Adam Sandler plays dad to Andy Samberg (who recently confirmed he's leaving Saturday Night Live) in the comedy movie That's My Boy hitting theaters on June 15, 2012. The R-rated comedy allowed Sandler to get a little more raunchy with the jokes, freeing him up from the more teen/younger audience-friendly films he's been working on in recent years. And at the LA press conference for the Columbia Pictures release, Sandler discussed his return to the R-rated comedy world.
"It was fun to speak the way that I speak in my bathroom and get that out there again," said Sandler. "I grew up cursing a lot and it felt natural, and then my parents yelled at me and told me to stop. They weren't enjoying my albums. They weren't enjoying a lot of things that I did with my life, and then my father passed away and he's not here to yell at me anymore. My mother, I bullied her and I said, 'Here comes some more dirtiness. Enjoy it.' That's what we did."
Together with Samberg and Vanilla Ice (yes, that Vanilla Ice), Sandler also chatted about getting into character and the appeal of That's My Boy.
Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg and Vanilla Ice Press Conference for That's My Boy
Adam, you've had a lot of success in family movies. So, was this a tough decision?
Adam Sandler: "No, no. It was just a funny script. I liked the idea. I liked the idea of hanging out with these guys. Samberg actually called me up and told me that he liked it and that got me excited. That's it. I'd done some stuff in the past few years where I'd cursed a bit and it felt good."
What is it about romancing older women that appeals to you?
Adam 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, 'Whoa. I was expecting more d**k there.' The old ones are like, 'Yeah, no. I have a baby.'"
Have any of you ever been in a situation where you felt embarrassed by your parents?
Adam Sandler: "Not me, no. I'm sure everybody here has had moments. My grandmother used to embarrass me more when she'd pick me up from school wearing a big, fuzzy hat."
Vanilla Ice: "My mom always told me, 'Act smarter than you are and always know where your exit is in case you get into too much trouble.'"
This film, Rob, was an interesting take on your career and that song. When you look back at that, what are your feelings on everything that's happened and is there anything you'd change?
Vanilla Ice: "Well, after that weekend that lasted a few years…no. No, I look back and love it all. I mean, listen, it's a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle world out there right now. Obama grew up to that s**t. So, I'm excited to bring back some of the old school and reminisce a little bit. We've the 5.0 in the movie. I almost just wanted to stand up and do the Running Man for old times sake. It's great, and I'm glad that these guys called me up to be a part of it. It's amazing."
Adam Sandler: "The Ice Man was very cool about it, when I talked to him. The way that it happened was that with the script I was friends with a star that I hung out with in the late '80s and we became friends. We were both at the height of our fame together. We were talking about who it should be and my wife said, 'Vanilla Ice. That'd be the best.' Everyone got excited for Vanilla Ice. We called up Rob, and he came by the office and I told him about the part. I said, 'It's fun and you're actually going to be cool in the movie, like a good friend. There'll be jokes about what you do over a career,' and stuff like that. He said, 'Yeah. Anything you want to do.' He was very loose, very cool."
Andy Samberg: "I like the idea of kids reading the bio of Obama 20 years from now and it saying, 'Huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan.'"
How did you choose Susan Sarandon as your hottie, older lady love interest?
Adam Sandler: "That was Heather Parry. Her idea was that whoever was to play the teacher should be a mother/daughter team, that instead of doing the makeup for 30 years later and putting a lot of makeup on an actress, it'd be fun to get a pair and those two were great. They said yes. And pretty damn funny in the movie, both of them."
What came first, this story or the idea to use Andy as your son because you look alike?
Adam Sandler: "We got some looks, yes."
Andy Samberg: "Thank you."
Adam Sandler: "We knew each other for the last few years. Our names are similar and our looks are a little bit similar. What else is similar?"
Andy Samberg: "The mailman?"
Adam Sandler: "The Judaism is quite similar."
