Adam Sandler ('Spanglish')
'The Star-Spangled Actor Speaks!'
Adam Sandler was born on the 9th September 1966 in Brooklyn, New York to Jewish parents, Judy and Stanley. At 17, he took his first exhilarating step towards becoming a stand-up comedian when he spontaneously took the stage at a Boston comedy club. He found he was a natural born comedian. Adam nurtured his comedic talent while at New York University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1991.
By performing regularly in clubs and at universities, during his freshman year, he snagged a recurring role as The Huxtable's friend Smitty on 'The Cosby Show' (1984). While working at a comedy club in L.A, he was "discovered" by Dennis Miller. Dennis caught Adam performing an act at the club one night and recommended him to 'Saturday Night Live' (1975) producer, Lorne Michaels and told him that that Adam had a big talent. This led Adam on to a place on the show in 1990. As well as performing, Adam also wrote for the show.
After SNL', Adam went on to the movies, starring in many hit movies, including 'Happy Gilmore' (1996), 'Billy Madison' (1995), 'Big Daddy' (1999), 'The Wedding Singer' (1998), 'Mr. Deeds' (2002), 'Eight Crazy Nights' (2002), an the highly-acclaimed 'Punch-Drunk Love' (2002).
Recently, the man with a most morbid dread of the press sat down with us to help promote his brand new feature, 'Spanglish' - a very atypical Sandler film, with veteran James L. Brooks at the helm. A detailed character study of a marriage in crisis with Sandler cast as a successful chef trying to hold his family together, while being drawn to his beautiful, new Mexican maid!
Are you looking to take a huge step back from your slapstick roles these days? "I'm not looking to get away from anything," Sandler explains. "I like what I've done, what I get to do and I enjoy working with my friends. I loved those movies but this is incredible. I met Jim Brooks ['Spanglish' writer/director/producer] a long time ago, a quick hello kind of thing, and I loved all his movies, so when he wrote a movie and he wanted me to be in it, I was extremely excited. But, in my head I didn't say, 'oh, I'm gonna run away from my other stuff', I was just like 'yeah, I'd like to do that too."
Sandler says that he modelled his latest character, a well-intentioned family man, after members of his own family. "This character feels so much like my brother, who has two children, a wife and he works with me. He chooses to stay in New Hampshire because he wants his kids to grow up in the school they started with and doesn't want them to lose friends. He is his family's hero. When I was in Florida when we had Thanksgiving, the last image I saw was my bother with his two kids and his wife, hanging out on the beach swimming and it reminded me of Spanglish, just the fact that this guy gave me a wave, said 'love ya' but he was like these are my kids and I want to make sure they have a great day in Florida. I admire that. That's how I got to grow up and that's how I plan on raising my kids."
As this film enables you to test the waters of screen paternalism, could we assume that you also have hopes for fatherhood in your own life also?! "I just recently started trying, doing the best I can," Sandler laughingly admits. "Feels good to try but playing a father, I'm getting a little older. I see now that I'm taking it more serious and I do want that lifestyle and do want children," adding that he studies dads more. "I watch what they go through and admire my father more than I ever did, as well as my brother and sister. The thing that I always think about with my parents and what I think my character is similar to, is when my parents would get a phone call 'hey, we're going away to Bermuda this weekend. You want to come? But, we're not bringing the kids'. My parents would go 'no kids? Oh no, then we can't go'. That was my father and mother's sacrifice. They didn't care about anything but the kids and I feel like that's a big part of my character."
Sandler remains somewhat philosophical about his career, not adopting a specific plan as to whether a film such as 'Spanglish,' somehow fits into an overall plan. "I look back at it afterwards. When Jim offered this to me, I didn't say 'well this will go perfectly with what I'm looking to do'. I do love the films I've done in the past, I work hard in my movies and my friends work hard and we're trying to make people laugh, I'm very proud of that. But, looking back at my career, when I end up having kids and I say 'throw in that Spanglish and let's take a look at that', I know I'm going to be very proud of it," Sandler says, smilingly.
Are you still concerned about what people write about you with regard your film roles and such? "When I got into this I never thought about reviews or what people would say about me. I was just a young guy who was excited to become a comedian and an actor and I just wanted to get to do what I got to do. I think that it's pretty amazing, that my character [in 'Spanglish'] is that aware of the consequences of fame, because I wasn't like that in real life."
Asked about his own family and advice he was given growing up, Sandler offers a reflective pause. "I never had a speech from my father 'this is what you must do or shouldn't do' but I just learned to be led by example. My father wasn't perfect. He had a temper which I took some of. He would snap but the older he got, he started calming down. He learned about life but the thing that he taught my whole family was that family was the most important thing and, no matter what, if a family member needs you, you go and help them out, you get there. He just made us feel comfortable and respectful to other families, as well as my mother."
Sandler continues to try new things. He'll be next seen in the remake of 'The Longest Yard' and is expected to star in the fantasy comedy 'Click,' but beyond that, Sandler is non-committal!
Back To Archives