoted fan base proved strong supporters of such early solo feature efforts as Billy Madison (1996) and, especially, Happy Gilmore (1996).
His mixture of grandma-loving sweetness and pure, unfiltered comedic rage continued with his role as a slow-witted backwoods mama's boy turned football superstar in The Waterboy (1998), and that same year found Sandler expanding his persona to more sensitive territory in The Wedding Singer. Perhaps his most appealing character up to that point, The Wedding Singer's combination of '80s nostalgia and a warmer, more personable persona found increasing support among those who had previously distanced themselves from his polarizing performances. Continuing to expand his repertoire with the action-oriented Bulletproof (1996) and the even more affectionate Big Daddy (1999), Sandler's Happy Madison production company scored big by producing such efforts as Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalo (1999), Little Nicky (2000), The Animal, and Joe Dirt (both 2001). In 2002, Sandler appeared busier than ever, and continued to surprise audiences with the announcement of the "Hanukkah Musical" 8 Crazy Nights, a re-imagining of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town titled simply Mr. Deeds, and a curious collaboration with director Paul Thomas Anderson entitled Punch-Drunk Love. In addition to his film work, Sandler's innovative web page (/http://www.adamsandler.com/) provides fans with numerous fun distractions in the form of video and personal messages to his fans. Returning to the screen opposite Jack Nicholson for the following year's Anger Management, the film seemed closer to Sandler's unhinged persona than his previous few efforts, though it got only a lukewarm reception from critics.
Adam Sandler: Inside The Actor's Studio
A dozen or so contest winners, a couple of publicists and a few other lucky guests are crammed into a megastar's recording studio, listening to one of the summer's hottest dance tracks.
The beat is infectious and consumes a few fans, who start dancing, rubbing their rears together and smiling.
"It's charting in the 20s on some of the club charts," a publicist whispers.
Suddenly, the multiplatinum voice behind the track launches out of his corner chair and busts into a spontaneous dance routine, squatting like he's on the toilet, gyrating his hands uncontrollably. It's not pretty.
Really, though, would you expect anything else from Adam Sandler?
The fans, who won a chance to barbecue with the comedian and hear his new album before it hits stores, are eating it up like the baked beans being served outside.
"Go, Adam! Go, Adam!"
This is Adam Sandler in his element.
With a dozen blockbusters under his belt, he's one of the world's biggest movie stars, but in his recording studio, goofing off, is where he really has a blast.
A few weeks earlier, on a sunny Monday afternoon, I stop by the offices of Sandler's production company, Happy Madison, named after "Happy Gilmore" and "Billy Madison."
Nick Goossen, one of the producers of Sandler's new album, leads me on a tour of the building, which is actually a house. Judy Garland stayed there, he says, when she shot movies on the old MGM lot, which now belongs to Sony.
The bedrooms have been converted to offices, where Sandler's staff is watching dailies of "Spanglish," which is shooting on the lot next door, and finalizing the script for a remake of "The Longest Yard" with Chris Rock and Sandler.
Many of Happy Madison's employees are also co-stars in Sandler's movies, like his old New York University roommate Allen Covert, most recently seen onscreen as 10 Second Tom in "50 First Dates."
Goosen, or "Goose" as Sandler calls him, takes me to his office to hear Shhh ... Don't Tell, Sandler's first album since 1999's Stan and Judy's Kid. Concert stubs from Coachella and the Strokes are tacked to the wall, and British rock blares from his computer. After a few seconds, however, it becomes apparent that it's not really British rock — it's Sandler paying homage to the Beatles.
The song is hilarious, like the rest of the album. By the end, my stomach literally hurt from laughing. This makes Sandler happy.
"I heard you listening over there. I heard a few chuckles coming out of you," he says as we pull up on the couches in his office. "That's good."
In person, Sandler is much like you might expect. He wears sweatpants and a T-shirt, talks in a lot of different voices and is always funny. He tells a lot of long stories that end in a punch line, after which he often adds, "There you go," as if he needs to punctuate them.
