BEVERLY HILLS, California —
"I know I've had some success, and I have some cash in the bank and stuff," Sandler shrugged recently, when we asked if all his success makes it harder to play the down-on-their-luck characters he's made his trademark. "But it's not like I don't still walk down the street feeling like a loser. If I'm with my wife in the car, and I see some guy jogging by, I'm like, 'Now, why does that guy look like that? And I look like this?' I still have that going on."
With "Stories," he's mixing that loser angle — as well as several other hallmarks of the Adam Sandler classics — with
"You know, it's interesting. I think he had to conform to me more than I had to conform to him," Shankman said of their collaboration, a special-effects-heavy comedy about a man who entertains his niece and nephew with fairy tales, only to have them come true. "This is Adam inside of a Disney movie. Although I've handled comedy, he hasn't done family."
Talking about Adam Sandler classics like "Billy Madison" and "Happy Gilmore," however, Shankman admitted, "I've seen them, but I do not sit around and watch them."
Naturally, then, Sandler had to school his new director on how to make movies with a self-professed loser and his zany friends. "We forced that on him. Shankman was like, 'Really?' and we said, 'Oh, it'll be okay,' " the funnyman remembered of ensuring the continuation of Rob Schneider line deliveries, Allen Covert cameos and other trademarks. "It's like ripping the Band-Aid off with Shankman; we had to quickly rip off about 35 Band-Aids with him. We'd just say, 'Schneider's in the movie, deal with that.' 'My friend Covert's in the movie, it's OK.' 'I will speak gibberish, you can handle that.' 'You'll put your sweet music in over it, and we'll all be OK.' "
"Yeah, the Rob Schneider 'I can do it' thing was in [the film], which I hadn't realized," Shankman remembered. "I know that bringing gibberish back was a thing he really wanted to do, which is from 'Billy Madison.'"
Now, not only will sharp-eyed Sandler fanatics once again catch the nonsensical ramblings of the man who once made "Zabadoo!" a household word, but they'll also get a chuckle out of the bedtime story featuring a wink to the heaven-sent president that waved to Sandler at the end of his second film.
"Yeah, he's been involved in my movies. He was in 'Happy Gilmore,' and we brought him back," Adam said of his random fixation on Abraham Lincoln. "I thought he was a very good president. I voted for him. So, there you go."
But just because Sandler and his friends got their way, it doesn't mean that this loser didn't find himself getting picked on from time to time.
"Adam Shankman assumes those gumballs didn't hurt, but he was never under the gumballs," Sandler said of the film's key scene, in which bright-colored gumballs rain on him. "They were killing my head, I swear to God!"
"Those weren't real gumballs, they were made of rubber ... and a lot of them were computer-graphic ones," Shankman countered. "There was a lot of them, but not as many as it looks like in the movie."
"He's full of sh--! I chewed a real one — I thought," Sandler replied. "Every take, they went bang-bang-bang. They were plastic, but these guys were whipping them at me from a bridge overpass — they were chucking a box of plastic balls. Of course that's going to hurt my head!"
"I'll always feel very unhappy about what God gave me," the immensely successful Adam Sandler grinned, insisting he'll forever stay in touch with his inner loser. "I do it for America. I do it for the world, actually."
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