REIGN OVER ME - Cast Interviews
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Reign Over Me:
Press Conference with Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler and Director Mike Binder
So you guys just went in and got crazy?
Don Cheadle: Mike said and then you guys have a jam session. How do you direct exactly what to do? As soon as I metAdam I was like well I want to do it because there was an immediate friendship and it’s just kicked off and it’s been that way since. There’s another scene in the movie theatre where I really almost peed on myself laughing. That’s one of the hardest things to do in a movie. It’s much easier to cry or be angry, but to really laugh and genuinely be buoyant and laugh. That’s hard if you don’t really feel that way and we would just look at each other and it would just kick off. So that was another great part of the film was to have a movie about rekindling friendships and happen to actually like the guy you’re going to do that with.
Mike Binder: I have a yearly hot dog party in my backyard and these guys were both there. They were laughing about something and I could just see in their eyes that they really liked each other and I was so happy. You can’t fake some of this chemistry. Even when you get a guy and a girl and they’ve got to be together. These guys really liked each other and the more I got to know them, they have so much in common. When we did that jam scene, they were really good together. They’re both really musical. What was great was, they actually went in and made up this song. It was so funny. They went on and on. It didn’t work for the movie, but these guys wrote a song and they were just sitting there and they wrote the song and it’s great.
Put it on the DVD.
Don Cheadle: Yeah it will be on the DVD.
Adam why did you want to do this part?
Adam Sandler: I read the script awhile ago. The first time I read it, I thought it was a pretty incredible movie, but I was afraid of it so I just put it away. I told my guys, ‘Tell that guy thank you, but I can’t do it.’ I was kind of scared of it. Then one night like a month later it was next to my bed and I read it again. It was very moving to me and I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. I wanted to challenge myself so I talked to my guys and said, ‘can you ask Mike Binder if he’s still interested in doing it.’ I can’t articulate why I like it so much, but it hurt my heart when I read it so much. It also made me laugh. I just wanted to accept the challenge of doing that role.
If you’ve already done “Punch Drunk Love”, why were you afraid of taking on this role?
Adam Sandler: I think I had to just create a guy and I wasn’t sure I could do it. I was pretty sure on Punch Drunk Love I could do it. When Paul Thomas Anderson gave me that script and he was telling me about it, it was ‘oh, okay, I can do that’. This movie, every time Mike would tell me ‘hey, you can do it. You can do it’, in my head I was like ‘I don’t know if I can do it. I hope I can do it. I sure want to. I don’t want to let you down. I don’t want to let anybody down who has been through this tragedy’. So, I put a lot of pressure on myself and I think maybe that is what I was afraid of. But, I committed to it eventually.
With this mess with Isaiah Washington etc. could you talk about that scene at the box office [where Cheadle calls Adam a faggot] did you think about taking it out?
Mike Binder: No, I would never take it out. I don’t buy into any of that. As a writer and a director, I don’t come from a place of malice with that and I think the best example is when they walk into the theater and there is an incredible Mel Brooks scene from Blazing Saddles. I think we’re all just taking it too seriously. My personal take on it is we all know these words are wrong. We know the context of these words are wrong. We also know what comedy is and what real life is. To me, the whole Isaiah Washington and the whole Ann Coulter thing, that doesn’t effect me. What effects me is what I’m doing in my day to day life, the way I’m treating the people in my life and the way I’m teaching my kids to treat people and talk to people. If I had written a scene where somebody was speaking to a gay man in a derogatory way, I wouldn’t use a word like that. I wouldn’t have written that scene. Let’s put it that way. But, if I had that scene and it all became so sensitive I might be saying ‘should we be re-cutting this?’. You understand to me, the difference.
The little motor scooter was almost a character in the film. Why did you have him riding the scooter?
Mike Binder: It just looked fun and it seemed a thing that Charlie would use. I was trying to do the Silver Surfer. I wanted Charlie to be the Silver Surfer surfing the streets of New York at night and I wanted him to pretend to be the Silver Surfer.
Don, were you worried about getting on the back of the scooter with Adam?
Don Cheadle: Well, a funny thing happened on our way to the scooter. About six weeks before I started on this movie, I tore my Achilles so there was a lot of questions as far as was I going to be able to walk and run around; things I had to do in the movie and the scooter was a potential liability and especially the Adam drove it [laughter].
Liv Tyler: And it was so fast. It went like forty miles an hour or something.
Don Cheadle: So, it was a little scary but it was a hell of a lot of fun to ride it.
Can you talk about the selection of Colossus as the video game that Charlie becomes fixated by? Was there a formal reason?
