The Walt Disney Pictures adventure comedy Bedtime Stories stars Adam Sandler as Skeeter Bronson, a hotel handyman whose life is changed forever when the bedtime stories he tells his niece and nephew (Laura Ann Kesling and Jonathan Heit) — left in his care by his sister Wendy (Courteney Cox) — start to mysteriously come true. On hand to try to curb the madness and help with the children is Wendy’s responsible friend Jill (Keri Russell) and Skeeter’s friend and sidekick Mickey (Russell Brand). As the stories get wackier and wilder, Skeeter attempts to take advantage of the phenomenon, incorporating his own aspirations into one outlandish tale after another, but it’s the kids’ unexpected contributions that turn his life upside down.
Funnyman Adam Sandler, a father of two young children, recently spoke to MediaBlvd Magazine, along with co-stars Keri Russell and Russell Brand, about making his first family film.
MediaBlvd Magazine: Adam, because you’re a dad, was Bedtime Stories a personal movie for you? Was it inspired by wanting to tell your kids stories on the big screen?
Adam Sandler Matt Lopez wrote a great script. I read it and I must say that the thing that stood out the most was the gumball scene. I do have kids now. I’ve always wanted to do a family movie. I loved that, every Sunday night, we’d watch a Disney movie with Kurt Russell. I was a big fan of Kurt Russell, growing up. I always wanted to be the modern-day Kurt Russell.
Keri Russell You are. You’re so alike.
Adam I live in his old house. I have his old muscles. And, he has a very Semitic look, just like me. No. I loved Lopez’s script. I thought it was sweet. And, I knew Adam Shankman was there to bring a great visual and creative look. He has great style. He’s a great man. A lot of times, the kids end up seeing my movies anyways, but some of their mothers yell at me and tell me I have corrupted their child and influenced them to pee on walls, so I wanted to make sure that I did one movie in my career that mothers hug me for. This could be it.
MediaBlvd: Which genre of the fantasies did you most enjoy doing? Had you always wanted to be a cowboy, a spaceman or a gladiator?
Adam I looked great in the cowboy hat. I think I was fantastic in the leather pants, in the space scene. I really looked good in the Gladiator costume too. I had my broken ankle for two months of the shoot. I was playing basketball with my nephew and I broke my ankle. Shankman wasn’t happy, but I can handle pain. A lot of times, when I would finish a scene and Shankman would scream cut, in exhaustion, I would fall into Russell’s arms.
MediaBlvd: Adam and Russell, what was it like, working with each other? Did it come naturally for you?
Russell Brand I loved working with Adam! It was an education for me, in how to do film acting. I hadn’t done many films before now. I learned loads of stuff, like controlling things, how to improvise within sensible perimeters, how to not swear. It was difficult, of course, but it was a wonderful education and I laughed a lot. Also, sometimes, I would gaze yearningly at Adam, longing for the moment when eventually his crutches would break and he would fall into my arms again. It was lovely. It was a bit like Treasure Island, with all the piracy and crutches. I found it a comedic and cinematic education. I learned an awful lot, over the whole process.
Adam> He did. And, people love Russell in the movie. When I met the young Russell Brand, a few years ago, I thought the guy was hilarious. I was a guest on his MTV show. I went over to England with four or five of my friends, and we all talked about Russell after. We were like, “That kid was incredible! He’s so funny and smart.” I didn’t have to say much. Russell did most of the talking. He was very cordial. He would ask me a question, I wouldn’t come up with anything too funny, and Russell would button it with a huge laugh. The girls would gasp at how great he was. They were staring at Russell going, “My God, I want that man!” So, when we had this great part, for the room service guy who was my best friend, we mentioned Russell doing it, and Russell was cool enough to say yes. And then, when we screened the movie the first time, they did those scores at the end of the movie and they asked, “Who was your favorite character?” I looked at my character, Skeeter Bronson, and was like, “What did I get? Ooh, a 91. I’ll take that.” Then, much to my dismay, I looked and Russell got a 96. I was like, “How dare this man!”
MediaBlvd: Keri, this is your return to Disney, since having been a Mouseketeer. How was that? Did you earn your ears back?
Keri I hope so. I don’t know. It was fun! It’s a Disney movie, but what’s cool about this one is that it’s what Disney does best, with the Sandler factor in it, which keeps it a current, modern Disney movie.
