The raunchy and outrageous comedy That’s My Boy tells the story of Donny Berger (Adam Sandler), an aimless loser who knocked up his smoking hot teacher when he was a teenager, and was left to raise their love child even though he was completely unprepared to be a parent. Now, 30 years later, Todd (Andy Samberg) is all grown up and a successful Wall Street executive who hasn’t seen his father in years. But, with Donny owing tens of thousands to the IRS, he figures that tracking down his son will not only give him the chance to ask for the money he needs to stay out of jail, but to also finally bond with his son.
At the film’s press day, actor Adam Sandler talked about the freedom of returning to R-rated comedy, why older women appeal to him, how Vanilla Ice came to be in the film, working with Andy Samberg, his own memories from leaving Saturday Night Live, developing the look and voice for the character, embarrassing his own children, and whether he’d like to do another R-rated comedy again soon. Check out what he had to say after the jump:
Question: What are the freedoms in going back to R-rated comedy?
ADAM SANDLER: It was fun to speak the way that I speak in my bathroom. It felt good to get it out there again. I don’t know. I grew up cursing a lot. It felt natural. My parents told me to stop. They weren’t enjoying my albums, and they weren’t enjoying a lot of the things I did with my life. And then, my father passed away and he’s not here to yell at me anymore. I bullied my mother and said, “Here comes some more dirtiness. Sit and enjoy it.” That’s what we did.
After your success in family movies, was it a tough decision to do this?
SANDLER: No. It was just a funny script. I liked the idea, and I liked the idea of hanging out with everybody. [Andy] Samberg actually called me up and told me that he liked it, and that got me excited. That’s it. I’ve done some stuff, in the past few years, where I’ve cursed a bit and it felt good.
What is it about romancing older woman that appeals to you?
SANDLER: I’m comfortable with it. I’ve always liked older ladies, ever since my mother would have B’nai B’rith at our house. I don’t know. They seem to be nice. They’ve seen it all. They’ve seen every penis size. They’ve seen some giants and they’ve seen some that don’t cause too much pain, and they’re nice about it. They find a way to compliment it, no matter what, so I’ve always liked older ladies, for that reason. Young ones are like, “Woah, I was expecting more dick there.” But, the older ones are like, “You know, I have a baby.”
Have you ever felt embarrassed by your parents?
SANDLER: My grandmother used to embarrass me more, when she would pick me up from school wearing a big fuzzy hat. I didn’t like that.
How did Vanilla Ice come to be playing your best friend in the film?
SANDLER: The way it happened was that the script said I was friends with a star that I hung out with in the late ‘80s and we became friends and were both at the height of our fame together. When we were talking about who it should be, my wife said, “Vanilla Ice would be the best,” and everybody got excited for Vanilla Ice. So, we called up Rob [Van Winkle] and Rob came by the office and I told him about the part. I said, “It’s fun. You’re actually going to be cool in the movie. You’re a good friend. There will be jokes about what you do over a career, and stuff like that.” And he said, “Sure, anything you want to do.” He was very loose and very cool.
How did you end up with Susan Sarandon and her daughter as the older and younger versions of the character you had a child with?
SANDLER: The idea was that whoever plays the teacher, it should be a mother-daughter team. Instead of doing the make-up for 30 years later and putting a lot of make-up on an actress, it would be fun to get a pair, and those two were great. They said, “Yes.” They’re both pretty damn funny in the movie.
What made you decide on Andy Samberg to play your son?
SANDLER: We knew each other for the last few years, our names are similar, our looks are a little bit similar, and our backgrounds are similar. The Judaism is quite similar.
What did you enjoy about working together?
