Ex-Roomies Adam Sandler and Judd Apatow Reunite


Judd Apatow directs Adam Sandler in Funny People

Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler started out as stand up comics and roommates.  While funny man Adam Sandler's fame rose on Saturday Night Live which led to a successful movie career, Judd Apatow gave up on becoming a comedian and opted to become a writer on the Larry Sander's Show with Gary Shandling. 

Apatow struggled through some false starts until his writer-directorial film debut The 40 Year-Old Virgin became a break out hit and Knocked Up propelled him to the top along with his successful producing efforts (Pineapple Express, Superbad).   Now he's on the same A-List pool with his long-time friend Adam and they've teamed up for Apatow's third directorial effort in Funny People.  CineMovie sat down with the original funny people. 

Q:  With Judd knowing you so well, did he know how to motivate you?

Adam: Judd knows a lot about me and it did help.  He knows stories and used them to bring me to different places.  

Q:  Was the relationship between Seth's character and his roommates in the movie based on your experience living Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman star in Funny Peopletogether?

Judd:  Some of the texture of how the people communicate is.  Some of it's based on how we were as roommates, how we were with other roommates.  Like Seth's relationships, when you are first starting out, everyone's friends but you're mad when they start moving ahead of you.  So there's that subtle competition.  'How come they're getting better spots at the Improv.  How did he get that cheapy commercial?'

When I lived with Adam, I remember he got a commercial with Visa. . .

Adam:  . . . Mastercard

Judd:  . . .Mastercard and it was a big and very expensive commercial where Adam is shopping.  It's funny.  I can't say I didn't think, 'how come I can't be the Mastercard guy.  I can be the Visa card guy or the Discover Card guy.'

Adam:   And you stole an audition away from me with Jim Henson.

Judd:  That's right.  We all auditioned for Jim Henson who was doing a reality show where you drive around the country with your old video cameras...

Adam:  Around this time you said you didn't even want to be on camera anymore.  He was starting to say, 'maybe I'll be a writer' or something like that.  I didn't even know what he was talking about.   I was like 'What's a writer?'   But then we auditioned for Jim Henson and I was so cocky.   'I can't wait for that callback.'  And then Judd said they were interested in him and got a callback. 

Judd: But then ultimately I didn't get it.   Jim Henson said I lacked warmth. 

The competition wasn't just among friends.  Judd also recalled when they were roommates, Adam didn't like to hear about other stand-up comics.

Adam:  Now if I see someone (comic) else kill, I don't get jealous but twenty-years ago when I saw someone else I was like 'I gotta figure something out.'

Judd:  When we lived together, I would always try to show Adam other comedians I liked because I was such a fan. Because I wasn't such a good comic, I could be a fan.  And I said to Adam, 'hey, come see this guy Norm MacDonald.'  And he would just go, 'who cares.  Why would I want to see another comic?  I'm working on my act.'

Q:  How do you find doing stand-up now versus then? 

Adam:  Doing stand up when your 42 years old is a lot more pressure then when I was in my 20's.  I had a goal to become a movie star.  I was pretty crazy.  I don't know why.   I would go on stage - if I did great, 'Alright we're getting closer to what I need.'  When I did bad, I thought - 'people just don't understand how great I am.'   At 42, when you go on stage and say a joke and no one laughs - this is very humiliating.  I was too dumb when I was young to even notice what was good or bad.

Director Judd Apatow, Addam Sandler, Leslie Mann, Eric Bana on set of Funny PeopleFor the movie, Apatow had Sandler do stand-up using a lot of profanity but the guilt set in as a married father of two girls.

Adam:  I hadn't talked that filthy in front of people.  I've been around a long time.  People recognize me.  I go on stage, these nice people who know me as a certain type of person and then I'm on stage as filthy as can be.  Some people are into it.  Some people are, 'no, don't ruin it for us.'  Then I would drive home.  I have my two little kids sleeping and I felt like the biggest dirtiest human being.  I was mad at Apatow.  Why am I doing this movie? 

Judd:  The idea behind the way the stand-up would work, is that this man is ill and the way to avoid dealing with it is that he goes on stage and tells the dirtiest filthiest jokes.  So I pushed Adam much harder into the dirty area.  I like to make movies that have a hopeful message.  That shows some potential for redemption.  And in this movie, the point of it is that it's really hard for this guy, harder than most people, and you root for him to pull it off.  And I want you to care about him trying.

The role of George Simmons in Funny People is Adam Sandler's darkest role to date and he admits it was not enjoyable at times.

Adam:  Certain scenes were heavy.  Judd went through this stuff with his mom and me with my dad.  We saw first hand what goes on with poeple who are incredibly sick so I wasn't excited about that but it had to be done. 

Q:  Would you tackle another role like this?

Adam:  It was a lot of work this movie.  And when I finished it, I loved Apatow and we hugged.  And I was very relieved to take a break.  I don't know how these actors go movie to movie and lose their minds in their roles and have a real life.  I was happy to jump back into my real life with my kids and wife and work on that part.  When it comes down that road some day, if Judd thinks its right and someone else thinks it's right - I'll get back in it.  At night I'm not thinking I have to get there again.  I'm happy I got this one. 
On a lighter note, Sandler's next film Grown Ups brings together his comedian friends for more classic Sandler.   However, it's in Funny People that Adam Sandler the actor does some growing up and you can catch him along with a cast of Funny People (Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Eric Bana, and Apatow's real life wife Leslie Mann) starting July 31st. 

Adam Sandler, Leslie Mann, Seth Rogen star in Funny People


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