MediaBlvd: Adam, what kids of stories do you tell your kids? Do you read them books, or do you make up stories?
Adam I read a lot in the morning to little Sadie. I’m not great at the bedtime stories. The bedtime stories are supposed to put the kid to sleep. My kid gets riled up and crazy. My wife has to come in and go, “Alright, get out of the room!” In most of my stories, it’s similar to the movie. She gives me a subject and we go from there. Every subject she brings up has to do with food. It’s always like, “Waffles.” “Okay, there was a giant waffle.” “Pancake.” “And he met a blanket made out of pancakes.” “Syrup.” “And then, they had to cross the river made of syrup.” I swear to God, that’s how every story is. And then, at the end of every story, she’s like, “Cookies.”
MediaBlvd: Has Sadie seen the film yet?
Adam I showed the movie to Sadie, who is 2 ½ now . I brought home a copy on DVD, and she watched an hour of Bedtime Stories and it was going well, until she said, “Later, later.” And, I said, “Oh, come on, let’s finish this thing.” And then, she said, “Babu eat Daddy’s movie.” Babu is our dog, so I was like, “That’s not a good review.”
MediaBlvd: Did you have a favorite bedtime story, growing up?
Adam Yeah, the “I think I can!” story was big in my life. My sister was going to dental school when I was into that story, and I used to say that to her all the time. She would be crying at how much studying she had, so my parents would put me on the phone with my older sister and I would be talking about The Little Engine that Could, saying, “I think I can, I think I can,” and she said that helped her at least smile while she was going through that stuff. So, I’ve been bringing people joy for so many years.
MediaBlvd: Keri, did you do any of your own stunts in the movie?
Keri Yes, we did do some stunts. We horseback rode a little. I would not do the kissing scene. I drew the line there. But, I did do my own roller blading. I did a lot of that stuff. I actually turned into a crow. That’s one of my many, many talents. There were a lot of physical things, but it was mostly me and Adam wearing crazy helmets on the motorcycle. He was like, “Get on the back and just scream a lot.” I was like, “What are we doing? Aaah!”
MediaBlvd: Russell, how did this film come to you? Are you going to be doing more American films in the future?
Russell Yeah, I’ll be doing some more U.S. films. I wanted to do this with Adam. He said, “Do you want to do this film?,” so I said, “Yeah, alright!” I thought I’d learn some stuff and it would be a laugh. Then, as I spent more time learning about it, I was told Adam Shankman was involved, and I found out that all his movies make loads of money. Now, if people associate you with the idea of loads of money, they in turn will give some of that money to you. I have loads of money now, so my family is getting loads of things for Christmas. I’m giving the stuff away! I’m buying things for people that I don’t even know. I’m like Willy Wonka, but more manipulative. Imagine if Willy Wonka had a devious goal.
MediaBlvd: Adam, now that you’re a father of two, what influence will it have on the direction of your movie career?
Adam I thought it would affect my decision making in the future. When I was shooting it, I was like, “This feels good. I come home at night, see my kids, and feel like I’m a good person.” Then, Judd Apatow, who’s a long-time friend of mine, wrote a movie and asked me to be in it, and I was like, “Okay!” I’ve been shooting it, and I come home feeling so filthy and sad. I can’t meet eyes with my kids sometimes. No, I’m not making every decision due to my children and I hope they never see these other movies that I’m doing. But, I do want to do more family friendly movies. I feel good doing them, but it’s not going to be my way of life. I’m a comedian.
MediaBlvd: Do you see yourself making more family films in the future?
Adam Absolutely! I loved it. I had a great time. Me and Keri are both new parents. It’s bizarre. When the kids are laughing in the audience, I tear up. I’m so happy that I did a nice thing. I’m so happy to make the kids laugh, and that it gives the parents a place for them to take the kids. I keep thinking about grandmas because of my mother. My mother will sometimes take my kids to a movie and I’m like, “Oh, that’s cool. Grandma or Grandpa will have a nice time with the grandkids.” I did have a great time doing it and I would love doing it again.
MediaBlvd: You are a father, actor, producer, musician and writer. Which is easiest, and which is harder for you?