At the barbecue, Sandler provokes laughs by putting on an arrogant front. "They keep telling me how great I am; that's always fun," he says of the contest winners. "That's what I live for, just to sit with people who love me."
In reality, Sandler is surprisingly humble. He talks about his albums — which have sold millions on the strength of such classic sing-alongs as "The Chanukah Song," "The Thanksgiving Song," "The Lonesome Kicker," "Lunchlady Land" and "Red Hooded Sweatshirt" — as if anyone could've made them.
"I sing dirty language over [music] and hopefully some of it rhymes," Sandler says. He especially downplays his musical talents, including his guitar-playing abilities, learned from his father when he was a child. "I play a little [on Shhh ... Don't Tell], but the guys who I play with are so awesome, I just said, 'You guys do it and I'll sing the stupid words and we'll move on.' "
On the new album, Sandler conquers several styles of music, including hip-hop. "I can rap all right, but believe me, it's a lot of start and stop [in the studio]. I can't get the flow going that good," he says. "I run out of air."
Though his albums have given birth to a string of memorable characters, Sandler insists his dozens of voices are just slight variations of each other. "I only can do so many voices, and so all my characters, you definitely know it's the same guy doing it. When I'm doing a voice for a character, in the back of my head I'm like, 'That's about 20 percent different from the character I did on the third album. So there you go."
Later, he gives an example. "The excited Southerner [from 1996's What the Hell Happened to Me?] is basically Bobby Boucher from 'Waterboy.' It's the same damn voice."
All these modest claims, though, are hard to believe when you look at Sandler's hugely successful catalog of movies and albums, or even just Shhh ... Don't Tell. Throughout the 20 tracks, Sandler transforms himself from a pushover college student to a blues singer to an overly adventurous old man named Pibb, the album's repeat character. ("There's nothing that makes us happier than an 85-year-old man getting hurt," he jokes of the skits.)
The common thread running through most of the tracks is, fittingly, a blending of arrogance with reticence. Sandler's character in "The Boss and the Secretary," for example, is a pompous ass who happens to be extremely ill-equipped. And then there's the British rocker, "The Amazing Willy Wanker."
"We wanted to do like a proud English rock and roll tune, like the guys from Oasis and a lot of the English dudes, when they sing they look very cool and believe in the words so much," Sandler explains. "And we wanted to write a song where the guy is very confident about what he was saying and it meant a lot to him, but it was about whacking it. There you go."
Whether it's Billy Madison or Henry Roth in "50 First Dates," Sandler's movie characters share the same sort of confidence paradox as those on his albums. The biggest difference is that the albums are far, far more obscene, especially Shhh ... Don't Tell.
"I think I curse more on this record than ever before," Sandler admits. "Yeah, the album's not too tame. In real life, though, I'm a little tamer at home. I don't curse as much. [Jackie Titone, his model wife of less than a year] yells at me for that, 'cause we're gonna have a kid [eventually] and I guess I can't curse [then]. I'm in trouble when my kid grows up and one of his friends goes, 'Hey, listen to your dad's album.' I'm dead. There's no way I could win any fight with that kid. 'You did this! You did that!' And I'll be like, 'Eh, eh ... You win.' "
To Sandler, a lot more than the amount of cursing separates his movies from his albums. While movies have certainly made him more money, the albums are more fun for him to make. Still, after starting Happy Madison and signing on for a string of too-good-to-pass-up movies (such as director Paul Thomas Anderson's "Punch-Drunk Love" and "Anger Management" with Jack Nicholson), he went four years without being in a recording studio.
With his film schedule looking as full as ever, he decided the best way to get back to making albums was to build a studio on the Sony lot, behind Happy Madison's offices. "I said, 'Let's just slowly do it while we're shooting movies.' We started out slow and then all of a sudden got excited and [started] skipping work on the movies and going, 'We'll get to the movie tomorrow; we've got to get this song.' "
"I guess there's less pressure on you," he says later. "It doesn't cost so much money. We're making movies every minute, it's money, and you've got to move on and everyone wants you to get done and blah, blah, blah. When making the album, I have all my equipment here, I've got all my friends here, I know how to work the equipment, so we can take our time and it was a great process."