SANDLER: Well, I really loved him. We got tighter and tighter. I would keep saying to Andy, and my buddies about Andy, that he’s similar to me, but a little better, a little smarter and a little better looking. He’s got all good angles. I can fake being good looking, if I’m looking dead at you, but when I move left or right, it’s like, “What the fuck is that?!” Andy can turn his head and you’re still like, “All right, I like that.” He’s just a hard-worker with comedy chops. It’s all about being funny and coming up with stuff that you feel is fresh and that makes you laugh. He gave me good stuff, in the movie. He gave me good lines to say. I would finish a take and Andy would say, “What if you say this to me?” That’s not a common thing in my life, where co-stars are looking out for me and saying, “Try this joke.” He would sit in his trailer, writing jokes for me. It was good. It was beautiful. Whatever he wants to do with his future is going to happen. He’s a little less nuts than me. When I was his age, I was a little more obsessed with kicking ass. He’s obsessed with having a good life, and I like that. He’s going to have a nice life, and he’ll also kick ass, if he wants to.
Do you remember what you felt when you left Saturday Night Live?
SANDLER: You’re scared when you go. SNL is a home. You’ve got all of your brothers and sisters there, and it’s a great time. There are 20 shows a year and you’re definitely going to get on some of them and get to do your thing. When that goes away, there’s no life jacket. You’re just on your own and you’ve gotta figure it out. You feel like, “All right, I’ve done what I want to do. I don’t want to repeat myself too much. I’ve gotta figure out some other creative things to do.” I remember watching the show after I left and I was like, “Oh, shit, they can do it without me! That hurts!” They do it quick. None of them are going, “Oh, man, I miss that guy!” They’re like, “All right, get that guy out of the fuckin’ way and let me go!” It hurts to watch, in the beginning, and then you start loving it again. You miss it, but you’re also glad those guys are doing it and you’re at home watching.
How did your director, Sean Anders, end up on this project, since you hadn’t worked together before?
SANDLER: With Sean and his buddy John [Morris], I loved their movie. I saw Sex Drive one night on television. Me and my 10 friends had a plane ride somewhere and, one by one, I was going, “You’ve gotta watch this Sex Drive movie.” They all plugged in the headphones and watched it, and everybody loved it. I was like, “I’ve gotta meet with those guys. They’re pretty great.” And then, we had a meeting and we hung out a little bit. When it came to doing this, my usual guys who I work with and love were all busy and the plate was full, so no one could jump on this. So, I said, “Let me have a meeting with that guy from Sex Drive,” and that’s how it happened. They started writing drafts. He and his partner, John, are just animals. You could give them a thought, and literally the next day or two days later, they had another 20 pages that they would rewrite. They’re great guys with great instincts and similar tastes in what we think is funny. We just had a great time. I think Sean just connected with the movie, like I connected. I really loved playing Donny Berger.
How did you come up with the voice and the mullet for Donny Berger?
SANDLER: The hairdo was a last-minute choice. I grew up with that voice. I’m from New England and I heard that voice on many, many drunk people. I got beat up by that voice, many times. But, I enjoyed being that guy and the hair helped me not look so much like Adam Sandler. It was nice to be the wigged-up Adam Sandler.
As a dad, have you accepted the fact that eventually you’ll be embarrassing to your daughters, or is that something you look forward to?
SANDLER: No, I don’t look forward to it. I think I embarrass her now. I wear shorts a lot. My kids do ask me to put pants on when I go to school. They say, “Can you just one time wear pants?” Every time I get out of the car, I look down and go, “I’ve got those fuckin’ shorts on again! She’s gonna yell at me.” Yeah, I’ll embarrass them, I’m sure. I’m getting older, and it happens. You don’t care as much. I don’t care about too much anymore. I’ve got to think about that a little bit. My father used to wear the same pants for a week, and I remember I was like, “Holy shit, my friends have been over three times this week and they’ve seen him in the brown pants. Can I please convince this guy to put on some blue pants, for the day?” I’m sure I’ll be that guy and humiliate the kids.
Do you want to do another R-rated comedy soon?
SANDLER: If a movie comes to me that is rated R and I like it and connect with it, I would do that. But, it wasn’t a choice. I don’t know what I’m doing next. I never know what’s coming next. I definitely yell at people in my life going, “What the fuck am I doing next?!,” a lot. But, I don’t really ever know what’s happening.