Andy Samberg: "Yeah. Loose, but there."
You're avoiding the question. What came first, the idea or the script?
Andy Samberg: "I can answer it. The script was written and then I heard that he was thinking about doing it and I was like, 'Holy crap, if there's ever a chance for me to play a part where I'm related to Sandler, this is it because I'm the right age younger than he is if he'd had a son with a teacher at the age of 15.' It's a classic tale."
Andy, it was just announced that you're leaving Saturday Night Live. What that's like for you?
Andy Samberg: "It's extremely emotional and sad for me, but I also just felt like it was the right time."
What was on the calendar that made you feel like the timing was right for this?
Andy Samberg: "It's not really to do with anything that I'm doing outside of the show or any kind of project that I'm moving on to. It was just more that I'd been there seven seasons. The digital shorts were incredibly demanding to get done so often. The two guys that I work with consistently, Akiva [Schaffer] and Jorma [Taccone], they're in The Lonely Island and had both been moving on for a while and had been coming back to help me out, but it was tough to keep them on the hook, so to speak. There really wasn't any one specific reason. It was more just a feeling that I had that it was time to move on."
Adam, what was it like when you left Saturday Night Live? Was it like getting out of prison?
Adam Sandler: "No, no. You're scared when you go. It's a home. SNL is a home. You've got all your brothers and sisters there and it's a great time, and you're guaranteed that it's 20 shows a year and you're definitely going to get on some of them and get to do your thing. So, when that goes away you're definitely like…there's no life jacket. You're just on your own and you have to figure it out. But like Andy said, you just have to feel like, 'All right, I've done what I had to do. I don't want to repeat myself too much. I think I have to figure out some other creative things to do,' and it's scary."
"I remember watching the show after I left and I was like, 'Oh, sh*t. They can do it without me.' That hurt, and they can do it quick. None of them are like, 'Oh, I miss that guy.' They're like, 'All right, get that guy out of the f**king way. Here we go,' but it hurts. 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 sometimes, too."
Andy, there have been some similarities between both of your early careers. Did you grow up as a fan of Adam?
Andy Samberg: "I can talk about being a fan of Adam's for like the next seven hours. I watched SNL since I was eight and wanted to be on it since I was eight. I remember when he came on the show. There was a lot of stuff that he did, but the moment that I was like, 'Oh, this is my guy,' was the Easy To Do Halloween Costumes on Update. He was like, 'Oh, I'm Jew guy. I'm under the desk man,' whatever. Under-the-desk–man, when he got under the desk and there was just a blank screen and him yelling up, I was like, 'You're allowed to do this on TV?' The crowd was going nuts and it felt like the kind of stuff…a lot of comedians talk about when you see some comedian or some sketch or some whatever movie, it feels like it's made just for you and that was definitely one of those moments. His time on the show was that for me, and then with the first couple of movies, Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, I was just at that impressionable age and I memorized those movies. I've said this before, but I had Billy Madison on audio cassette and I'd walk around town listening to it in my Walkman. It's like if I couldn't be in front of a TV I wanted to be hearing Billy Madison. So, I think it's safe to say that getting to work with Adam on this was kind of a dream come true for me."
Did you learn anything from him?
Andy Samberg: "Yeah, a lot. He taught me how to put on a rubber the right way. I've been doing it wrong for years. I have so many kids. He taught me. But also, he's not just an actor. He's a writer and a producer and getting to watch him have this whole team assembled and his crew that he brings back, he's so loyal to everybody, and there's this family environment on his sets, I think everyone here got to witness that and how incredible it is. It's the same as working on SNL, like he was saying, that it's a family. You definitely get that feeling from walking on to a Sandler movie where everyone knows each other and respects each other and there's an easy sort of shorthand that everyone has. The flow of production is really nice and kind of pleasant."
When you're going for laughs in a movie, do you have to worry about not only getting the laugh, but also how you got the laugh?