Anytime one of Sandler's comedian friends stopped by the office, whether it was David Spade, Rob Schneider, Molly Shannon or newcomer Nick Swardson ("I told him I'd be more than happy to make him the Snoop Dogg of the record"), he coerced them into going into the studio to voice a character or two. He even convinced "Saturday Night Live" actress Maya Rudolph to co-star in what he calls one of the dirtiest skits he's ever been a part of: "The Boss and the Secretary."
"It felt a little psychotic because my character's a little nasty and Maya's a real nice girl," he says, thinking back. "Why would I want to be talking that way in front of her? But through concentration and vodka, we got through it."
Nowadays the studio has become a welcome release for Sandler during movie shoots. "It's better than the movies because you don't have to put makeup on, worry about the lighting," he says. "Just hang out, get loose, be funny ... hopefully be funny."
Making albums also allows Sandler to get back in touch with the kind of sketch comedy he launched his career with. "I'm not on 'Saturday Night Live' anymore, so if I think of an idea that I think could be funny for a couple of minutes, I don't have any place to do it except the album."
The title Shhh ... Don't Tell is a reference to the punch line of the dance track, "Secret," which was inspired by the techno music he heard on the radio constantly while visiting his parents in Florida.
The real secret, however, is that Sandler is actually able to set aside the penis jokes (OK, not entirely) and make a truly heartwarming tune. The album's closer, "Stan," is a tribute to his late father, who passed away earlier this year. "When Jackie and I have children of our own," he sings to the piano accompaniment. "We'll try to raise 'em just the way you did."
"That was a real tough thing to go through," Sandler says. "He was definitely the leader of my family, and I worshiped ... I still do worship him. I was doing 'Letterman' and I had a movie coming out, '50 First Dates,' and I felt weird going out and telling jokes after my father had just passed away. So I wrote a song with my friends about my dad and sang it on 'Letterman.' We had to cut a few verses out to keep it shorter, so I figured we'd do the whole thing and keep it on the album.
"I love the song and I love that it's on the album," he continues. "I know that my mother's not a big fan of my albums. She is disgusted by what I say. In fact, when I was driving here, she said, 'You're doing press for this? You told me you were just going to release it and no one would know.' And I said, 'Well, it's MTV, don't worry about it.' So the fact that a song about my dad is on the record, it's great for me, but Mother's a little disturbed by it."
Judy, his mother, has heard the song, but that's about it from Shhh ... Don't Tell.
"That was the best thing [about] when my dad was here," Sandler recalls. "My other albums, my dad would go, 'Judy, sit down, you can [safely] hear track seven.' And then he'd go, 'All right, now here's track 16. All right that's it, that's all you can hear.' "
Back in the studio, Sandler is playing the role of his father, shielding the contest winners from some of the album's filthiest material. Afterward, he leads the pack back through Happy Madison to the back porch, where tables are set up on the basketball court. One of the publicists follows with a surprise for the fans — acoustic guitars signed by Sandler.
One girl pulls out the instrument like a child on Christmas morning and plucks it with little know-how. Sandler, without missing a beat in his conversation with her, grabs the guitar, tunes it and strums a couple of chords.
"You're good," she says.
"Nah," he responds.
Adam Sandler: Dating and Bacon
In the comedy "50 First Dates," Adam Sandler is a Hawaiian playboy who preys on vacationing women — that is, until he falls for Lucy, played by his former "The Wedding Singer" co-star Drew Barrymore. The problem is that Lucy suffers from short-term memory loss, and thus every day she must be won over again. MTV News' Vanessa White Wolf sat down with Sandler to find out how much he remembered about making the movie and what kind of a guy he is on a first date.
MTV: So in keeping with the title of the movie, what are your requirements for a good first date?
