We get it: Showbiz careers launched by “Saturday Night Live.” The same initials and phonetically similar names. Offbeat movies that have lured devoted cult followings. And now that they’re playing father and son, be prepared for your not-so-hip friends to continue mixing up Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg.
The two “SNL” veterans aren’t quite officially a generation apart – Sandler’s 45 and Samberg’s 33 – but there was definitely a sense of some serious torch-passing and idol-worshiping among the two comedy heavyweights as they teamed for “That’s My Boy.” With Sandler cast as a reckless dolt who fathered a son as a teen and now re-merges into his life, and Samberg playing the successful, very-together offspring facing his father’s chaotic return, the stars reveal the behind-the-scenes bonds that brought them together.
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Adam Sandler: I really loved Andy. We got tighter and tighter. I would keep saying to Andy and to my buddies about Andy, he's kind of similar to me, but a little better, a little smarter and a little better looking. He's got all good angles. I can fake being good-looking, like, if I'm looking dead at you, but if I move left or right, it's like, 'What the f*** is that?' Andy can turn his head and you're still like, 'Alright, I like that.' He's just a hard worker. He's got comedy chops. Him and [Will] Forte are similar to the way that me and my buddies were back in the day, where it's all about being funny and all about coming up with stuff that you feel is fresh and makes you laugh. He really gave me good stuff in the movie, gave me good lines to say. I would finish a take and Andy would say, 'What about if you…?' And that's not a common thing in my life, where a costar is looking out for me, saying, 'Say this, try this joke.' He was in his trailer and Will, too, writing jokes for me. It was good. It was beautiful. I think his future, whatever he wants to do with it, it'll happen. He is a little less nuts than me. When I was his age I was f***ing a little more obsessed with kicking ass. He's obsessed with having a good life and I like that. He's going to have a nice life. And he'll also kick ass if he wants to.
Andy Samberg: I can talk about being a fan of Adam's for, like, the next seven hours. I watched 'SNL' since I was eight and wanted to be on it since I was eight. I remember when he came on the show. There was a lot of stuff that he did, but the moment that I was like, 'Oh, this is my guy,' was the Easy To Do Halloween Costumes on Update. He was like, 'Oh, I'm Jew Guy. I'm Under-the-Desk Man,' whatever. Under-the-Desk–Man, when he got under the desk and there was just a blank screen and him yelling up, I was like, 'You're allowed to do this on TV?' A lot of comedians talk about when you see some comedian or some sketch or some whatever movie, it feels like it's made just for you and that was definitely one of those moments. His time on the show was that for me, and then with the first couple of movies, 'Billy Madison,' and 'Happy Gilmore,' I was just at that impressionable age and I memorized those movies. I've said this before, but I had 'Billy Madison' on audio cassette and I'd walk around town listening to it in my Walkman. It's like if I couldn't be in front of a TV, I wanted to be hearing 'Billy Madison.' So I think it's safe to say that getting to work with Adam on this was kind of a dream come true for me.
Sandler: It was just a funny script. I liked the idea. I liked the idea of hanging out with these guys. Samberg actually called me up and told me that he liked it and that got me excited…It made sense that this type of guy got loose and cursed and drank and cracked people with beer bottles and stuff. I've seen this guy. I knew guys like Donny Berger and I really loved playing the guy. Actually, my friend Nick Swarsden who's in the movie, every couple of weeks when I see him, he just goes 'Boy, I wish you were Donny. I miss that guy.'
Samberg: I heard that Adam was thinking about doing it and I was like, 'Holy crap – if there's ever a chance for me to play a part where I'm related to Sandler, this is it because I'm the right age…He's not just an actor. He's a writer and a producer and getting to watch him have this whole team assembled and his crew that he brings back, he's so loyal to everybody, and there's this family environment on his sets, I think everyone here got to witness that and how incredible it is. It's the same as working on 'SNL,’ that it's a family. You definitely get that feeling from walking on to a Sandler movie where everyone knows each other and respects each other and there's an easy sort of shorthand that everyone has.
Sandler: [Director] Sean Anders and his buddy John Morris, I love their movie 'Sex Drive.' I saw 'Sex Drive' one night on television and I had a plane ride – me and my 10 friends were going somewhere. One by one, I was going 'You have to watch this "Sex Drive" movie!' and they were all plugging in their headphones and watching the movie and everyone loved it. I said 'I want to meet with those guys.' They're pretty great, and then we had a meeting and we hung out a little bit, and then when it came to doing this, my usual guys that I work with who I love, they were all kind of busy – their plates were full, so, no one could jump on this. So I said, 'Let me have a meeting with the guy from "Sex Drive,"' and that's kind of how it happened. Then they started writing drafts. Sean's just an animal, him and his partner John: you just give a thought and the next day or two days later – it was literally that quick – they had another 20 pages that they'd rewrite. Just great guys with great instincts and similar tastes in what we think is funny in a rated R film. I don't know if we have a similar PG-13 taste, but rated R we just had a great time.