Henry Winkler Considers Adam Sandler Nothing Less Than an Auteur
Adam Sandler isn’t typically thought of as a borderline genius with great cinematic instincts and a specific artistic vision that he passionately strives to capture. Instead, most of the time, we tend to regard him as the dude who will film pretty much any movie as long as it involves a character who wears baggy cargo shorts in an exotic location where he can take his friends and family on a free vacation.
But we may all owe Sandler more respect, not just as an actor, but as a comedic auteur behind the camera — at least if we’re to believe the great Henry Winkler.
Winkler, of course, starred alongside Sandler in 1998’s The Waterboy, the loose adaptation of Saturday Night Live’s “Canteen Boy” sketch that retained the character’s voice and penchant for hydration but thankfully ditched the whole “sexual assault during a Cub Scout camping trip” angle.
During a recent interview on The Rich Eisen Show, Winkler had nothing but glowing things to say about Sandler’s work ethic and artistic conviction. While The Waterboy was directed by frequent Sandler collaborator Frank Coraci, according to Winkler, Sandler was very much a hands-on part of the filmmaking process, even standing by the camera and feeding Winkler an assortment of ideas, and later picking the best takes during the editing process.
This is how we ended up with scenes such as the one where Coach Klein treats a football rival as if he were an adorable baby.
Winkler went on to boldly proclaim that Sandler “is a brilliant, brilliant creator. He’s in charge of every detail. He knows what he wants. It works.” Which sounds like the effusive praise one might expect an actor to say about, perhaps, Stanley Kubrick, not the star of You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.
Winkler also recalled that he originally wanted his character to wear a baseball cap, but Sandler insisted that it had to be a “porkpie hat.” Although Winkler seems to be misremembering because his character wore, not a porkpie, but rather, a floppy, Gilligan-esque bucket hat. Which is still objectively funnier than a baseball cap. So he may actually be on to something with the Sandler praise anyway.
You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this).