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INT: Sandler/Beckins.

06.22.2006

This week, comedy veteran Adam Sandler ventures once again into the dramatic realm with his latest movie, CLICK. Sandler’s last drama, the James L. Brooks film SPANGLISH, was roundly pummeled by critics, though his own performance was generally well-received. With CLICK, he treads in more familiar territory, mixing serious moments with bits of classic Sandlerian (did I just invent a word?) comedy. Heart-wrenching sequences are followed by scenes involving dogs humping stuffed animals. (Oops – hope I didn’t give away any spoilers.)

Sandler’s CLICK co-star, Kate Beckinsale, is both absurdly attractive and surprisingly witty – qualities that make the fact that she’s happily married all the more excruciating.

Sandler and Beckinsale, accompanied by director Frank Coraci, stopped by the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills a few weeks ago for a press conference to promote CLICK, which opens this week. Here are some excerpts.

Adam Sandler Kate Beckinsale

Adam, what were some of your feelings when you first read the script? Did you feel that perhaps you were fast forwarding through parts of your own life?

Sandler: Sure. We all read this thing and connected to it because, when you’re shooting a movie you are away from home most of the time, you’re…it’s an amazing that we get to do what we get to do, but you definitely are away from the family more than you’d like to be and time keeps passing. I’m 39 years old. Looking back on the past 10 years of my life I’ve been at work more than I’ve been at home. So I connected with this movie. By the end of the movie, when I watch it, when I watched the playback the other day, um, I went home. I was excited to get home and do the right thing, be with the family. And I’ve heard a few people comment on that.

Is it harder playing a moron as you get older?

Sandler: I don’t seem to be getting much smarter, so no. I like being a moron. I’ve been called a moron since I was about four. My father called me a moron. My grandfather said I was a moron, and a lot of times when I’m driving I hear I’m a moron.

Kate, earlier in your career you did a lot of comedy like Cold Comfort Farm and Much Ado About Nothing. Was it nice to return to your comedic roots?

Beckinsale: It really was, and there were more fart jokes this time. [laughs] It was a big coming home for me. It was kind of a personal thing because I think my father had been in England a very well known comedy actor, and I think I was very attracted to that because I had grown up on it, but I think I also slightly tried to steer clear of it – just I didn’t want to tread on anyone else’s patch, I kind of wanted to be on my own patch. And then on this movie I actually turned a year older than my father got to, and it was a very liberating moment finding myself. I made it to 32 and I’m in a comedy and everyone’s being really nice, and I wasn’t away from the family because we shot in L.A. and my daughter was around. And it was just like a blissful and lovely sort of blossoming moment for me, you know.

How was it being married to Adam and how did you enjoy being gracefully aged?

Beckinsale: The gracefully aged thing is a big shocker. I thought I was going to handle it better than I actually did.

Sandler: I thought you looked great every step of the way.

Beckinsale: That’s very nice. (Adam) looked like a mixture of Humphrey Bogart and George Burns. But what did you ask me first? How was it being married to him? I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn’t have to take him home, I didn’t have to yell at him about going and playing golf or all of that stuff that would probably really bug me in real life if I was married to him. But I had the sort of total movie pleasure of everything apart from anything leaking or gross or leaving me on my own or any of that. See it was perfect. It was a blissful marriage and I was really kind of sad when it was over.

But as for the ageing thing, I think that every… at some point everybody turns into their mother or their father, it’s just not normally from morning to afternoon. And it gives you a moment of totally existential panic. Because, you sit there for six whole hours and it’s kind of boring and goes on and on and on, and then at the end of it you look so much worse and more creepy than you did than when you went in. They modeled my hairstyle on the hairstyle my mother wore at my wedding so the whole thing was just kind of spooky.

Frank, what kind of processes did you go through when you’re coming up with how these people are going to look?

Coraci: There was sort of a conscious choice when doing ageing where sometimes you see a movie and you suddenly see somebody in old age makeup and it sort of pulls you out of the movie. So there was a conscious effort to not go quite as far because I thought, well, people aren’t going to actually keep track of how many years it is and stuff. The other thing we did was actually look at pictures of their parents and sort of know how they would naturally age. And Rick Baker, who is probably the greatest make-up artist ever, that was a process he wanted to take, and kind of together we found a way to make them look, the way they would look and not take it to the point where it would take you out of the movie.

What was the challenge of going into darker territory which Sandler fans may not necessarily be used to seeing from you?

Sandler: I felt like with the remote control itself we had a lot of jokes and a lot of humor in the movie, and the thing that was attractive to all of us was that second half of the movie, and I thought people who had seen some of my movies in the past, they can handle it. We give enough jokes to relax you but there are… it gets heavier than we’ve ever had before in one of our movies.

Coraci: I think that part of the story brought the heart, and I think Adam and Kate’s performance has really brought the heart out in the movie. I think of it as the heart of the movie, and that’s really what we strive to do when we make movies together is make movies that make you feel things and think about life.

