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Premieres & Events

Adam Sandler is Nice. And a Hard Worker.

The happy couple: Kevin James and Adam Sandler at Wednesday's premiere of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (Photo: WireImage)

By Annaliese Griffin

Adam Sandler is a dream to work with. So we learned on the red carpet Wednesday at the New York premiere of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry at the Ziegfeld Theater.

Although The Reeler wasn’t able to get a firsthand account of the actor’s work habits -- Sandler and co-star Kevin James were whisked straight into the theater after finishing their on-camera interviews, while tabloid inquiries hijacked leading lady Jessica Biel's brief time with reporters -- his praises were on everyone’s lips. Fyvush Finkel, who plays Sandler’s uncle in the film, strolled down the red carpet early in the evening, congenially chatting it up with the press and reminiscing about his days in New York’s Yiddish theater. When asked what went behind the scenes of Chuck and Larry he said of Sandler, “Oh, he’s a beautiful person and a lovely man. He made it easy every day on the set.”

As Sandler and James, clad in jeans and baseball shirts, slowly made their ways from one TV crew to the next, director Dennis Dugan threaded in and out of the press corps. Another reporter asked about hijinks on the set. “Next time next year, when you ask me that question I’m gonna have some writer write me one," Dugan replied. "I never know because I’m always so focused on directing. But I could make one up. Adam threw up on Kevin once. Twice -- he threw up twice.”

Nor was Dugan particularly forthcoming about the comedic challenge of filming Chuck and Larry, in which Sandler and James play Brooklyn firefighters (the screening was supposed to salute the NYFD, although much to my disappointment, no actual firefighters appeared for interviews on the red carpet). When James’ wife dies he and Sandler pose as a gay couple so that he can collect a full benefit package. There’s some Tootsie, a little Mrs. Doubtfire and healthy dash of Jack Tripper thrown in the mix. I asked Dugan if he was worried about achieving the right tone and not going overly campy, swishy or offensive. “No," he said. "Once you set a style and a point of view. We talk you know? When certain guys talk and certain guys create it, we talk about what their point of view is. We wanted this to be realistic and yet still wheelhouse funny.”

Dugan, who also directed the Sandler vehicles Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy, also had only good things to say about his star. "He’s the hardest working human being that you’d ever want to work with," he told The Reeler. "I think I work hard, and then I look at him and I go, ‘That’s a real hard worker.’ So it surprises me every time because he has endless energy and endless dedication to every detail of the movie.”

So Chuck and Larry may serve as a bellwether for identity politics; America is finally ready to laugh at two straight guys pretending to be gay, but not in a mean way. Or it may be a testament to the lack of benefits available in the workplace today. Who knows? Adam Sandler, though, is great guy and a hard worker. This much we know for sure.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry opens Friday in New York.

Posted at July 19, 2007 7:16 AM

Comments (1)

Out of morbid curiosity, did anyone compare this to Le Placard?

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