Adam Sandler, Leslie Mann and Jonah Hill Press Conference
1. The film deals with the lives and loves of the comedy scene, why was the L.A. comedy scene just so ripe for the Hollywood treatment?
Jonah Hill: I just think it’s an interesting subject ground of starting out in comedy, and sot of the competitiveness, eagerness to succeed, and what that takes for something that seems to be fun and joyous is not as fun and joyous as you think it would be.
Leslie Mann: I think people are interested in it, interested to see a behind the scenes look into that world, I think it’s a very honest portrayal of that life.
Adam Sandler: It’s cool in the movie where they show young Leslie, and when it shows what Jonah, Seth and Jason are going through at the start, and then there’s my guy who has achieved so much in his career and when you’re Jonahs age, how exciting it is and then when you’re my guys age he’s not appreciative of it anymore and it has just become his life. It was just an interesting subject that Judd thought would be fun to tell.
2. Adam, it’s a terrific performance, how much of you is actually in there and Leslie, how did your daughter feel about that video clip being in the film?
Adam Sandler: Judd would show that clip to the crew, I remember we were shooting a scene in a supermarket and Judd would be like ‘does anyone wanna see Maude sing?’ we watched it and literally everyone started crying and saying how beautifully the kid was singing, and then when we were shooting the scene and my character’s not too excited about seeing Maude sing, and I had to be in character, in real life Leslie was as angry as I’d ever seen her she was like ‘that’s my daughter’ and I said ‘I know, I’m doing my guy right now’ and she said ‘no no you meant that’.
In terms of the character, I have a new thought about the movie, Judd and I were room mates in College when I was twenty two and he was twenty one and he knows me best as that guy and he doesn’t fully understand that I’ve progressed another twenty years in my life, he still thinks I’m a horny young man, I’m not quite as horny, it depends what my wife is wearing!
3. In the film, George’s reason for becoming a stand up comedian was to get his fathers approval is that the the same for a lot of comedians and why did you get into comedy?
Adam Sandler: I’m sure everyones got their back story, I don’t come from a place where I was tortured where I had to let something out, I came from a very happy home, a little out of control at times but my family all liked to be funny, always wanting to make each other laugh, and yeah I like it the most when my father laughed at my stuff but that wasn’t cause I wanted his approval, I was just happy that he was happy.
It was a relief for him when I went into this business, my mother was very encouraging, but my father was like maybe you need to be a funny sales man. My career wasn’t about getting my fathers approval, it was about making some cash so he could rest.
Leslie Mann: Sure it’s nice to have my mothers approval, even though she doesn’t really give it to me, I’m sure I’ll have it one day, but sure that’s part of it
Jonah Hill: My parents were pretty supportive, my dad made it very clear that I wouldn’t get another dollar from him, he was like ‘I just want you to be happy, but you have to support yourself, so it was a risk but now they’re really psyched because there were a few years where it looked like I wouldn’t amount to much, I think they were relieved at that because I came out of that with a really strong work ethic and succeeded in what I wanted to do and made me happy.
4. If each of you had to give a bit of advice to an aspiring comic, what would it be?
Jonah Hill: Be yourself.
Adam Sandler: Figure out who you are, it does take a while as a stand up to figure out who you are and how you want to represent yourself, and why you thought you should get into the business. It did take me five, six years when I was doing stand up to actually be develop a comfort to just talk up there. Judd always talked about how I was the loud guy, then I was the quiet guy, I had no idea what I was doing, you’ve just gotta give yourself time – that’s good advice I think.
Leslie Mann: Do it as much as possible, even though I’m not a stand up person, but if you do it as much as you can, eventually you’ll get somewhere.
5. This seems to be an attempt to mix the broad comedy with a much more serious element, particularly with you Adam, it seems to play to both sides of your career, would you say that was better?
Adam Sandler: It was all Judd, he had this idea, he told me he had four different ideas for four different movies and put them all together and created this story that required comedy and stuff I was comfortable doing and stuff that I wasn’t too excited about doing and showing up on days and being in different places in my head, Judd just wrote a movie where we all had to do stuff we hadn’t done too much stuff before, it was exciting.
I like the movies I’ve done in the past, I worked really hard on those movies, it’s not a conscious effort to say I need to broaden my audience, this was the movie that Judd wrote, I was excited to do a movie with Judd, whoever clicks with it I’m happy they click with it.