Sandler: That’s right. Wedding Singer was kind of sweet too, and even Bobby Boucher had his moments of sweetness. As an actor doing some of those scenes where it was heavy, you know the stuff was about…what had to be the heaviness was about my father, and I lost my father a couple of years ago so it was very fresh. I had a different relationship with my real father than I did in the movie. My father in real life, I wanted him to be at my house all the time. When he would go away I would be like, oh, godammit, I want to hang out with my father today. I never thought my dad was a pain in the ass like my character does, but you know the actual finding out your father is sick or your father is dying or he’s dead that was easy as an actor to play that because it was, it was very fresh.

What’s it like being a new dad?

Sandler: The baby situation is fine, it’s great. I love that kid. Everyday I get more and more excited and I feel comfortable with her. I just want her to feel comfortable with me. I’m a little bit clutsy.

Beckinsale: That takes a long time.

Are you changing diapers?

Sandler: I see that go on.

How?

Sandler: Cheering on my wife. I say “good feeding” a lot, “way to go,” “nice milk.”

Did you pass out in the delivery room?

Sandler: No, I saw that though. That was heavy. That was heavy. The kid looked… I was shocked by the bird like image coming out of the egg.

What’s been the most surprising part of fatherhood so far, and how did you decide on the baby’s name?

Sandler: Oh, nothing surprising, you know. I knew I would be excited. I was dying to do it and I… it’s a lot of fun. You know what is surprising, that the kid looks through me. The kid… there’s no focus. Every time I think the kid likes me I’m like, oh, she’s staring at my forehead right now. There really hasn’t been much eye contact yet. The baby is named after my father and my wife’s grandpa. So the kid’s name is Sadie Madison. Yeah, my wife wanted Madison for her grandfather and to have some New York in the kid – Madison.

You’ve alternated a lot between comedy and drama. Do you have a preference?

Sandler: Much more comfortable showing up that day knowing we got a funny scene coming. That day where I had to be upset over my father in the movie I was… I don’t like sitting in my trailer being depressed all day and looking at pictures. I don’t like that. I do it. I’m glad when it’s over. It’s a huge… it feels like a relief, and if I think I did the best I could do. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. But I’d rather go to work and fart in Hasselhoff’s face.

Any funny Christopher Walken stories?

Sandler: Every day was pretty enjoyable, watching The Walken. My favorite thing was introducing anybody to Walken, just the fear in everybody's eye when they're shaking Walken's hand, they don't know what's gonna happen. Walken's always very cordial. But people tend to be nervous around the man.

Kate, why are you laughing?

Beckinsale: Because you said “cordial” and I wouldn't have immediately picked that word. I don't know. I remember my daughter running into him in his costume by the crafts service table and coming back with like the whites of her eyes showing, “I've seen a man that I don't like.” She actually really warmed to him, it was just... he also had the big – it was a belly, wasn't it? And he had the funny wig and everything.

Do you see this as your version of It's a Wonderful Life?

Sandler: I don't know if it's our version of it. It had, definitely, learning a lesson about the way you're living your life, like... I wouldn't compare our movie to that, but it has a structure where it's about a man who doesn't appreciate all that he has and finds out at the end that life has been great and he has to enjoy that. They have similarities, no doubt about it.

Frank and Kate, could you tell us what it was like working with Adam?

Beckinsale: I really don't like to do that when he's here...

Sandler: I'm not even listening.

Beckinsale: I had such an amazing time on the movie. I really did think, you know, that I might just be this sort of roaming pair of breasts that wouldn't quite fit. You know what I mean? Everybody would be watching sports and I'd be kind of tolerated and then I might bend over and it might be an event. You know what I mean? It was relatively... Like I said, my daughter was around.

These kids were brilliant on the movie, but they were, also, if I had a child actor, I would wish for it to be in an Adam Sandler movie, because he just comes in and makes them so comfortable and is so brilliant with them and they all go home and they've got this special relationship. My daughter has decided that he's a relative. Just generous and brilliant to work with. I mean, really, I was so bummed out when it was over. I felt like summer camp had ended and nobody invited me to Hannukah. I was great. I loved it. I'd do it again in a shot.

Coraci: And the thing that's nice about working with Adam is that there's sort of a family vibe, 'cause people who have worked on his movies have worked on many of his movies, so along with the kids and the cast, all the people that worked on the movie, it was like a family and every day we'd make each other laugh. And the pleasant surprise was that Kate made us laugh quite often. She fit right in.

Sandler: Absolutely.

How do you decide which films you want to be in and which films you just produce?

Sandler: I don't know. It's something I feel I can do all right, I like being in those, and some that I think Schneider and Spade would be funnier at than me, I tell them to do it. I don't have any clue how we decide….Click just actually... I don't even know where I was, but somebody, one of my friends called me up, my partner told me about this idea that Steve Koren had. Steve Koren, by the way, the guy who wrote it, him and Mark O'Keefe, Steve Koren I've known since I was 22. He was a page at Saturday Night Live.