Mike Binder: Did you ever play the game? It’s amazing. Somebody showed me that game and I called Sandler and said ‘I found the game. You’ve got to see this game’. If you have a chance, you’ve gotta play this game. It’s like a whole other level, such a quest, fighting monsters and demons and it was such a great analogy for Adam’s character and it was just a fun game. I love that thing where the big monster comes up and you just feel that’s what Adam’s character feels about the world and the evil that’s out there.
Don, we’ve talked to some of your Oceans co-stars lately and they’re all saying 13 is the best one since 12 was not so good. Why are your co-stars so down on the last one?
Don Cheadle: I don’t know. Most of those guys are drug addicts (laughs) so there’s a lot of abuse going on. I can’t speak for them. Those guys have a lot of problems. No, I saw it very early and it wasn’t even close to being finished so I haven’t seen it since but apparently they tested it and people seem to really like it. Any movie that I see that I’m in, it’s going to take years…
Mike Binder: I couldn’t even get him to watch this.
Don Cheadle: It takes a long time to where I can be anywhere near to objective about it so it’s like opening a vein.
Adam Sandler: He’s an original, Cheadle. We were shooting this movie during last year’s Oscars when Crash won best picture and I called Don that night to congratulate him and there’s no answer. I’m like ‘I guess he’s getting a lot of calls’. I see him in the morning and I was like ‘That’s great, man’. ‘I just found out!’ He had no idea. He just got a lot of phone messages.
The look of the film is remarkable. A great sense of aloneness with that digital camera. Were you going for the idea that “I am a New Yorker for all Americans”?
Mike Binder: I’m not a New Yorker. I grew up in Detroit. A lot of people out there think it’s one big city but they’re completely different. I think not being a New Yorker helped. I was in New York that day and I was stuck there for five days after. My sense of the movie, I’ll tell you how this movie came about. I was stuck there. I was actually on ABC with Diane Sawyer doing an interview when the first plane hit and I was sitting next to Sarah Ferguson, Fergie, actually. It’s a little known fact. She said ‘I just left the World Trade Center’. We thought it was a small plane that hit. Her office was there. If she hadn’t left to go be on Good Morning American, she’d be dead. We were there and we were stuck there for a while and that night there were all these people walking around. I remember seeing this woman in Bryant? Park and she was just crying hysterically. People were trying to calm her down and I could only imagine who she had lost. I went back there a few years later with my family and I thought, ‘I wonder if there are still people walking the streets that that day has never ended for?’ So, when I wanted to tell that story and do that research, I remember my brother and I talking. We didn’t want to get any helicopter shots. We wanted to shoot the movie from the sidewalk up so you always felt like you were inside a canyon of buildings and you really felt what it was like to be walking the streets. When we found out about this Genesis camera, we did tests and realized that we didn’t have to light blocks and blocks to see blocks and blocks. So we were looking for that but I just started to like the look. It looked so stark and so much like what it is really like when you’re walking down the street.
For Liv and Jada…Liv, I think this is one of your first movies since you’ve had a kid and Jada, you’ve had a little more experience. How do you balance being a working mom and going home and, Jada, you are now a stage mom to to your young children. Also, you mentioned you hope this has an effect on people because they are husbands and wives. Do you take something personally away from your experience?
Liv Tyler: Jada, go first. She’s a more experience mommy than I am.
Jada Pinkett Smith: I guess, as far as the balance, we were just talking about that upstairs. I’m just really lucky to have a lot of assistants. I have a great husband and a great mother and I have Mryna and my mom, especially, when I’m working, she’s helping me at home. At that particular time, Will wasn’t working so he could go pick the kids up and make sure they have all the chocolate cake they want for dinner [laughs and claps] Yay, mommy’s working. Yay daddy!’ So I really think that’s how I’m able to do that. I definitely took something home as far as…
Don Cheadle: That couch. I know you got that couch! You liked that.
Jada: Right. But, just the idea to really confront things when they happen. It validated something that I already knew which is you can’t just allow things to occur over and over again in your relationship and just think you are helping the relationship by not saying anything. You can be festering and creating all these resentments. So it just validated the idea that, when something happens, handle it and be on top of it because that’s how relationships grow and are nurtured.
Liv Tyler: I don’t have an answer.
Mike Binder: Why are you here?
Liv Tyler: I’m trying to think about what I took home but I guess something about compassion and that everybody has limits in life and I know, for me, I’m always wanting to give everybody advice but everybody has their own thing. You can only push people so far. I think I learned something about that; about patience. We’re all made up of different stuff and not to be so critical. And about being a mommy, well, I’ve had the great luxury of taking two years off from work which was amazing for me. I was so lucky I did that to be with my son. So, this was my first time back to work as a woman, a mom and I was a doctor, wow! [laughter]. It was great but I didn’t work that much. I could go to set and work hard for a couple of days and then have a few days to be home. That’s one of the great luxuries we have where we work very intensely and very hard for a period and then we can just be off and have fun.
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