Adam Sandler storms back into theaters as you haven’t seen him in years. The leash is gone and he is firing R-rated jokes in That’s My Boy that should thrill his longtime fans. Movie Fanatic caught up with the superstar to talk his latest film, why Andy Samberg was perfect to play his onscreen son and how he found his inner Donny Berger.
In That’s My Boy, Sandler’s character is 15 when he has an affair with his teacher (Avi Amurri Martino, daughter of Susan Sarandon -- who plays her as a more mature woman later in the movie). He gets rich from capitalizing on his scandalous fame when the story becomes a national obsession. The teacher is sent to prison, but… she’s pregnant. So, Donny is charged with raising the child. When the kid turns 18, he wants nothing to do with his dad and leaves the drunken nest.
Movie Fanatic: Was it fun to let loose, as this is your first R-rated comedy in years?
Adam Sandler: It was fun to speak the way I do in my bathroom. I grew up cursing a lot, it felt good. My parents told me to stop -- they weren’t enjoying my albums. They weren’t enjoying a lot of things that I was doing with my life. And then, my father passed away and he’s not here to yell at me. So my mother, I bullied her and told her I’m going to be doing some more crazy stuff. I just enjoy it.
Movie Fanatic: In the film, it's not just your character who gets seduced by an older woman, it kind of becomes a thing later on... what is it about romancing older women that appeals to you for comedy?
Adam Sandler: I’ve always liked older ladies [laughs]. My mother had B'Nai B'rith in my 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. I’ve always liked older ladies for that reason. Young ones are like, “Whoa, I was expecting more dick there.” The older ones are like, “I can handle it baby.”
Movie Fanatic: Why Andy to play your son?
Adam Sandler: We knew each other the last few years and our names are similar and our looks are somewhat similar. The Judaism is quite similar [laughs].
Movie Fanatic: What was the highlight of working with Andy on That's My Boy?
Adam Sandler: I love the guy. We got tighter and tighter. I kept telling my buddies about Andy. He’s kind of similar to me, a little better… a little smarter. He’s a little better looking. He’s got all good angles. I can fake being good looking if I’m looking dead at you. When I move left or right, it’s like, “What the (expletive) is that?” [Laughs] Andy can turn his head either way and people are like, “Oh, I like him.” He has hard-working comedy chops. He reminds me of the guys I came up with as he knows it’s all about being funny. He gave me good stuff in the movie. We’d finish a take and Andy would say, “What if you say this…” That’s not a common thing in my life where co-stars are looking out for me and try this joke. It was beautiful. I think his future is whatever he wants to do with it. He’s a little more mellow than me. When I was his age, I was a little more obsessed with kicking ass. He’s obsessed with having a good life and I like that.
Movie Fanatic: Andy just left SNL. What was it like for you?
Adam Sandler: You’re scared. It’s a home. You have all your brothers and sisters there and it’s a great time. With 20-plus shows a year you’re guaranteed to definitely get on some of them and get to do your thing. You just get a feel like, “I’ve done what I’ve got to do. I don’t want to repeat myself too much. I’ve got to figure out some other things to do.” So, when that goes away, there’s no life jacket anymore. You’re on your own. I remember watching the show when I left. That was a funny thing. I was like, "Oh (expletive), they can do it without me!" They do that quick. There’s no, “Oh God, I miss that guy." It’s more like, “Thank God that guy’s out of the (expletive) way." So, it hurts when you watch it at the beginning.
Movie Fanatic: Seems like That's My Boy was a difficult shoot [laughs]…
Adam Sandler: We on the Cape (Cod) together at a beach house for five weeks, I mean, come on… it was just fantastic. We got to be funny. We got to curse!
Movie Fanatic: How did you come up with the voice and the mullet?
Adam Sandler: That hairstyle was a last day choice. I know that guy and the hair helped me not look like myself. It was nice to be wigged up. That voice, I grew up with… I’m from New England. I heard that voice on many, many drunk people. I got beat up by that voice a lot. [In character] “Who do you think you are, you (expletive) hot shot.” I knew guys like Donny Burger. I really love playing the guy. My friend Nick Swardson, who’s in the movie, every couple of weeks when I see him, he says, “Boy, I wish you were Donny. I miss that guy.”
Movie Fanatic: Part of the reason your onscreen son leaves you and starts his own life is because your Donny continually embarrasses him. Did your parents embarrass you?
Adam Sandler: My dad used to wear the same pants every day. And my friends would come over like three times a week and see him in those same brown pants. I was always like, “Dad, can you just once put on the blue pants?”