IAR INTERVIEW: Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore Talk 'Blended'

Thursday, 22 May 2014 14:11 Written by  iamrogue
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IAR INTERVIEW: Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore Talk 'Blended'

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler have history.

They first fell in love onscreen sixteen years ago, in 1998's The Wedding Singer, a romantic comedy set in the go-go eighties.  Then, in 2004's 50 First Dates, the duo made the most crowd-pleasing romance about short-term memory loss in recent cinema.

This Friday, Sandler (Jack & Jill) and Barrymore (Going the Distance) reunite for another blend of earnest romance and shaggy comedy in Blended.

In Blended, the stars both play single parents who are similarly devoted to their children.  In fact, Jim and Lauren are perfectly suited for one another, yet their first blind date goes catastrophically wrong.  By the end of the date, these two loathe one another, but through a series of coincidences, they and their kids end up paired on South African vacation designed specifically for blended families.

IAR was on hand for the Blended press day in Los Angeles, where the stars enthusiastically discussed their chemistry, mutual respect, improvisation, their own families, and On Golden Pond.

Almost two decades after their first romantic comedy, how had the chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore changed when they returned for Blended?

"It’s only gotten hornier," Sandler said with a laugh.

"I love Drew. I’ve known her a long time. In all three movies, we have the pleasure of falling in love. The first two I faked it," he continued, already cracking a smile. "But this one I really did."

"You fake it good," Barrymore replied as both laughed.

"I would sum it up with respect," Barrymore said.  "I’ve always respected him. I love him. He makes us laugh in the world. Aside from what we do together, I was so in love with the things that he did from Saturday Night Live and Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison and everything else. I love this person so much. He is so amazing and I just loved him and appreciated him. He had such a gift. But then just when it comes to that one on one, we’re just us two alone on a playing field doing our thing, it’s like total respect."

At that, Sandler addressed the room, joking, "You better print all of that too. I know you always take what you want but that sounds better all together."

Blended is directed by Sandler's frequent collaborator Frank Coraci, who also helmed The Wedding Singer.  In this film, Coraci surrounded his two leads with comedic performers like Kevin Nealon (Get Smart), Terry Crews (Draft Day), Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Single Moms Club), and Joel McHale (Deliver Us from Evil).

Unsurprisingly, a set populated by so many comic ringers involved no small amount of improvisation. "These guys improvised a lot of great jokes. Everyone here did," Sandler said of the ensemble cast.

Barrymore presented a more comprehensive idea of the push and pull between scripted material and improv, explaining, "We get to improvise a lot but Adam and Frank, from my experience on The Wedding Singer and now this, there’s a great script that you go into it with. So there are some movies where it’s a little more loose and then you do stuff there or it’s very strict and they won’t let you stray from the script, but (their) movies are well thought out, and you also get to play."

"You have the comfort of knowing that you’re getting the goods but then you have the awesome scary-excitement feeling of knowing that I have to come up with fun stuff to do on the day, give them options in editing," she said. "It’s fun. The night before you get weird ideas and you get to try them and it’s just awesome."

"The first time I saw the film, having seen everyone on the set’s improvisation," she continued, "like the scene with Wendy, when we’re in the kitchen, or setting it up when we’re going to buy the Africa trip from her, or the scene with Bella (Thorne) where I say to her, 'We should go to the salon and get a makeover,' we did so many versions. So when I saw the film I wondered (which version) they were going to pick and they always picked my favorite take, or what I thought was the best, or clearly, objectively the best. That’s also really cool because some films you’re like 'There was good stuff in there that did not end up in the movie.' This is like the opposite. All the gold came up."

Like their previous films together, Blended pairs its comedy with familial drama that may surprise many moviegoers, but which was essential for Barrymore.

"What really got me about reading the script and what gets me when I watch the movie is I want funny because I need to laugh, but I need heart and I need emotional," she said. "I want to laugh and I want to cry which is like they’re twins, laughter and crying. When these two people quietly talk about how they just want to be good parents and what is going to make their kids happy and how are they going to function in this world, that just gets me. It made me cry in the script and it makes me cry in the movie."

Both of their characters grapple with the practical demands of parenting.  For Sandler, his own family life proved an inspiration, as he described Mother's Day earlier this month. "We had a great time with the family. We were with them all day long," he said. "The kids were falling asleep and then my wife says, 'Maybe when they fall asleep, we can go see a movie.' But they weren’t falling asleep, so then I said, 'I think we have about 20 more minutes for them to fall asleep or we’re not going to be able to do this.' And the next thing I know, my wife’s sleeping. One kid’s sleeping with my life and I’m up with the other one, and I thought, 'Yeah, we’re not going to the movies.' Almost did it."

Since they seem to team up about once every ten years, Sandler and Barrymore were asked about the possibility that decades from now, elderly audiences will be lining up to see a reunion reminiscent of a Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda classic.

"Yeah, that would be great, an On Golden Pond kind of movie but maybe with a few more jokes in it," said Sandler. "Yes, we both have new things going on in our lives since Wedding Singer to 50 First Dates to now and we both have families. We’ve always stayed in touch and we’ve always been good friends and check in on each other as much as possible. No matter what’s going on, I’m always pulling for Drew, and I feel the same about her whenever I’m doing something. I know she’s pulling for me. We just have a nice friendship."

Check out IAR's exclusive video interview with Blended co-star and Saturday Night Live legend Kevin Nealon by following this link.

Blended hits theaters nationwide on Friday, Mary 23rd.

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