Paul Thomas Anderson shares the exact moment he knew Adam Sandler was a comedy genius
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Long before Adam Sandler started edging away from popular slapstick comedies and blew fans' minds with films like Uncut Gems and Hustle, one filmmaker saw his potential from the beginning.
Paul Thomas Anderson, the critically acclaimed filmmaker behind Boogie Nights and Magnolia, shocked critics in 2002 when he decided to cast Sandler in one of his films - but after watching this one video of Adam, PTA didn't want anyone else.
After his stint on Saturday Night Live from 1990 to 1995, Adam ploughed head-first into some of his biggest box office hits, including Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and The Waterboy.
The movies that Adam went on to make with his own production company, Happy Madison Productions, were major commercial successes, but were almost exclusively sneered on by film critics.
That's why people couldn't believe it when the multi-award-winning filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson wanted to cast Adam in his next big project.
Adam starred in PTA's absurdist rom-com Punch-Drunk Love in 2002, starring as Barry Egan - a frustrated man who calls a phone-sex hotline to soothe his loneliness, only to wind up in a world of trouble that threatens to jeopardise his relationship.
Since the film's release and subsequent success PTA hardly needed to explain why he chose Adam for the role - Adam was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance, for crying out loud.
But Paul did explain his reasoning; because he can pinpoint the exact moment when he decided that Adam was a comedic genius and that he simply had to write a script for him.
It happened when Paul saw a 'Best of Adam Sandler' Saturday Night Live DVD and caught Adam's popular sketch The Denise Show.
"An amazing thing happened," he told film critic Roger Ebert.
"There's this moment when he's doing his talk show called The Denise Show about his ex-girlfriend who has left him, and his father calls up and says: 'What the hell is wrong with you? You're embarrassing the family!'
"Adam goes into this fit of rage, screaming at his father and honest to God I saw this moment where it appears as if the whites of his eyes turn black and they roll back in his head.
"It was like he just lost his mind. I would play it back, over and over again, and you can see him kinda snap back to reality.
"The audience is laughing and it’s almost like he finally started to hear them laughing a few seconds later.
"But after that, I needed to write something for Adam."
As a result, Adam won back a lot of his critics and he started looking into some more serious roles.
After watching the film for himself, film critic Ebert wrote in his review: "The film is exhilarating to watch because Sandler, liberated from the constraints of formula, reveals unexpected depths as an actor."
And it's all thanks to a silly SNL skit!
Topics: Celebrity, Adam Sandler, Film and TV