He would answer the phones and he'd give us phone messages and then he'd give you a message and he'd say, “Oh yeah. I wrote a joke.” And he'd tell you the joke and you go, “Hey. Steve Koren's pretty funny,” and then all of a sudden he's wrote Bruce Almighty and this thing and he's a giant writer and he's just a great guy. And anyway, they told me about the premise of the movie and asked if I was interested in that and I didn't even read the script, I just said, “Yeah. That's a huge idea, it sounds great.” That's how I decided to do this script, just off three sentences about what the movie's about, I knew it could be awesome.

Which Hasselhoff is sexier, Baywatch Hasselhoff or Knight Rider Hasselhoff?

Sandler: I like 'em both. I loved Knight Rider growing up. Baywatch I enjoyed many nights. Baywatch is good to have a pause button on. Hasselhoff on Saturday Night Live, that's where I got to know the man. That's where I thought he was a fun man to hang out with and a nice guy and I knew he would be funny as hell in this part.

How do the cameos with your various friends and SNL buddies come about?

Sandler: Sometimes it's like they visit me on the set and then we say “Throw this hat on and say a line” but this one, we... I hang out with those guys all the time, so if we're doing a movie, I want to be around them and I try to write them something funny. And I ask with a little bit of a threatening tone to it, like, “Would you like to be in my movie?” and stare 'em down and they say yes because I'm bigger than them.

Are you influenced outside of yourself by the roles you take? Does your wife influence you?

Sandler: Sure, sure. She tells me that she thinks I can do it…I just did a movie that Mike Binder wrote and it's a very heavy movie and I was scared to do it and my wife read it and encouraged me and said she thinks I could do it. I just try to do stuff that I think is going to be a good movie. I'm just looking to make good movies and looking to be as good as I can be in them and that's about it. But I feel much more comfortable doing a comedy, but the fact that I got to try a few dramas, I feel I've tested myself a little bit.

Could you talk about your 9/11 movie a little bit?

Sandler: I don't know how to describe the movie, how to sum it up. I can't wait for Mike Binder, the man who wrote it, and hear him discuss it, because I don't know how to phrase this. But it's just about a man who's been through a terrible thing – he lost his family in 9/11 – and he has a hard time just living life and just being in the moment. He doesn't want to know about life. He tries to pretend he never had a family.

He can only deal with life by thinking about stuff from his past and growing up and he bumps into...Don Cheadle plays, we went to dental school together, and my character hasn't spoken to anybody in five years and Cheadle makes him feel comfortable. So it's about friendship, I guess... It's a really interesting script and Mike Binder did a great job with the script and I saw some of it recently and it's a heavy-duty movie.

It's fictional, right?

Sandler: Yeah. No, it's not a real guy, not one particularly real guy, but he did a lot of research and met a lot of people it affected.

Kate, do you have any parenting advice for Adam?

Beckinsale: I think it’s something that blast that trail yourself. I would bank sleeping wherever possible. And if you’re wife’s crying a lot, buy some jewelry.

Sandler: Kate is a great, great mom and whenever Lilly was around, man, it was fun. All of us love the love affair of Kate and Lilly and how comfortable Lilly felt whenever she would just run to her mom and I think all of us, because none of us had kids at the time. We were all like, that’s what it’s going to be like. That’s going to be fun.

Does being a father change the way you approach material?

Sandler: More that I don’t want my kid to hear any of the albums that I’ve made.

Beckinsale: Oh my God, my kid has some stuff. I’m horrified.

Sandler: I’m sorry.

Beckinsale: I couldn’t figure out what’s going wrong because she kept saying to me, what was it, I had never even heard the whole thing, “They’re all gonna laugh at you.” What is that, is that you?

Sandler: Yeah.

Are you planning on doing more family oriented films, now that you’ve had a kid?

Sandler: No, no, no. I don't know what the hell I’m doing. It didn’t affect the way. I like what I’ve been doing. I believe in what I’ve done in the past and…I hope my kid enjoys the movies I’ve made and enjoys some of the movies in the future. I don't think she’s going to dig them until she’s maybe 14 or 15 or something.

How did you get Sean Astin to wear the speedo?

Sandler: Easy.

Beckinsale: Couldn’t get him out of it.

Coraci: He packed better in a speedo than most people would though.

Sandler: Strong legs, strong body, had somethin’ in there, so…

Beckinsale: I know what it was. I touched it. That was my payment for the driving lessons. It was like a ladies stocking with some dried peas in it. That’s what it was. This is the important stuff you’re asking me.

Adam, are you doing a comedy next?

Sandler: Yeah, a movie with Kevin James.

What’s it called?

Sandler: I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

How is it going?

Sandler: We’re just getting ready. I’m just taking the summer off to hang out with family and then we’re going to get rockin’ on that.

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at thomasleupp@joblo.com.

Source: JoBlo.com

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