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Adam Sandler Talks About "Spanglish"

Playing a Dad Onscreen and Working with James L. Brooks


Adam Sandler Spanglish

Adam Sandler stars in "Spanglish"

© Columbia Pictures
Academy Award-winner writer/director/producer James L. Brooks, the man behind such acclaimed films as "Terms of Endearment" and "As Good as It Gets," brings to the screen a story of family, love, and the collision of cultures with "Spanglish," starring Adam Sandler, Tea Leoni, and Paz Vega.

Adam Sandler stars as John Clasky, one of the best chef's in America. John's a good man who is solidly devoted to his family, quietly putting the wants and needs of his family above his own. In casting Sandler in the role, writer/director Brooks felt Sandler could handle the dramatic aspect of the part, and knew Sandler's personality and strength of character would bring the right touch to the role of John.

"I tried to cast Adam for a small part in a picture back when he was on ‘Saturday Night Live.’He came into the office and there was a quality about him that really stuck with me,” recalls Brooks, adding, "He’s one of the best human beings I’ve ever met. You get a lot of pleasure from working with him. He’s a walking tutorial on how we should deal with each other."


Are you looking to get away from the kind of comic roles that launched your career?
I’m not looking to get away from anything. I like what I’ve done. I like what I get to do, and I enjoy working with my friends. I loved those movies but this is incredible. Jim Brooks, when I met him a long time ago - a quick ‘hello’ kind of thing - I loved his movies, every one he’s done. So the fact that 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.”

Do you ever fear too much success like your chef character in this film is worried about getting four stars?
I mean, that’s an incredible speech. I understand that speech, but to be honest with you, when I got into this I never thought about reviews. I never thought about what people would say about me. I just was 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. The fact that my character [in “Spanglish”] is that aware of the consequences [of fame], I think that’s pretty amazing. I wasn’t like that in real life, no.

You have a history of playing characters who don’t hold anything in. How hard is it to play a character who internalizes so much?
Jim coached me through every scene and told me what he wanted. If I would be internalizing, that was in the writing and directing. But I think the character just wants his family to make it and he wants everybody to live in a house where you’re not walking on eggshells. And to lose it and snap and make people uncomfortable in the house would only add to that, so I think he was just using his brain.

You’ve played a dad before on screen and you play a father in this movie. Do you have any aspirations to be a real-life dad?
(Smiling) I just recently started trying. (Laughter) I’m doing the best I can. [It] 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. I do want children.

I study dads more. I watch what they go through. I admire my father more than I ever did at my age, and my brother and my sister. The thing that I always think about with my parents, and what I think John Clasky is similar to, is when my parents would get a phone call, their friends would say, “Hey, we’re going away to Bermuda this weekend. You want to come?” And my parents would say, “Oh, really?” And the other people would say, “We’re not bringing the kids though.” My parents would go, “No kids? Oh no, we can’t go then.” That was my father’s sacrifice and my mother’s. They didn’t care about anything but the kids, and I feel like that’s a big part of John Clasky.

Do you plan your career step-by-step or just do whatever grabs you at the time?
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, and just imagine looking back on my career in that year, I’ll get to say this happened.” I do love the movies I’ve done in the past. I work hard in my movies and my friends work hard. We’re trying to make people laugh and 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.’ Let’s take a look at that,” I know I’m going to be very proud of it.

PAGE 2: Adam Sandler on Cooking Skills, Speaking Spanish, and Family

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