"I like when they knock 'em back and stumble out of the place." — Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler: I just like first dates. The fact that I asked a girl out and she said yes, I'm in love already. Then when we're on the date, I like when they knock 'em back and stumble out of the place. Usually they like me more then, and if they don't throw up by the time we get home I'm psyched.
MTV: That leads to the next question: Do you think it's OK to have sex on the first date?
Sandler: That's a great question. Not with me, because if they do have sex with me they call me the next night and say, "What was that all about? You hurt me, it was painful." So for me, sex on the first date is terrible.
MTV: So why did you choose this movie to pair up with Drew again?
Sandler: Well, I read the script and [saw] the amount of times I'd be making out with somebody and I said, 'You know what? My wife is cool with Barrymore. I might as well not get yelled at every night if I make this movie.' I just love her. She's a nice girl. I've been friends with her a long time now. We have fun together, and she's great in the movie. I knew she'd be great as that girl, and I m just psyched to do it with her.
MTV: How was it working with "Anger Management" director Peter Segal again?
Sandler: He's smart, he's a very smart guy. He knows when I get on set to walk away and just release all control. That's what I like about him. I just like to bring a lot of fear, you know? It's like, "What's the matter with Adam? Why is he walking so fast at me?" So then he kinda splits and I get to call "action!"
MTV: Well, I'm getting the wrap signal.
Sandler: No! Just go on, you can ask one more.
MTV: What else are you working on?
Sandler: I'm doing "MTV: The Movie." I'm going to play a guy that created MTV and created you and wired you to fall in love with me ... sorry.
MTV: What about a movie called "Spanglish"?
Sandler: Yeah, I'm doing a movie called "Spanglish" right now. You know, Jim Brooks, [executive producer of "The Simpsons" and producer of countless TV shows and movies,] he wrote this movie and he's directing it and he threw me in it. I play a chef in it. I learned how to cook. If you want some bacon I can make some of it for you.
MTV: I'm a vegetarian.
Sandler: Oh, if you want some veggie bacon, I can slap some of that out for you too. I can cut the cucumbers good.
Adam Sandler: Anger Management
Adam Sandler graduated to film after appearing in wacky US sketch show Saturday Night Live. "The Wedding Singer" remains one of his most succesful film comedies, but his recent collaboration with director Paul Thomas Anderson for romantic drama "Punch-Drunk Love" earned him the best reviews. Rageaholic comedy "Anger Management" finds him back on familiar ground.
Marisa [Tomei] tells us you stole all her jokes and made them your own! Is that true?
What happened is that Marisa would say her lines during rehearsal and then I would put this little pill in her drink. She would fall asleep in her trailer and then I'd say what I wanted to say... her stuff, my stuff, some of Nicholson's stuff, and then I'd go home!
Guess that made you look good as producer of the film, right?
Producer! Manipulator! Everything!
What surprised you about working with Jack Nicholson?
I don't know. I didn't have many expectations. I loved his movies and I knew in his movies he could be lots of different personalities and express lots of different emotions, so I wasn't sure what it was going to be like hanging out with him. What I got from him, though, was a real funny guy, an incredibly smart guy, very sweet to his family, just very personable. I enjoyed hanging out with him.
Did you improvise much or stick with the script?
We worked very hard on that script with Jack. We just made sure we liked every line in the movie. Then when we got on the set and we're rehearsing the scene and it's working, you try and come up with things on the fly, sure.
How about balancing your two characters?
I wasn't worried about that because Nicholson himself is a movie maker, and in order to make this movie right, it had to be give and take - and that was the way we wrote the script. I know that when I watch the movie, I stay focused on him. I'm fascinated every time he walks in the room.
What scene made you laugh the most?
I laughed my ass off at every take where Nicholson takes his plate of eggs and throws it against the wall! I enjoyed hearing him scream: "I said over easy!" I don't know why that made me laugh but I couldn't hold in my laughter.
And another great moment is when you two are singing songs from "West Side Story" in the car on the bridge in the middle of all the traffic...
