Adam Sandler on Funny People
By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures
Funny People casts Adam Sandler as wealthy, famous comedian who questions his values once he gets sick. George Simmons (Sandler) collapses under his own success once it doesn’t matter anymore. Even though Sandler has done family dramas and post-9/11 character studies, this was an exhausting performance.
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“It was a lot of work, this movie,” Sandler said. “When I finished it, I loved [writer/director Judd] Apatow and we hugged and I was very relieved to take a break. I don't know how these other actors go movie to movie and lose their mind in their roles and have a real life. I was happy to jump into my real life and be with my kids and wife and work on that part, but I’m sure if it comes down the road someday, Judd thinks it’s right or someone else thinks it’s right, but I’m not at night thinking, ‘God, I’ve got to get there again.’ I’m happy I got this one.”
Longtime friends on the upstart comedy circuit, Apatow knew just how to get such a performance out of Sandler. “Certain scenes were heavy and I knew Judd just went through stuff with his mom and I went through stuff with my dad. We saw firsthand what goes on with people who are incredibly sick so I wasn’t excited about diving into that but I knew it had to be done and I just did it. He knows everything. He knows a lot about me. Yes, that did help. He knows just stories that only Judd and I know, so he could bring those up and definitely bring me to different places. The only thing in my head I’d have to do is think Apatow will take care of me. I’ve got to let the secret out and just did.”
Simmons returns to standup to exorcise his pain, sometimes ranting at the audience he blames for his unfulfilling life. Just preparing material and going on stage was a struggle for Sandler.
“I’ll tell you what, doing standup when you’re 42 years old is a lot more pressure than it was [back then]. When I was in my 20s, I had a goal and that was to become a movie star. I was pretty crazy. I don't know why I was like that but I would go on stage. If I did great, I was like all right, we’re getting closer to me getting what I need. When I did bad, I would just hit my head and go, ‘Wow, those people didn’t understand how great I am.’ When you’re 42 years old and you go on stage and you say a joke and no one laughs, you’re just like, ‘Wow, why am I here right now? This is very humiliating.’ I was too dumb when I was young to even notice good or bad.”
Also, Sandler is now a family man. Simmons had to perform blue. “That’s right. I would tell Judd after every set I would do, this was stuff I haven’t done in a long time. I haven’t talked that filthy in front of people. People recognize me. I’ve been around a long time. I go on stage, these nice people who know me as a certain type of person and then I’m on stage and I’m as filthy as can be. I’m watching, some people are into it, some people are going, ‘No, don’t ruin it for us.’ Then I would drive home and I’d be in my driveway alone and I have my two little kids sleeping and I just felt like the biggest, dirtiest human being. I was mad at Apatow. Why am I doing this movie?”
Funny People opens to theaters July 31st.
For the poster, trailers, stills and more movie info, go to the Funny People Movie Page.
Sources: Images property of Universal Pictures
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