The critically acclaimed You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, in which Adam Sandler plays an Israeli soldier turned hairdresser, is out this month. Here, the film’s star and co-writer talks about getting intimate with geriatrics, bad hair and working out his rear end.
You’re a respectful guy in real life. When you had to get all wild and crazy with these senior citizens, what was that like for you personally?
Adam Sandler: You know, the one that got me the most nervous and the most nauseous was the whipped cream being licked off my nipples. That nice lady, she was like, ‘I have to what?’ She didn’t read the signs apparently and also it wasn’t one take it was four takes, and it actually tickled. I think I blew the first take. I was thinking: ‘Just get through this so this nice woman can go home’. Then she's licking away and then in my head I was like, ‘My wife’s done this before and it feels similar. I hope I don’t have a reaction to this’. So I started giggling nervously and the woman is like, ‘What? What happened’? Then we had to go a few more, but that was the roughest one.
Do you feel like comedy can actually go over the edge?
Yeah, you see it when it goes too far and the audience shut down you usually take it out of the movie. It didn’t happen too much on this movie. We went pretty hard. Our scenes in this movie are longer than most of the scenes we’ve done in other movies, and then we kept it coming and coming and coming.
How much effort was made to balance the humour and do you think the film is biased?
I think the end of the movie is ultimately we're saying wouldn’t life be so much easier if we were just hanging out and getting along. It is not a brand new theory. That’s what it gets to and I hope that is what people will leave with.
How into hair are you?
I've never, never been excited about going to the hairdresser - I don't have a great hairdo. It's not great hair to touch. People get sickened by it. For years I've been looking for the right stylist, and then I just started shaving it right to the bone and realized that's the only way to make it look half-way decent. I enjoyed learning a lot about hair, how to cut hair and how much of an art form it is and how much work it is. Usually when you sit in a chair to get a haircut, you're like, ‘Just get this done, buddy. Let's move on with our lives.’ Now I look at a guy and go, ‘You've got to do some thinking back there. Good luck to you, sir’.
Did you have any trouble with the stunts you did?
No. Whenever it gets dangerous, there were about 15 other Zohans on set. We'd just go, ‘Pick that guy. Use him. Come here for a minute.’ Next thing you know, he'd be jumping off a building and then I would just land and go, ‘De Zohan’.
Did you do the splits on the poster?
Yes. One time. One time, and then it's over for life.
We see a lot of your butt in the movie. What did you do to get your butt in shape?
That’s a tough one. The ass muscle is a different kind of muscle and it has its own mind. It was a lot of just keeping it tight. My wife has huge fingers so she would place it in a cracked area of the body and say, ‘Hold onto this thing for a while and walk around the room.’ So I would do that an hour and 40 minutes a day.
You Don’t Mess With The Zohan goes on circuit 1 August 2008.