That was nice, singing "I Feel Pretty". Nicholson could hold a tune and I was happy to jam with him!
What about Peter Segal as a director?
I think he's just a nice man. I like the way he shoots movies and I like the look of them. I'm pretty insane. I have a lot of different thoughts and he can tolerate me pretty good and stay in a nice mood. And he keeps the set fun. I just like him as a person.
What are you most proud of with this film?
Mostly relieved. When I started it and Jack said he would do it with us, the thing I wanted to do least was to let him down. We didn't let him down. He likes the picture and I'm psyched!
Adam Sandler Talks About "Spanglish"
Playing a Dad Onscreen and Working with James L. Brooks
Academy Award-winner writer/director/producer James L. Brooks, the man behind such acclaimed films as "Terms of Endearment" and "As Good as It Gets," brings to the screen a story of family, love, and the collision of cultures with "Spanglish," starring Adam Sandler, Tea Leoni, and Paz Vega.
Adam Sandler stars as John Clasky, one of the best chef's in America. John's a good man who is solidly devoted to his family, quietly putting the wants and needs of his family above his own. In casting Sandler in the role, writer/director Brooks felt Sandler could handle the dramatic aspect of the part, and knew Sandler's personality and strength of character would bring the right touch to the role of John.
"I tried to cast Adam for a small part in a picture back when he was on ‘Saturday Night Live.’He came into the office and there was a quality about him that really stuck with me,” recalls Brooks, adding, "He’s one of the best human beings I’ve ever met. You get a lot of pleasure from working with him. He’s a walking tutorial on how we should deal with each other."
INTERVIEW WITH ADAM SANDLER (‘John Clasky’):
Are you looking to get away from the kind of comic roles that launched your career?
I’m not looking to get away from anything. I like what I’ve done. I like what I get to do, and I enjoy working with my friends. I loved those movies but this is incredible. Jim Brooks, when I met him a long time ago - a quick ‘hello’ kind of thing - I loved his movies, every one he’s done. So the fact that he wrote a movie and he wanted me to be in it, I was extremely excited. But, in my head I didn’t say, “Oh, I’m gonna run away from my other stuff.” I was just like, “Yeah, I’d like to do that, too.”
Do you ever fear too much success like your chef character in this film is worried about getting four stars?
I mean, that’s an incredible speech. I understand that speech, but to be honest with you, when I got into this I never thought about reviews. I never thought about what people would say about me. I just was a young guy who was excited to become a comedian and an actor, and I just wanted to get to do what I got to do. The fact that my character [in “Spanglish”] is that aware of the consequences [of fame], I think that’s pretty amazing. I wasn’t like that in real life, no.
You have a history of playing characters who don’t hold anything in. How hard is it to play a character who internalizes so much?
Jim coached me through every scene and told me what he wanted. If I would be internalizing, that was in the writing and directing. But I think the character just wants his family to make it and he wants everybody to live in a house where you’re not walking on eggshells. And to lose it and snap and make people uncomfortable in the house would only add to that, so I think he was just using his brain.
You’ve played a dad before on screen and you play a father in this movie. Do you have any aspirations to be a real-life dad?
(Smiling) I just recently started trying. (Laughter) I’m doing the best I can. [It] feels good to try. But playing a father, I’m getting a little older. I see now that I’m taking it more serious and I do want that lifestyle. I do want children.
I study dads more. I watch what they go through. I admire my father more than I ever did at my age, and my brother and my sister. The thing that I always think about with my parents, and what I think John Clasky is similar to, is when my parents would get a phone call, their friends would say, “Hey, we’re going away to Bermuda this weekend. You want to come?” And my parents would say, “Oh, really?” And the other people would say, “We’re not bringing the kids though.” My parents would go, “No kids? Oh no, we can’t go then.” That was my father’s sacrifice and my mother’s. They didn’t care about anything but the kids, and I feel like that’s a big part of John Clasky.
Do you plan your career step-by-step or just do whatever grabs you at the time?
