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“I have to work with this person”: Paul Thomas Anderson Was Desperate to Work With Adam Sandler after Rewinding One Movie Scene Over and Over

Paul Thomas Anderson Was Desperate to Work With Adam Sandler after Rewinding One Movie Scene Over and Over

Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the renowned filmmakers of the current generation. His films are admired by critics and audiences due to his unique style of exploring dysfunctional characters and themes of alienation and redemption. With films like Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, The Master, Inherent Vice, and Phantom Thread, he has established himself as one of the most unique voices in cinema. He worked with actor/comedian Adam Sandler for his 2002 romantic comedy Punch-Drunk Love. The film stands out in Anderson’s career because of its genre( the only time Anderson did a rom-com) and his casting of Sandler, who had never done a dramatic tole up to that point.

A Particular Adam Sandler Film Convinced Paul Thomas Anderson to Cast Him

Adam Sandler in Big Daddy
Adam Sandler in Big Daddy

Paul Thomas Anderson came out with one of the standout films of his career Punch-Drunk Love in 2002. The film had Adam Sandler playing the role of Barry Egan, an entrepreneur with social anxieties. The casting was unusual at the time since Sandler was known for comedies and had not done a full-fledged dramatic role before. But Anderson was convinced Sandler would pull off the role by watching a specific scene in his 1999 film Big Daddy. He told the Los Angeles Times,

“I love Big Daddy. Big Daddy had sensitive Sandler but there’s a scene in it where he’s screaming at his father over the telephone that I used to rewind over and over. That’s when I really thought, “I have to find this person. I have to work with this person”

Sandler’s brief display of his range as a dramatic actor in a comedy was noticed by Anderson.  The vulnerability and emotional depth with which Sandler pulled off the specific scene impressed him and he decided to use that for his film and the role of Barry Egan.

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Also read: “You remember that Mark?” Shazam Star Mark Strong Punched Adam Sandler in the Face and Made Him Cry

Adam Sandler is Very Proud of Punch-Drunk Love

Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love
Adam Sandler in Punch-Drunk Love

Before Punch-Drunk Love, Adam Sandler was restricted to comedic roles in films such as Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, and Big Daddy. Punch-Drunk Love marked a significant shift in Sandler’s career where his dramatic range as an actor was recognized and appreciated. He started to get more dramatic and meatier roles after the film, for which Sandler is grateful. He considers the film an important milestone in his career and is very proud of the film. He told CinemaBlend,

“I view it as something that I had an amazing time doing. And it might have opened up other thoughts about me. I’m sure that happened. In my brain, I always thought, ‘Yeah, maybe one day, I’ll do a different style of movie.’ And luckily Paul wrote that movie, called me up, (and) said, ‘Let’s go.’ And I hear about that movie a lot. So it means a lot to me and I had an amazing time. Paul’s one of my best buddies. I love him. So that’s the greatest thing that happened with that movie”

Adam Sandler got further praise for his dramatic works in films like Funny People, The Meyerowitz Stories, Uncut Gems, and Hustle.

Also read: “He will be missed by everyone I know”: Adam Sandler Joins Thousands of Fans and Celebs to Mourn Saddening Loss of 99-Year-Old Legend

Upcoming Works of Adam Sandler

Adam Sandler with his daughter Sunny Sandler
Adam Sandler with his daughter Sunny Sandler

Adam Sandler recently launched his daughter Sunny Sandler in the recently released Netflix film  You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah. The film received acclaim and appreciation from critics and audiences. He was announced to star in an upcoming sci-fi drama Spaceman for Netflix. The film will star Sandler, Paul Dano, Carey Mulligan, Kunal Nayyar, and Isabella Rossellini.

It is scheduled to be released by Netflix in 2024.

Also read: “Nobody works as hard as the Sandman”: Chris Rock Called Out The Oscars for Never Nominating Adam Sandler After Being Friends with Him for So Long

Source: Los Angeles Times, CinemaBlend



Written by Rahul Thokchom

I'm Rahul from MANIPUR. A total ambivert constantly discovering the world. I love watching movies and talking with like-minded people about the pleasures and frustrations cinema provides!