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Interview: Rob Schneider

Last week I skidaddled back to the St Regis Hotel in Century City for the press interviews for the new comedy THE HOT CHICK. In the film, Saturday Night Live alum Rob Schneider once again finds himself transformed into something other than a middle-aged white male. This time, he becomes a morph between a high school girl and a low-life criminal. Not bad. His impression of a teeny bop is right on (read JoBlo's review of the film right out here). But what was more interesting than the film was getting a chance to sit down with Rob over some coffee, and chat a little about his career in comedy, the bizarre prep work he did for the film, and what it’s like to now be married. Here’s more from my conversation with Rob Schneider:

ROB SCHNEIDER

What is it about you wanting to transform yourself into other things?

I know that I’m not enough as me. I know that I need more. No, I don’t know. It’s just finding more ways to make me suffer. I don’t know. Whatever, it makes me laugh. Tom Brady, the director, saw me making fun of my old girlfriend and said hey, that’s funny. He said we should make a full feature out of that. And I said, no way. I figured that for this movie to work, it had to work in a big way. But I knew that there was a real potential for a misfire on this…a $20 million misfire.

How did you make fun of your girlfriend?

She just had a lot of female energy. I don’t know how women have that much energy. Just kind of bouncing off the walls. It was just so tiring, and the only thing I could do to defend myself was to make fun of it. It was over the top, but there was a hint of it in it…But I wanted to key into it, but make it more subtle, more like a woman. I keyed into a couple of things that made it easier for me.

Did you study other women for this?

There’s things about women that I had never noticed before. The way a woman makes eye contact. They’re just more intense than a man. And the way a woman is so hyper-sensitive to things all around them. There’s this feeling that women are being looked at all the time. It’s kind of vulnerable, but there’s another side to it that I thought was hilarious, you know, that everyone’s looking at me. And there’s that swagger, that vainness…But I didn’t want to play it like a gay man. I thought that was old and predictable.

Teenage girls scare me now. Do they scare you?

There’s a viciousness and a meanness, not just for teenage girls but boys too. The Khmer Rouge, there’s no coincidence that there were teens running that, you know. And it was a brutal regime, and they were kids…I think people can relate to this in the sense that she’s got it easy. She has it easier than most people. She’s going out with the quarterback. That’s just a fact, and in some ways that’s going to bite her in the ass.

You’re married to a young girl now, right?

Well, yes. She’s young. She’s in her 20s. She’s a young woman, not like this, but she’s a young woman. She’s mature and elegant. But I have to say the reason that this movie is so sweet is that the love scenes that were written in there were written with her in mind….There’s a sweetness to this role that, 5 years ago, I don’t know if I could’ve played.

Has marriage sent you into a more mature comedy level?

Well, my wife would not agree, but yeah. I hate it when I hear actors say I became the character. I couldn’t turn the character off. But I do think we should all make an attempt to look at life through the eyes of a woman, just for a day, or a couple hours…women will love you for it. I genuinely try to please my wife. But she says why do you have to try? You should just do it naturally. But men want to think they can add up good will…But if you’re lucky, you can be frustrated with it your whole life.

Why did you choose Adam Sandler to play the cameo of the character you created on Saturday Night Live?

Yeah. The weed guy. It’s funny. He didn’t want to do it the way I did on SNL. But, basically, the character came out when I was in upstate New York a while back, in Rochester, and there was some African antiques store….and I would take a random box up to the front and ask, where does your weed go in here? And the woman there looked at me like I was crazy. So that’s my story….Adam played it differently. On TV, it’s less subtle. You kind of have to bounce outside of that box. But he did it well.

Has your approach to comedy changed a lot since your days on SNL?

Yeah. It’s not as much trash and burn. It used to be we had to care about how people feel and stuff. I don’t feel that way anymore. But I want to do what’s funny. If Wynona Ryder’s pissed off at me, I’ll deal with it.

Are you looking to change directions now with your career to more thought out, sincere stuff?

I don’t know. I don’t feel the urgency to want to change. I think we’re looking to do a DEUCE BIGALOW 2. I have a title, but I don’t have a movie yet. DEUCE BIGALOW: ELECTRIC GIGALOW makes me laugh. But I don’t know what the movie is. We kind of just jump into the movie and figure it out….It’s just that what I think is funny, I’ll do it.

Do you have a PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE in you?

You know, I don’t feel the need to be accepted in a new way. I’m finally accepted as a comedic actor….Comedies to me, that’s what everybody likes. If you look at the Oscars over time, if people go up there in front of 50 million people, what’s the one thing they want you to make them do…laugh. There’s nothing more rewarding than going into a movie theater and hearing an audience just roaring at the screen. That’s just me…But yeah, if Spike Jonze called me and said, "Rob, we’ve got a movie for you," yeah, I’d do it in a friggin heartbeat.

Do you and your wife have a similar sense of humor?

I thought so going into the marriage. But there’s a thing. She laughs at my jokes, which I like. But there’s a thing I can’t seem to handle…being inappropriate. It may be funny, she says, but it’s inappropriate. So there’s a wonderful ballet I’m still trying to figure out. But some of the best stuff in my life is my marriage and my family.

What’s the most inappropriate joke she said you’ve done?

Well saying on live TV last week that I took the plunge. Jay Leno said, really, congratulations you got married. I said no, that’s not the plunge. Anybody can get married with a good attorney. The plunge is no prenup. That’s called faith. That’s half. Half of everything. And she said, why did you have to say that? I don’t want your money. And then I also said she was twelve, which I guess she didn’t like.

Well, that’s it. Probably more than you wanted to hear from Schneider. But he was great, as were the folks with Disney.

READ JOBLO'S REVIEW OF THE HOT CHICK HERE

To rail me, email [email protected]. To hail me, email me at [email protected]. Later.

Source: JoBlo.com

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