I look back at it afterwards. When Jim offered this to me, I didn’t say, “Well, this will go perfectly with what I’m looking to do, and just imagine looking back on my career in that year, I’ll get to say this happened.” I do love the movies I’ve done in the past. I work hard in my movies and my friends work hard. We’re trying to make people laugh and I’m very proud of that. But, looking back at my career, when I end up having kids and I say, “Throw in that ‘Spanglish.’ Let’s take a look at that,” I know I’m going to be very proud of it.
Do you think your character is a hero?
No. Honestly, this feels so much like my brother, this character. He has two children. He has a wife. He works with me. He chooses to stay in New Hampshire because he wants his kids to grow up in the school they started with. He doesn’t want them to lose friends. He is his family’s hero. When I was in Florida when we had Thanksgiving, the last image I saw was my brother with his two kids and his wife. [He] was hanging out on the beach and they were swimming in the water. It reminded me of “Spanglish,” just the fact that this guy gave me a wave, he said, “Love ya,” but he was like, “These are my kids and I want to make sure they have a great day in Florida.” I admire that. That’s how I got to grow up and that’s how I plan on raising my kids.
Can you speak Spanish?
How do I speak Spanish? Not too well. Paz [Vega] taught me a few words that, if people weren’t nice to me, I could tell them a few things.
How are your cooking skills?
I got to study with [Chef] Thomas Keller who we all love as a guy. He’s one of the nicest guys ever, and Jim had a relationship with Thomas. What happened, you ate up there at [his restaurant], the French Laundry. In the script it said, “[My character] will make a sandwich that everyone in the audience would want to eat at home,” or something like that. And I gotta tell you, just from the commercials, I have been walking down the street and had people say, “Make me that sandwich, man!” But Thomas Keller really did go so out of his way. I got to work in his kitchen at the French Laundry and his whole staff taught me and gave me their time. Most of all, I needed confidence [as a chef]… At home we practiced over and over making that BLT and making a bunch of other stuff, that in my life before this movie, I must say I’d probably never even eaten.
Do you have a specialty?
No, I’m excited about the BLT. I keep staring at visitors at my home and [asking], “BLT?”
Your character is really close to his daughter and knows what to say to help her out. Did you get any similar advice from your family growing up?
I never had a speech from my father: “This is what you must do or shouldn’t do.” But I just learned to… He led by example. My father wasn’t perfect. He had a temper. I took some of that. He would snap but the older he got, he started calming down. He learned about life, also. But the thing that he taught my whole family was just that family is the most important thing. And, no matter what, through our life, if a family member needs you, you go and help out and you get there. He just made us feel comfortable, and my mother also, made our family just feel comfortable and respectful to other families.
Did you get your sense of humor from your dad?
Well, part of my father having a temper led to me developing a sense of humor trying to calm the old man down.
Do you know what do audiences want?
I don't know any formulas but I do know that - I don't know. I watch this movie. I gotta say, when I first saw “Spanglish,” first night I watched it, I had no idea the audience was going to laugh as much as they did. I read the script and I laughed, but I didn’t know it was this funny. And I didn’t know it was going to be an experience for an audience to be kind of a roller coaster, laughing and emotional. So I can’t tell you what works and doesn’t work, but I do know it was nice to see a crowd of people having an experience like that.
How was working with Paz Vega, Tea Leoni, and Cloris Leachman?
I like hanging out with them. I love seeing them on the set. They’re just good people. Cloris, what can you say? [She’s] just incredibly funny and alive. And the fact that Paz didn’t speak English that well, and was laughing every time Cloris just would walk on the set.
They each represent very different types of characters.
I think Deborah, Tea’s character, all I see is we had a backstory. We were in love since we were young, and we fell in love for a reason. We connected and we happen to be at a place in life right now where it’s not feeling right. Tea’s character is just off, and my character wants to get her back on track. She’s a strong, smart woman who is just not feeling right right now. I’ve seen people going through this and she’s just looking for answers. And Flor and her children, everybody’s characters, that’s what’s great about the script. Everybody’s characters are affecting everyone else’s characters and learning about themselves. Cloris’s line, “You learn that you love your husband.” What’s that line? [It’s not the worst thing in the world to find out you love your husband.] Yeah, that’s an amazing line that makes Tea’s character realize that I want to get back. I was off track, I want to get back on track and get my family back.
