INT: Adam Sandler
Adam Sandlers increasingly eclectic career takes another interesting turn this week with Spanglish, the latest effort from writer/director James L. Brooks. Sandler plays John Clasky, an earnest father and successful chef with an increasingly chaotic family life. Sensitive, caring and only marginally neurotic, hes a far cry from the brash, in-your-face characters that made Sandler famous. In fact, hes downright warm and fuzzy. Last week, the notoriously press-shy actor stopped by the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills last week for a press conference to promote Spanglish. Although he was grouped with James L. Brooks, Téa Leoni and several other actors from the film, most of the questions, thankfully, were directed toward Adam. Here are some excerpts: 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 when 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." Your character in this film, a chef, is worried about getting four stars. Do you ever worried about getting too much success? 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 was just 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 is that aware of the consequences, 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 where you have to internalize everything? 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 do it again in this film. Any aspirations to be a real-life dad? (smiles) I just recently started trying, doin' the best I can. 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 and my brother and my sister. The thing that I always think about with my parents and what I think my character is similar to is when my parents would get a phone call "Hey, we're going away to Bermuda this weekend. You want to come? But, we're not bringing the kids." My parents would go "No kids? Oh no, then we can't go." That was my father and mother's sacrifice. They didn't care about anything but the kids and I feel like that's a big part of my character.
Do you really plan your career step by step or just do whatever grabs you? 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." I do love the films I've done in the past. I work hard in my movies and my friends work hard and 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 or kind of a "girly-man?" No. This character feels so much like my brother. 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 bother with his two kids and his wife was hanging out on the beach swimming and it reminded me of Spanglish, just the fact that this guy gave me a wave, 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. How are your cooking skills and can you speak Spanish? How do I speak Spanish? Not too well. Paz taught me a few words that, if people weren't nice to me, I could tell them a few things. I got to study with Thomas Keller who we all love as a guy and Jim had a relationship with him at the French Laundry. In the script it said, "He will make a sandwich that everyone in the audience would want to eat at home." Just from the trailers for the film, I've been walking down the street and had people say, "Make me that sandwich, man!" Most of all I needed confidence. At home we practiced over and over making that BLT and other stuff, that before this movie, I'd probably never even eaten. I'm excited about the BLT. Did you and Téa Leoni work on developing your relationship on-screen? Did you have a backstory? Yeah. We had a backstory that 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. Téa's character is just off and my character wants to get her back on track. She's a strong, smart woman who isn't feeling right right now. I've seen people going through this and she's just looking for answers. You and Téa have a pretty wild love scene. How badly did she beat you up? I was hurting! My poor chest. That was a lot of takes. The camera kept rolling and Téa kept whacking (laughs). Like by take six, wow. My make-up girl would have to run in between takes and put flesh color back on my chest.
Do you ever think about getting an Oscar for one of your performances? No. 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. What is next 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 go from start to finish. There was a lot of work in pre-production just establishing relationships and becoming comfortable with each other. Jim's process is the most concentrated experience I've ever seen. He never stops or gives up. I learned that I'm not a hard-working as I thought I was. In heavy drama scenes do you just wing it or go totally by the script? Like when Téa admits she's had an affair in this film. This was the first time, except for Punch-Drunk Love, that before we started shooting, I was in another part of the house getting ready for the scene for hours. Trying to just be in that scene as much as I could. When I read this script for the first time I said "this is the most original take I've ever seen on a confession, infidelity scene, the fact that my character is not enraged." I'm sure if I was writing the movie, my guy would have snapped. I thought it was incredibly real and that's how, as an actor, I tried to play it. What was it about Paz's character that made you fall for her? I think ultimately it's the fact that she's so dedicated to her child, just a good person. Her love for her child, that's a lot of what the movie is saying, just how we feel about our children and the sacrifices we make for them. Do you think youll ever direct a movie? I don't think so. I don't have the discipline. I can't concentrate that long. My mind wanders and that's why I needed a Jim Brooks in my life. Will you ever go back and host SNL, and 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 with us. He's a great kid. He definitely gets the nuance of the dummy. I'm not hosting any time soon but maybe down the line. Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at email@example.com.
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