Adam Sandler has achieved phenomenal success as an actor, writer, producer and musician, and his films have grossed almost $3 billion worldwide. For his latest feature, Grown Ups, he heads an all-star comedy cast of some of his closest friends to tell the story of five childhood friends who reunite 30 years later, when their beloved former basketball coach dies and leads them to return to the lake house where they celebrated their championship years earlier.
During a press conference to promote the film, Adam Sandler talked about writing for his friends, raising his kids with the Beverly Hills lifestyle, playing Salma Hayek’s husband and feeling like a grown-up himself. He also talked about producing the new “Gong Show,” writing Born to Be a Star, producing a film about Richard Pryor with Marlon Wayans in the lead role, and playing both male and female characters in Jack and Jill. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
Question: As the writer, did you write with this cast in mind?
Adam: Yes, I did. Me and Fred Wolf wrote the movie. The whole idea was about putting together old friends that get to hang out for a weekend. These guys are my old friends, so it made total sense. I’m glad they said yes to it.
As a father yourself, was this movie a way to exorcize the fear that you might have that you are raising elitist, Beverly Hills children that turn out terribly?
Adam: The idea of my kids being spoiled, I go to sleep thinking about it and I wake up thinking about. I’m trying to do the right thing. With the amount of money I have, it’s difficult to raise children the way I was raised. But, I took away the west and north wing of the house for those guys. They’re not allowed in there.
What drives you to succeed?
Adam: I don’t know what drives me to succeed. I know I want to always do the best I can. I never was like that, as a kid. I guess I was in little league baseball, as far as I wanted to be good at that, but I certainly wasn’t the best at school. But, this comedy thing, and making movies and stuff, I love it so much that I do get driven to push myself as hard as I can.
When did it actually dawn on you that you’re actually a grown up, or do you even feel like a grown-up yet?
Adam: When you’re around the kids, you feel like you act the most grown up just because you’re supposed to lead. I say things, like every other parent, that reminds you of your own parents. One thing I do know about being a parent, you understand why your father was in a bad mood a lot.
Why did you decide to include basketball in this film?
Adam: I grew up playing church league basketball. It was a big part of my town. I thought that, instead of doing a movie about high school, it would be easier if we made it church league basketball kids. That way, when you see them in the past, it’s easier to buy little kids as us, instead of high school kids. Sixth grade was a big time, in my childhood, of hoops and friendship, and coming up with funny things. That’s what the movie is. Our kids are that age. We thought that that’s when it starts. You see the contrast of childhood now, compared to what we were like as kids. So, that’s why I picked the 12-year-old basketball thing. That was a big part of my life. The cast all play a little bit of ball, so we just thought that would be interesting.
How much ad-libbing went on during filming?
Adam: There was a lot of ad-libbing and a lot of jokes. I wasn’t shocked by anybody, but everybody who watches the movie loves Spade. I think they’re used to every one of us doing good work and not used to David doing anything good.
Is there a consensus among this cast, as to who is actually the funniest?
Adam: Everybody’s got their own thing. I’ll tell you, Spade is incredibly funny. He drops the most destruction bombs on you. He’s quick as hell. Everybody’s got their moments. KJ is incredibly funny. He has different ways of being funny in conversation. When KJ texts me, I laugh like a buffoon, for five minutes. I don’t write that LOL because I’m a comedian and I think other comedians would go, “Are you fucking kidding me? LOL?” So, I just write, “Good one!” [Chris] Rock is one of the funniest guys I’ve ever seen in my life, with just summing up something and having a different slant on it. You’re just like, “That is amazingly accurate and I can’t believe I’ve never said that out loud. I never even thought that.” He makes you think straight. His comedy’s just genius.
What made you decide to cast Salma Hayek in this role?
Adam: We talked about doing a movie for a long time. Salma was available. She almost was in Zohan. She almost was in a bunch of movies, but they didn’t time out right. This one timed out great. It was fun being married to Salma, in the movie. She’s a great girl.
Do you remember any funny stuff that got cut out that is going to be on the DVD?
Adam: I’m sure there’ll be a lot of stuff on the DVD that we babbled about. But, it ain’t that funny, if it ain’t in the movie.
Are you producing the new “Gong Show” with Dave Attell?
Adam: Yes, our company is involved. Attell is funny. I went down to the studio and watched a couple shows. It’s pretty disgusting.
Can you talk about Jack and Jill? What is that about and who do you play in it?
Adam: I play me, and I play my twin sister. The man version of me is doing okay. He’s got a family out in L.A. The twin sister of me is in the Bronx and comes out to L.A. for Thanksgiving, and then refuses to leave, and is spoiling the man version of my family’s life a little bit.
Adam: There’s a mocked up picture of me in my house that we made and my daughter, Sadie, loves it. Every time I talk about Grown Ups coming out, she’s like, “Jack and Jill?” I said, “I have to do Grown Ups first,” and she said, “And then, Jack and Jill?” I said, “Well, no, I’m doing one with [Jennifer] Aniston that’s going to be good,” and she said, “Jack and Jill?” We’ll get to Jack and Jill. She’s excited about it.
You wrote but are not in Born to Be a Star?
Adam: Yes. I enjoyed writing it. I had this idea, but I’m about 15 years too old for it, so we wrote the movie for Nick Swardson. I think he is a funny kid.
Is it a different kind of creative satisfaction for you?
Adam: It’s the same stuff. I like sitting and writing with my buddies. That movie was great because I helped write it with [Allen] Covert and [Nick] Swardson. Then, they went and shot it, and I had nothing to do with that. Then, I got to watch it and laugh. That’s actually a nice thing.
Are you still producing the Richard Pryor film with Chris Rock?
Adam: Yeah, we are doing that Richard Pryor movie. Marlon Wayans is going to play Pryor. We’ll see what happens. It hasn’t really got rolling yet. We’re just talking about it right now.