6.Do you have a theory as to why a lot of comedians seem to be very tragic figures, especially when their careers start to disappear?
Adam Sandler: That’s a common theme with comedians, I know a lot of comedians that are solid as rocks, they are very comfortable being around people, comfortable with what they have accomplished, Garry Shandling is a pretty incredible guy, he has done a lot with his comedy career and he’s also very at ease with taking a break to sit back and relax, then come back. There are mental cases out there also, that I’ve hung out with, they’re fun to be around also, and make you feel good about your own life. But ther are different styles of comedians, there are neurotics, there are angry guys, self hating, there are overly confident guys, I’m guessing it stems from some pain.
7. This character is obviously written by Judd, and this is a format you don’t usually do, do you think it’s because you two have been friends for such a long time that you feel comfortable doing it and when you were filming, how much of yourself did you put into the character?
Adam Sandler: Sure, you know when you shoot a movie it’s like scene to scene, so you show up that day and you do a particular scene and draw on stuff from your life that’s relevant to the character you can bring that in, and then with stuff you haven’t done before you just try to make it as real as possible. Yeah there are parts of the movie that are directly from my life or Judds life or people we know, none of it’s really true, the story isn’t true, there are just things that happened that led him to write this movie that he took from our lives but it’s not really in the order of the movie.
8. With all the comedians in the film, was there a lot of joking around on set and when did it happen, during the more tragic bits, how did it work?
Adam Sandler: How did it work? It was a different feel this set. Yeah during our love making scenes, that was funny, there was nervous laughter when Judd said ‘please eat out my wife’ there was alot of laughter, but it was a very focused set. Apatow was on a mission to make a very important movie and we were on a mission to make sure he got that accomplished, there was improv but not like let me try this, this and this, Judd was very focused with where he wanted the scenes to go, and how he wanted to get there, of course we all came up with our own stuff on occasion and if they fit then we were happy with that, if they didn’t he would guide us in a different direction, so it wasn’t a free for all.
9. If you had to sit down and watch an Adam Sandler DVD marathon which three would you pick?
Adam Sandler: I don’t know, that’s a very good question. Big Daddy, Leslie’s in that, Big Daddy’s the first one my wifes in, that’s easy to watch at home. Honestly the ones where I’m probably the skinniest, and turn the volume down and say ‘see daddy used to be skinny.
10. Are there any British comedians that influenced your career and on a wider scale are there any other comedians that have influenced your career?
Leslie Mann: Benny Hill.
Adam Sandler: He was a big deal in my house, it was on at eleven o’clock and that was one of the shows that he would let us stay up and watch, my father would laugh, he would get excited about the hot women on the show, and I was excited when Benny would be hitting the older guy on the head, I love that man he was slapping in the head, what was that guys name? Slaphead, I loved Slaphead, I loved Derek & Clive when I was a kid, my dad got me an album. Charlie Chaplin also. I didn’t know of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton until I went to NYU, I would hear about them and my father would tell me they’re good and then when their movies were on I’d kinda tune out but then I realised later on that they were great.
Jonah Hill: A lot of the comedians I’ve worked with are British, I worked for Sacha Baron Cohen for six months on Brüno as one of the producers, I’ve worked with Ricky Gervais, I just finished a movie with Russell Brand, I really loved the British Office that was one of my favourites, Alan Partridge, a lot of British Humour is pretty killer.
11. Leslie, how much of the family dynamic is shown between you and your kids?
Leslie mann: We do the peanut butter game, the actor dogs were so boring and tired and weren’t so excited to eat the peanut butter, we should’ve brought in our own dogs. And Maude of course, that’s our home video of her singing memory.
12. Was it more difficult to do the stand up scenes while being filmed, with your lines and getting them right, did you ad lib much or was it very strict?
Adam Sandler: A little bit, it’s always easier to do stand up when you don’t really care too much, and then all of a sudden the cameras are rolling and you have to phrase it right and you have to get it right, it puts pressure on it, sometimes it makes you better, sometimes it makes you stumble more, but you’re doing a movie so if you stumble you can go back and say it again.
Jonah Hill: I was really impressed by Adam doing the stand up while playing such a character, I thought that was really cool, like the scenes where he’s half telling jokes and half breaking down, that’s what impressed me the most.
13. Do you hope to win an oscar for this one?
Adam Sandler: I don’t really think about that, that would be hilarious if that happens.