Although we primarily know Adam Sandler as a purveyor of comedy, the actor has surprised us with a more serious role now and again. One of Sandler’s most highly regarded roles found him starring in Paul Thomas Anderson’s PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE, but as Sandler tells it, he was initially terrified that he would ruin the movie.
Adam Sandler discussed how he got involved with PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE while speaking on the SmartLess podcast. Sandler explained that it was Tom Cruise who put him in touch with Paul Thomas Anderson as Cruise was in the middle of shooting his role in MAGNOLIA.
I met Tom Cruise when Nicole Kidman did SNL. Cruise had a Yankee cap dipped down low, and he looked up, and I was, like, in love with him. Tom called me up, and he says, ‘I’m doing a movie with my friend Paul, and he’s interested in doing a movie with you. Can I put him on the phone?’
“Paul was very nice, and he says, ‘Hey, I loved Billy Madison.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, thanks,’ but I didn’t know who he was,” Sandler continued, adding that Anderson said, “‘I just love your movies and your albums. Is it OK if I write you a movie?’” Sandler agreed, still not knowing who Anderson was, but that all changed when he went to see MAGNOLIA in theaters. “But then, honest to God, it was like 11 in the morning, and I had nothing to do, and Magnolia just came out, and I said, ‘I think this is that kid’s movie. I’m going to go see that.’” Sandler said. “It was sold out, and I was in the front row, and I was looking up at it, and I was f**king terrified, and I was going, ‘Oh this guy is f**king better than me. I don’t want to f**king be in this. I’m going to ruin his movie! Holy shit!’“
Sandler called Paul Thomas Anderson up immediately to tell him how much he’d loved MAGNOLIA and to ask about the script he was writing for him. When Anderson brought the script for Sandler to read, he said, “Here’s my present to you. Go ahead and read it and tell me what you think.” Upon reading the script, Sandler found it to be a little intimidating. “I was f**king scared, like, you know when you get something, and you just go, ‘Sheesh, I always said I could do this, but this was too much,’” Sandler explained, but added that Anderson “talked me through it, and he got me comfortable.” I think we can all be grateful that he did. Adam Sandler can currently be seen starring in HUBIE HALLOWEEN, which is currently streaming on Netflix, and you can check out a review of the film from our own Matt Rooney right here.