Adam Sandler may not do too many interviews for the print media, but when he does, he is effortlessly funny and charming. Promoting his newest film Click, in a Beverly Hills hotel room, Sandler says that venturing into somewhat darker territory in this new comedy/drama, was certainly a challenge.
"I felt like with the remote control itself we had a lot of jokes and humour in the movie, but the thing that was attractive to all of us was that second half of the movie. I thought people who had seen some of my movies in the past can handle it, in that we give enough jokes to relax you but it gets heavier than we've ever had before in one of our movies."
Click casts Sandler as a workaholic architect, who has been overlooking his family in favor of his career, and who comes across a universal remote that allows him to perform TiVo-like functions on his life, such as pausing events or fast-forwarding over them. When the remote begins creating its own memory and choosing what to fast-forward over, the man sees how much of his personal life has passed him by and realizes the importance of spending more time with his family.
Sandler says that he connected with the film's thematic elements from the outset, reflecting on his own relationship with his father. "We all read this thing and connected to it because when you're shooting a movie you are away from home most of the time. It's amazing that we get to do what we get to do, but you definitely are away from the family more than you'd like to be and time keeps passing." At near 40, Sandler concedes that, "looking back on the past 10 years of my life I've been at work more than I've been at home, so I connected with this movie. By the end of the movie, when I watched the playback the other day, I was excited to get home and do the right thing - be with the family, and I've heard a few people comment on that."
Sandler fans will be surprised at some of those darker places to which the actor ventures in the second half of Click, including some very emotional moments with co-star Henry Winkler, who plays Sandler's father. Sandler says those scenes were tough, especially given the fact that he lost his own father a few years ago. "I had a different relationship with my real father than I did in the movie. I never thought my dad was a pain in the ass like my character does, but you know the actual finding out your father is sick or is dying was easy as an actor to play, because it was very fresh."
Given a choice, however, between doing comedy or drama, for Sandler, there is no contest. "I'm much more comfortable showing up that day knowing we got a funny scene coming, but that day where I had to be upset over my father in the movie was tough, because I don't like sitting in my trailer being depressed all day and looking at pictures and I'm glad when it's over. It feels like a relief, and if I think I did the best I could do I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. But I'd rather go to work and fart in David Hasselhoff's face."
As to the parallels between Click and the 1940s classic It's a Wonderful Life, Sandler admits to the similarities. "It definitely has a learning lesson about the way you're living your life. I wouldn't compare our movie to that, but it has a structure where it's about a man who doesn't appreciate all that he has and finds out at the end that life has been great and he has to enjoy that. They have similarities, no doubt about it."
As Click explores the often frenetic journey of fatherhood, Sandler reflects on his own real-life fatherhood, now with a month old baby girl. "The baby situation is great and I love that kid," Sandler says, with paternal pride. "Every day I get more and more excited and I feel comfortable with her. I just want her to feel comfortable with me as I'm a little bit clutsy," he says, laughingly. "My arms aren't perfect for the kid's head when I hold her." As for changing diapers, one gets a feeling he is more than happy to let others take charge. "I see that go on," Sandler says, laughingly. "Cheering on my wife, I say 'good feeding' many times, 'way to go', 'nice milk' " But he didn't pass out in the delivery room, he points out. "No, I saw that through and that was heavy. I was shocked by the bird-like image coming out of the egg."
Sandler says he named his new daughter Sadie Madison, "after my father and my wife's grandpa, so the kid's name is Sadie Madison. My wife wanted Madison for her grandfather and to have some New York in the kid so what the hell." Sandler adds that so far, nothing has particularly surprised him about fatherhood. "I knew I would be excited, I was dying to do it and it's a lot of fun. I guess what IS surprising, is that the kid looks through me, so every time I think the kid likes me I'm like, oh, she's staring at my forehead right now."
It is no surprise that Sandler says that, for the most part, he loves his life, "and then 2:30 rolls around and I'm the angriest man alive." And professionally, Sandler continues to keep his fans his fans guessing, as he will next be seen in writer/director Mike Binder's 9/11 drama, Empty City, a film he says he finds difficult to talk about. "I don't know how to describe the movie, or how to I can't wait for Mike Binder, the man who wrote it, and hear him discuss it, because I don't know how to phrase this, but it's just about a man who's lost his family in 9/11 and he has a hard time just living life and just being in the moment. He doesn't want to know about life and tries to pretend he never had a family. Don Cheadle plays and old friend and we went to dental school together. My character hasn't spoken to anybody in five years and Cheadle makes him feel comfortable, so is about friendship, I guess. It's a really interesting script, Mike Binder did a great job with it and I saw some of it recently and it's a heavy-duty movie."
Sandler may be turning 40 come September but he says he has no concerns about that next milestone. "I got my kid, I feel a little more relief that I don't have to just think about myself too much. Man, I've had 39 years just talking about how great I am. It's time, at age 40, to talk about the kid."