You and Tea have a pretty wild love scene. Did she beat you up?
I was hurting! My chest. That was a lot of takes. The camera kept rolling and Tea kept whacking [my chest] (laughing). It did hurt my chest. At the end, it was like take six. Put it this way, my make-up girl would have to run in between takes and put flesh color back on my chest.
Is there a great dramatic actor inside every comedian?
I enjoyed when Cloris tackled Tea. I’m just thinking about the physical comedy in the movie. But I don't know.
Do you make a distinction?
As a comedian in this movie, I just tried to play the role. I didn’t think about, “I’m a comedian being an actor.” I just thought about I’m a guy getting to say lines in a movie that are pretty incredible.
Do you ever think about winning an Oscar?
No.That wasn’t the reason I… I wasn’t a kid growing up thinking, “One day I’ll get an Oscar and make a speech.” That wasn’t on my mind. I want to just do the best work I can do and that’s what I try to do.
Is this a particularly creative period for you?
I’m not sure, but I did learn on this movie the most I’ve ever learned about making a movie from Jim. I always thought I worked hard and my friends worked hard, but I’ve never seen anybody like Jim go from start to finish. Before we started shooting, it was the most amount of work I ever did in pre-production and just establishing relationships and rehearsing and just becoming comfortable with each other. Jim’s process is start to finish the most concentrated experience I’ve ever seen. He never stops. He never gives up or gave up. I’ve never seen anybody with that much discipline, so I learned that I’m not a hard-working as I thought I was.
In heavy drama scenes do you stick totally to the script? Like when Tea admits she’s had an affair in this film.
This was the first time, well one time in “Punch-Drunk Love” I did this also, but this was the first time as an actor I went into, before we started rolling and shooting, I was in another part of the house getting ready for it for hours at a time, trying to just be in that scene as much as I could. When I read this scene for the first time I said, “That’s the most original take I’ve ever seen on a confession scene, on an infidelity scene, and the fact that my character is not enraged.” I’m sure if I was writing the movie, my guy would have snapped. When I read it, I said it was incredibly real and that’s how, as an actor, I tried to play it.
What was it about Paz’s character, the family’s nanny/housekeeper, that made your character fall for her?
I think ultimately it’s the fact that she’s so dedicated to her child, just a good person. Just her dedication to her child and her love for her child. That’s a lot of what the movie is saying, is just how we feel about our children and the sacrifices we make for our children, and how attractive that can be.
Will you ever direct a movie?
I don’t think so. Maybe when I finally reach 300-320, because my family tends to eat. Maybe when that day comes, maybe I’ll just sit in a chair and direct. But until then, I don’t have the discipline. I can’t concentrate that long. My mind wanders and that’s why I need a Jim Brooks in my life.
Did you learn anything from working with Jim Brooks that you’ll apply to your own movies?
In this movie, it was written so well and directed so well that I just hate to say it, but I did what the man told me to do. I learned from it and how I’m going to apply it to my own movies, I guess I’ll try even harder. That’s what I’ll take from it.
Will you ever go back and host “SNL?” What do you think of Jimmy Fallon’s impersonation of you?
Pretty good. He does it great. I’ve known Jimmy since he was a young kid and he used to hang out with us. When I would go on tour, Jimmy would hang around with us. He’s a great kid. He definitely gets the nuance of the dummy. But I’m not hosting any time soon, but maybe down the line though.
What’s next for you?
I don't know. I might do a movie called “Click.” It’s a comedy, but I’m not sure yet.
Do you have any more Hannukah songs in you?
I don't know. You never know what’s going to happen. Maybe down the line [there will be] something.