Adam None of them are difficult. I have fun doing them all. It’s not like I’m a producer who goes over a budget every day and I have numbers to run. I just produce, hang out, and help try to get the best stuff on the screen. When I write, I just sit with my friends and come up with ideas. When I act, it’s the same thing. We kind of do it as a team. Everybody is helping everybody, and nothing is too tough.
MediaBlvd: Keri, what made you want to say yes to this movie?
Keri I’m still trying to figure that out. No. I was very pregnant, at the time, and Adam Sandler called me and said, “I have a kid now and I want to make a movie my kid can see, and you’re having a kid, so I think it would be fun. You should come do it.” And, I was like, “Okay!”
Adam I called you and told you that you were great in Waitress. Me and my wife and saw Waitress and we were blown away by Keri. When Jackie says to me, “I like that girl,” I’m like, “Oh, good, I can use her!”
Keri And, I’m so glad I said yes because it was so fun. It was so great. There were kids all around.
Adam You were the mother on the set. She was nice to the two kids, the whole time. I run out of stuff to say. I try to make the kids laugh and then they are staring at me for more, and I’m like “Really? Talk to Keri Russell over there. That’s the way to go.”
MediaBlvd: Keri, having a newborn, was it difficult to embark on a big budget movie?
Keri One of the cool things about this movie was that Adam has kids, and everyone had kids there, so it was really fun. One of the babies would stop by, and everyone would stop and play with the kids. It was really like that, which made it really nice.
Adam If you were with us three years before that, you would have hated us. We would have been like, “Put the baby down, we’re shooting!”
Keri Elephants were on the set one day, and everyone brought their kids and took pictures with the elephants. And, I was dressed as a mermaid one day, and all the kids took pictures with me as the mermaid. It was just that kind of set. It was really fun!
MediaBlvd: The chemistry was so good between the two of you. Was there any improvisation?
Adam Yeah, we did a little bit because we felt comfortable with each other. Keri’s husband is cool as hell, and she is cool with my wife, so that makes like light and fun. Keri is funny and I like hanging out with her.
Keri It was good. I had a good time.
MediaBlvd: Was it difficult to keep the jokes clean for a Disney film?
Adam It wasn’t that bad. It felt good.
Russell It was a laugh. It was alright. Sometimes I think the perimeters create better work because that way you have go-to places, comedically. When you’re not using that kind of facility, you do different stuff. Plus, it’s not that bad because, in the real world, I have friends that have kids and, if I’m hanging out with my friends who’ve got kids, I’m do stuff that’s appropriate.
MediaBlvd: Adam, how was your relationship with the children in the film?
Adam They were great kids. They were focused, funny, nice, sweet kids. They liked me, and then they met Russell. I was the go-to guy for a while, and then Russell’s part started off, a month into the shoot, and they slowly left me and fell in love with Russell.
Keri It happens!
MediaBlvd: What are your holiday plans? Particularly in this economy, what sort of gifts are you going to be giving?
Adam My baby, Sunny, is one month, so I got her a BB gun. I have another kid. I have to get her something. Maybe a German helmet?
Russell What am I going to get people for Christmas? Well, I don’t know what I’ll get me mum. A house, maybe? I’ll maybe get her a house because, at the moment, she’s homeless and I’m feeling guilty about that. She obviously raised me and let me live in her womb for those nine months, so I’d really like to give something back to her. I’ll probably either get my mother a womb or a house.
Keri We’re having all the parents at my house this Christmas and we told the grandparents, “No one go crazy. One gift for the kid,” which translates to like five. They don’t understand that. My gift is being home. It’s been so nice to be in our house in Brooklyn.
MediaBlvd: Adam, what is the Judd Apatow movie that you’re working on, and who do you play in it?
Adam It’s called Funny People. I’m very sick in the movie. I find out that I’m dying in the movie, and I have to do a lot of stuff. I come to work going, “Oh, man, this is going to be a rough day.” I have to think about stuff that I don’t like to think about. Doing Bedtime Stories was my dream, when I was young and I became a comedian. I didn’t come out here to do that other stuff. I can’t believe I got to do Reign Over Me, but that wasn’t on my mind, as a kid, going “I want to be a movie star.” I wanted to be Eddie Murphy. That’s all I wanted to do. And then, I got these other opportunities to do stuff and I just try my best at that. With Bedtime Stories, I showed up on set and I was as happy as can be. I felt good there.