“Adam Sandler made a movie for kids and their mothers. Can you fucking believe it?”
Adam Shankman, director of Walt Disney Pictures Bedtime Stories, set the mood for the entire press conference as soon as he sat down. The rest of the panel, which included Adam Sandler, Keri Russell, Russell Brand and screenwriter Matt Lopez, followed suit and kept their answers light and upbeat. When someone asked what they hoped audiences would take away with them after watching the film, Russell Brand quickly answered, “Their litter.”
Adding a little bit of seriousness, the panel shared their modified holiday plans in light of the current economic landscape. Many of them are limiting their gift-giving, like Adam Shankman, whose family is doing a secret Santa gift exchange. Keri Russell, recently a mother, said she mandated that “‘No one go crazy. One gift for the kid.’ Which translates to five.” Russell Brand, on the other hand, is going the opposite direction and splurging on his family. “I used to be poor,” he says, “I’ve got loads of money now. My family’s getting loads of things.”
To experience the chemistry of the cast firsthand is a bit like watching a family you don’t know interact with each other, sharing inside jokes and private knowledge that only comes with having lived with someone. This, of course, lends itself perfectly to Bedtime Stories. In the film, Sandler plays Skeeter Bronson, a seemingly lifelong loser with a dead-end job. Things start turning around for him when he has to watch his niece and nephew for the better part of a week. Skeeter discovers that the bedtime stories he tells – which have their own separate genres, ranging from westerns to sci-fi – start to come true in his real life, but in very odd ways and not always positive.
Screenwriter Matt Lopez explained one of his inspirations for the screenplay. “It’s just about the fun of storytelling. What I was really sort of captivated by and what I think brings a lot of fun to the movie is the notion that if you try to tell a four-year-old a bedtime story, they tend to take the story in whatever direction they feel like taking it.” Sandler sympathized, explaining how his daughter always demands her bedtime stories revolve around food.
Bedtime Stories is a bit of a departure for Sandler who is best known for his more man-child films like Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy. “Some of the times, [kids’] mothers yell at me, telling me that I’ve 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.” In Sandler’s defense, Shankman adds that this is still the same comedy you’d expect from an Adam Sandler movie, except no one swears and no one gets hit.
Keri described the set as being very family-friendly. “That was one of the cool things about this movie…everyone had kids. So it was really fun. Everyone would stop and play with the kids. Elephants were on the set one day and everyone brought their kids and took pictures with the elephants. Or I was dressed as a mermaid one day and everyone took pictures with me.”
“I have pictures with the mermaid,” Russell Brand added, “Different motivation!”
Having seen the film, it’s definitely safe to take your kids to this holiday season, despite Russell’s innuendos. Bedtime Stories opens Christmas Day.