Andy Samberg: "It depends on your pallet, I suppose. The aftertaste is different for everyone."
Adam Sandler: "Yeah, that's good."
Andy, coming off the show and having this movie and Celeste and Jesse Forever which is a smaller movie, do you have certain ambitions for your career at this point?
Andy Samberg: "Obviously, I mean I hope I get to keep doing movies and hopefully I'll make another record with Lonely Island, stuff like that. But I'm trying to just be happy."
Rob, what was the experience of jumping in with all these comedy vets like for you?
Vanilla Ice: "I just get in where I fit in. I had no idea what to expect. I get there and everyone is just so cool. Adam was so down to earth, a family guy. It made it easy for me to just do what I had to do. It gave me freedom to go in there and be myself and enjoy it. Even off set we were playing guitars, and Peter Dante is back there keeping everyone's morale up. It's just a great cast, a great group of people, on or off the camera. They're fun to work with, and so it made it easy."
Adam Sandler: "And we were in a good place. We were on the Cape together, hanging out at a beach with that big house where these guys were getting married in the movie. We got to hang there for five weeks or so, and so it was just a fantastic hangout. We got to be funny. We got to curse and we got to get a tan."
Can you talk about working with Sean Anders who's a newer director?
Adam Sandler: Sean and his buddy, John [Morris], I love their movie. I saw Sex Drive. I saw Sex Drive one night on television and I had a plane ride, like me and my 10 friends, we were going somewhere. One by one I was going, 'You have to watch this Sex Drive movie,' and they were all plugging in their headphones and watching the movie and everyone loved it. I said, 'I want to meet with those guys.' They're pretty great, and then we had a meeting and we hung out a little bit, and then when it came to doing this, my usual guys that I work with who I love, they were all kind of busy. We were all filled up, their plates were full. So, no one could jump on this. So, I said, 'Let me have a meeting with the guy from Sex Drive,' and that's kind of how it happened. Then they started writing drafts."
"He's just an animal, him and his partner John. You just give a thought and the next day, it was literally that quick, or two days later they had another 20 pages that they'd rewrite and just great guys with great instincts and similar tastes in what we think is funny in a rated R film. I don't know if we have a similar PG-13 taste. But rated R we just had a great time. I think Sean is just connected with the movie, like me. I knew guys like Donny Berger and I really loved playing the guy. Actually, my friend Nick Swardson who's in the movie, every couple of weeks when I see him, he just goes, 'Boy, I wish you were Donny. I miss that guy.'"
Rob, now that you've been bitten by the acting bug again and are back in front of the camera, any chance of a Cool As Ice 2?
Vanilla Ice: "Hey, man, you never know. Yesterday's history and tomorrow is a mystery. I take it day by day, man. Get in where you fit in and enjoy the ride. You never know about it."
Adam, we heard from Andy about what it was like to work with you. What was it like working with him?
Adam Sandler: "Well, I really loved him. We got tighter and tighter. I would keep saying to Andy and to my buddies about Andy, he's kind of 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, like, if I'm looking dead at you, but if I move left or right, it's like, 'What the f**k is that?' Andy can turn his head and you're still like, 'All right, I like that.'"
"He's just a hard worker. He's got comedy chops. Him and [Will] Forte are similar to the way that me and my buddies were back in the day where it's all about being funny and all about coming up with stuff that you feel is fresh and makes you laugh. He really gave me good stuff in the movie, gave me good lines to say. I would finish a take and Andy would say, 'What about if you this,' and that's not a common thing in my life, where a costar is looking out for me, saying, 'Say this, try this joke.' He was in his trailer and Will, too, writing jokes for me. It was good. It was beautiful. I think his future, whatever he wants to do with it, it'll happen. He is a little less nuts with me. When I was his age I was f**king 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."
How did you come up with the voice and the mullet for this character?
