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Character Adam Sandler gave up career as a dentist
Placed by : Looking for Dental 04-04-2007
Adam Sandler arrives at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills alone, having chosen to chauffeur his own US$50,000 Cadillac DTS instead of using the limousine service typically offered to Hollywood stars.
With his feet firmly planted on the ground, Sandler is as humble as the biggest stars are, although his well-known sense of humor is always on display. He isn't a fan of press interviews, but this time he made an exception to talk about his personal life, the passage of time in Hollywood, and a shift in direction in his career.
He is publicizing his newest movie, "Reign Over Me," which is "about a man who goes through a terrible time when he loses his entire family on 9/11" in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
"He pretends he never had a family and only faces up to the earliest times in his life," Sandler explained, "until one day he runs across a classmate from dentistry school (Don Cheadle) who makes him feel comfortable. The film is about friendship."
It's also about isolation and mental illness - the post-traumatic stress still suffered by many survivors of the September 11 attacks.
Q: Are you still in touch with your own college roommates?
A: Yes, yes. I'm still very friendly with my roommates. I went to New York University and you're given four roommates. One of them I see all of the time. The other three, maybe every eight years I bump into them, and every time I see them, it's like family. We've seen each other naked. We've shared shampoo. That's all you need.
Q: In "Reign Over Me," your character gives everything up overnight, including his career as a dentist, and starts over. During your career have you ever thought, "I want to leave it all behind and do something completely different?"
A: Nope, not yet. I understand what my character went through, why he did it, why he wouldn't want to go anywhere near a place that would remind him of life with a family. But no. I've never wanted to quit. I'm very fortunate: I get to do what I want.
Q: You turned 40 last year. Do you worry about getting old?
A: No. I've got my kid. I feel a little more relief that I don't have to think about myself too much. Man, I've had 39 years just talking about how great I am.
Adam Sandler was born in 1966 in Brooklyn, New York. His parents later moved to Manchester, New Hampshire, where he was the class clown. A career in acting had never occurred him until at the age of 17, one of his brothers challenged him to do stand-up at the Boston Comedy Club. He accepted and had enough success to keep working as a stand-up comedian while he studied Fine Arts at New York University.
Sandler gained international recognition for his work on "Saturday Night Live," the long-running TV show that gave birth to other well-know comedians such as Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd. Aykroyd who arranged for Adam to get his first movie role in "Coneheads." He started to be recognized in his own right when he starred in "The Wedding Singer" and in "The Waterboy," which grossed more than US$60 million during the first week of its release.
Sandler was considered for the part of Willy Wonka in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (Johnny Depp was signed), and as the taxi driver in "Collateral" (the role went to Jamie Foxx), but he chose to star in "Spanglish" instead.
When he's not acting, he is busy with another motion picture company, Happy Madison Productions, the creator of "Grandma's Boy," "The Master of Disguise" and "The Hot Chick," among others.
Only Jim Carrey is in contention with Sandler for the designation as highest-paid comic actor in Hollywood. Sandler was already earning US$25 million per movie when he demanded 20 percent of gross to act opposite Jack Nicholson in "Anger Management." His work in such films as "50 First Dates" (with Barrymore again), "The Longest Yard" (with Burt Reynolds and Chris Rock) and most recently, "Click" (with Christopher Walken), have kept him on the "A" list.
Not one to ignore trends, he also has his own Website, AdamSandler.com, which he uses to screen a new mini-movie each week from his production company, and the famous daily routines of the dogs Matzoball and Meatball.
Adam has also found time for a romantic life. He had a relationship with actress Alicia Silverstone before he met and married actress and model Jackie Titote in 2003.
Q: "Reign Over Me" (a song by The Who, repeatedly listened to by the lead character Fineman) is very different from your other movies.
A: It is pretty heavy material. I was scared to do it. My wife read it, and she encouraged me and said she thought I could do it. I'm just looking to make good movies and looking to be as good as I can be. I feel more comfortable doing comedies, but the fact that I got to try a few dramas made me feel I've tested myself a little.
Despite the serious theme of "Reign Over Me," Adam Sandler still manages to bring smiles to the moviegoer's face. It's surprising to see him starring in a movie that isn't a comedy. He even looks different, with long, shaggy Bob Dylan-style hair. "They made me a wig that I could put on in the morning," Sandler laughed. "It was fun. The long hair helped me hide and stay away from people, and that felt good."
Q: Was it your most challenging role?
A: Yes, absolutely. I rehearsed it and researched, and I didn't stop thinking about the guy until we wrapped.
I got a lot of information and met a lot of people who unfortunately went through what my character goes through. I saw how they dealt with the tragedy afterwards, and their day-to-day pain, and what they do to avoid the pain, and how they can't even leave their homes because they just don't want to see things or people.
They can't open up envelopes; they can't answer the phone. I met a lot of these people who were nice enough to tell me their stories. I tried to be my character as much as I could. I was relieved when it was over and I could get back to my own life.
Q: Did you research the kind of therapy used for survivors of catastrophes such as 9/11?
A: I did a lot of research and met a lot of people, a lot I met through their therapy sessions.
Q: Did they let you go to the actual sessions?
A: Yes, I went to some dealing with those issues. It was actually post-traumatic stress disorder that some were going through. It wasn't easy for them all the time, and I would only go inside if they were okay with it. If they needed me to leave, I would leave.
Normally they just let me sit and hang out with them and listen. They just want to get the word out about what they were going through.
Q: Were you afraid to do "Reign Over Me?"
A: When I read the script, I thought it was a pretty incredible movie, but I was afraid of it, and I just put it away. I said I couldn't do it. I was kind of scared of it, and then about a month later, I read it again. It was very moving, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. I wanted to challenge myself ... I just thought that it was a great role. It hurt my heart so much when I read it, and it also made me laugh. I wanted to accept the challenge of doing a role like this.
Q: Are you planning to make more dramas?
A: Uh, nope. It was like I had a headache almost every day on the set ... It was a lot of work, and emotionally I don't cry in real life. I'm just pretty light, and I don't get too heavy. I snap a lot, but I get over it pretty quick. This guy had to hold onto his pain, and I tried to do so throughout the shoot as much as I could. So I'm in no hurry to do that again.