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  • Feature: Adam Sandler and Bedtime Stories

    Tue, 23 Dec 2008 10:07:46

    Feature: Adam Sandler and Bedtime Stories - The seasoned comedian takes a stab at kiddie humor

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    Being a parent himself, Adam Sandler finally decided to make his first proper family film, Disney's Bedtime Stories.

    "I wanted to do a family movie for a long time," he exclaims. "Every Sunday night when I was a kid, we'd watch the Disney movie with Kurt Russell. I was a big fan of Kurt Russell growing up. I wanted to be the modern day Kurt Russell. Now, I live in his old house. I have his old muscles. [Laughs] He has a very Semitic look. [Laughs] I loved Matt Lopez' script. I thought it was sweet. A lot of the time, kids end up seeing my movies anyway. Some of their mothers yell at me. They tell me I've corrupted their children and that I've influenced them to pee on walls. I wanted to make sure I did one movie in my career that mothers hugged me for. This could be it."

    This will definitely be it. It'll be hard for mothers not to hug Sandler after watching this whimsical, heartfelt fantasy. It has enough clever jokes to keep parents laughing and enough action to keep kids on the edge of their seats.

    Clad in a blue flannel button-up, white New York Yankees t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers, Sandler looks like a guy's guy. He could be one of the buddies that you drink beer and watch football with, only he's a bankable comic to boot. He's also an accomplished producer, overseeing his production company, Happy Madison, with his pals. And don't forget his hilarious, platinum-selling comedy albums.

    I wanted to make sure I did one movie in my career that mothers hugged me for. This could be it.

    One of the reasons for Sandler's success is that he never loses sight of where he came from. He keeps everything in the family, and all of his friends make cameos in Bedtime Stories, from Allen Covert to Rob Schneider. "We all wanted to do a kids movie," he explains. "Schneider always wanted to make a family movie. Covert has kids now. All my friends have kids now. We were excited to be in something we could play in the house and feel comfortable with our kids seeing it. I think that was it. Anybody who had a kid was welcome to be in the movie. It was a journey for all of us."

    This was quite a ride, especially with the special effects involved. Sandler also ran through a gamut of costume changes, deviating from his signature "dude" look. "I looked great in a cowboy hat. I think I was fantastic in the leather pants in the space scene, too," he chuckles. "I really looked good in the gladiator costume, though. I'm guessing I looked good anyway. When I walked out wearing my costumes, Keri Russell would always go, 'Oh my God,' and [director] Adam Shankman would always say, 'Oh, my God.'" [Laughs]

    Sandler's own experience with bedtime stories helped inform his character, Skeeter Bronson, to a degree. "I read in the morning a lot to my little daughter Sadie. I'm not great at the bedtime stories, though. The bedtime stories are supposed to put the kid sleep. My kids get riled up. My wife has to come in and go, 'Alright, get out of the room.'" [Laughs]

    Though he may not be the best bedtime storyteller, he's a hell of a team player. "I have fun doing everything from writing music to acting to producing. When I produce, I hang out and help try to get the best stuff on the screen. When I write, I sit down with my friends and try to come up with ideas. When I act, it's the same thing. We do it as a team. Everybody's helping everybody. Nothing's too tough."

    That teamwork led to some huge laughs. Even though he had to reel back his persona a tad, Sandler had a blast on set, especially working opposite Keri Russell. "I loved making this. Keri and I are both new parents. It's bizarre. Kids are laughing in the audience. I tear up I'm so happy. I think I did a nice thing. I'm so happy to hear kids laugh. I'm so happy it gives a place for the parents to take their kids. I keep thinking of Grandmas. My mother will take my kids to the movies. I think that's pretty cool."

    There probably won't be many grandparents and grandkids marching to see his next flick, Judd Apatow's Funny People, though. "Apatow's movie is scaring me. I'm very sick in the movie. I find out I'm dying. I have to do a lot of stuff. I have to think about stuff I don't like to think about. Doing Bedtime Stories, that was my dream when I was young. I came out here to be a comedian. I didn't come out here to do that other stuff. I can't believe I got to do Reign Over Me. That wasn't on my mind when I was a kid wanting to be a movie star. I wanted to be Eddie Murphy, and that's all I wanted to do. Now, I get these other opportunities and I do my best."

    In the end, Sandler spreads joy, and hope as well. "The 'I think I can' story was big in my life. My sister was going to dental school when I was into that story. She would be crying about how much studying she had, and my parents would put me on the phone with her and I'd be talking about the little engine that could, saying 'I think I can.' She said that helped her at least smile going through stuff. See all the joy I've been bringing people over the years!"

    In that sense, Bedtime Stories upholds a Sandler—and Disney—tradition.

    —Rick Florino

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    Tags: Adam Sandler, Keri Russell, Russell Brand, Rob Schneider, Allen Covert, Bedtime Stories

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