Adam Sandler: "That was a last day choice. The voice, I grew up with that voice. I grew up in New England and I heard that voice on many drunk people and I got beat up by that voice many times. 'You little f**king hot shot.' But I just 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 for a second."
With language like this in a film, do you have to finesse people to be willing to say this stuff or are they rushing to do it, especially when you have younger actors saying dirty things?
Adam Sandler: "That's a good one."
Are your surprised that you're able to have young kids talking like that?
Adam Sandler: "I think as you read the script you go from there. Parents who are involved with their kids acting in a movie, any movie, if your kid is in Goodfellas, you read that script and if your kid's part calls for him chopping someone's head off or something that's what he's going to do. That's what this movie called for, the kid was growing up in a home like that and is in a situation where it has happened before. We built some comedy around it, but we know that it's a serious situation. He said his lines. He came up with some good ones on his own and that's kind of what happens."
You're a dad. Have you accepted the fact that you'll be embarrassing to your daughter eventually, or is that something you look forward to?
Adam Sandler: "Actually, I don't look forward to it. I do embarrass her now, I think. I wear shorts a lot and my kids do ask me to put pants on when I go to school. 'Can you just one time wear pants?,' and every time I get out of the car I look down and I go, 'I got those f**king shorts on again. She's going to kill me.' Anyways, I'm going to embarrass them, I'm sure. I'm getting older and that happens. You don't care as much. I'm definitely at that age, by the way. I don't care too much anymore. I have to think about that because my father used to wear the same pants for a week. I remember that, and I'm like, 'Holy sh*t. My friends have been over three times this week and they see me in the brown pants.' 'Can I please convince this guy to get on some blue pants for a day?' But, yeah, I'm sure I'll be that guy and embarrass my kids."
Not having done a film like this in a while, if it goes well do you see yourself doing more of these?
Adam Sandler: "I think I just liked the script. I thought that it was funny. I identified, or not identified with myself, but I knew this guy. So, that's what made it exciting and it made sense that this type of guy got loose and cursed and drank and cracked people with beer bottles and stuff. I've seen this guy. It wasn't a career choice where I said, 'I want to move my life into rated R.' If a movie comes to me that's rated R again 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 f**k am I doing next?' a lot. But I don't really ever know what's happening."
How do you deal with the fear of failure, the question if you'll ever work again? How do you overcome that?
Vanilla Ice: "You keep your hustle tight and you never get caught slippin' on your pimpin'. If you get caught slippin' on your pimpin', you're up sh*t creek without a paddle. So, learn how to swim through the trenches and get to the other side and when you get there it'll be paradise for you."
Are you always thinking in deep wisdom and mad rhymes, Rob?
Vanilla Ice: "It depends on the day, yeah."
Adam Sandler: "He's a positive man, Rob, always looking at the bright side."
Vanilla Ice: "That's it, man. That's one thing I've learned. I live off these little phrases. We are who we are because of who we were which I had to accept, and there's a little truth to that. It's not all jokes, but these little phrases, they're more valuable than thousands of dollars worth of therapy to me. They make sense. Be yourself and enjoy yourself. Show me a smile and I'll show you one back. They're contagious. Karma, believe in it. It's real. It comes back to you. Show me who your friends are and I'll show you who you are. This type of sh*t. So, it works for me. Stay positive and good things happen. Look where I'm at."
Adam Sandler: "It does work for him, too. He's a solid man."
Vanilla Ice: "I was in the trenches, trying to get to the other side. Sh*t creek. I found a paddle. He helped with the other paddle and here we are."
Andy, is there something that you're looking forward to away from SNL, a big vacation or you just about working right now?
Andy Samberg: "It's too soon. I don't even know. I'm still processing that I said I was leaving the show. I mean, I might go on a cruise with Will Forte. It's not a couple's cruise. It is a couple's cruise, but we're going as friends that are a couple. I don't know. I hope to have a beer on the beach. That image sticks out. That'll be nice. I'll drink responsibly."