Adam Sandler: "Mr. Deeds"
In the romantic comedy "Mr. Deeds," Adam Sandler returns to the sweet, goofy 'every man' type of role that's his bread and butter, steering clear from any reference to the generally disliked, "Little Nicky." Surrounding himself with a wickedly funny supporting cast, including scene-stealers John Turturro and Steve Buscemi, Sandler's Longfellow Deeds is a guy we can relate to, a guy faced with tough choices who stumbles a little while just trying to keep it all in perspective.
Loosely based on the Academy Award-winning classic, "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," which starred Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur, this rendition moves the film into the corporate world of greed, big money and tabloid TV.
Sandler's Longfellow Deeds is a decent enough guy, popular throughout his small town of Mandrake Falls, New Hampshire. He's obliviously happy as the owner of a pizza restaurant who tries out his sappy greeting card prose on a captive pizza-eating audience (he aspires to write for Hallmark). Life goes along peachy-keen until big city businessmen, Chuck Cedar (Peter Gallagher) and his assistant, Anderson (Erick Avari), blow into town. Cedar and Anderson notify Deeds that he's inherited $40 billion, a couple of sports teams, and a chain of media outlets from a long-lost relative, Preston Blake (Harve Presnell). Yanked from his peaceful "Mayberry RFD" existence into a world of corporate backstabbing, Deeds finds himself at the center of a media feeding frenzy.
Babe Bennett (Winona Ryder), a reporter for a trashy tabloid TV show, leads the pack of sharks circling Deeds for any sign of vulnerability. Uncovering his weakness for women in distress, Bennett goes undercover as a small town girl who needs rescuing in the big city. Deeds, predictably, falls madly in love with her, blinded by her batting eyes and damsel in distress act. With Babe secretly filming all of Deed's most embarrassing moments for "Inside Access," Deeds is soon the laughing stock of Manhattan and a disgrace to his dead relative's corporation. When Deeds discovers those he thought were on his side are actually working against him, he has to decide whether to flee or stay and fight the corporate baddies. He also has to figure out if Babe's truly after his heart, or only after a news story.
Adam Sandler's Deeds is a familiar character, likable, if not just a bit too perfect. This character harkens back to Sandler's Robbie Hart in "The Wedding Singer," without that character's misery. Director Steven Brill sees many similarities between the actor and Deeds saying, "Adam's a funny guy, and when the camera stops, he's pretty much the same. He doesn't really change. In that sense, Adam is very similar to his character, Deeds."
This is Sandler's movie but he stands no chance in scenes opposite John Turturro. As the sneaky, quick-as-a-cat butler, Emilio, Turturro provides the movie's funniest moments. Is there any character this guy can't play? He's done it all, and in "Mr. Deeds" he steals scene after scene.
Frequent Sandler movie cast member, Steve Buscemi ("The Wedding Singer," "Big Daddy," "Billy Madison"), plays the aptly named 'Crazy Eyes' - a kind of local oddball who orders bizarre combinations of toppings on his pizza and who offers even more bizarre advise. Buscemi is always first-rate at portraying these 'off' characters, bringing that extra dimension to roles that are pretty flat on paper.
As Deeds' love interest, Winona Ryder doesn't really sell the part. There's not much chemistry between the two however it's not so bad that it detracts too much from the film. Though the movie does slow up during the romantic parts, it's able to regain speed whenever Sandler interacts with Turturro, Buscemi, or Peter Gallagher.
The film delivers as promised on most levels, however it does help to be an Adam Sandler fan to begin with. "Mr. Deeds" takes full advantage of the sort of gags and humor Sandler's previous films have called on with success, while showing sparks of originality and mostly avoiding that 'cookie cutter' feel. With an endearing character the audience can actually get behind, "Mr. Deeds" cashes in on jokes while mildly delivering a lesson in morality. "Mr. Deeds" serves to show that Sandler is trying to recapture that audience that slunk away after "Little Nicky." This film is funny enough that it should be able to pull back in any wary Sandler fans.
Common misspellings: "Adam Sandlar"