Image Entertainment releases The Cobbler at Village East Cinema and AMC Empire on March 13th, 2015.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What was it like exploring the idea of assuming another person's body?
Adam Sandler: It was very easy because once I put on the shoes another actor came in..
Method Man: I havenít thought about it; but Iíve wanted to put on other peopleís shoes before, for sure, especially Adamís. Basically, Tom walked me through it. I came to the assessment that I wasnít trying to be Adamís character, I was trying to be Adam in that characterís body.
Steve Buscemi: Well, one of the first things I asked Tom was ďHow is this going to work? Like do I do Dustin Hoffman?", and he said, ďNo, because itís your voice, and itís the person who steps into those shoes who, sort of, inhabits that person." So, I was very nervous thinking about it, and I just had to stop thinking about it. I canít be Dustin---Iím walking here! It was pretty fun watching these guys play around with that, though, in their own different ways, we all have to deal with it or think about it. I think there was one moment, where we all got confused a bit, especially Dustin. I remember at one moment he said, ďAm I me or am I Adam? I donít know!Ē
AS: Ellen Barkin never knew.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Adam, whose shoes would you choose to be in?
AS: It would be grandma. Just the pleasure she has of making me soup. Just to see it from that side turning on the vaporiser when Iím sick. See what that must be like for her.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Were there any places in New York City that you wanted to visit or places you recognized during the film shoot?
AS: The Lower East Side was great to be shooting in. A lot of my family is from the LES. Good food, nice people, just brought back all the memories for me, just driving around New York and hanging out with my parents and always talking about ďGrandma lived there, and that happened here" and that kind of thing.
Ellen Barkin: I think it was nice to shoot downtown on the Lower East Side because in some way it is the last place in the city that, to me, still looks like the New York I grew up in, and I think itís just that little pocket. Just getting to the East Village, you are getting into a very different part of New York, so it was nostalgic in a lovely way and it also sort of angered me, as I walked around and thought, ďWhy donít I live here anymore?Ē
NYC MOVIE GURU: Thomas, both Up and, in some ways, The Cobbler, deal with helpless people being taken over by big corporations. How important is that issue to you?
Thomas McCarthy: I live in Tribeca right now, and theyíre ripping down these little buildings and building glass towers now. Ellenís right: if you walk around the pockets in the Lower East Side where we shot, there are still vestiges of it, but itís sad to see the city lose all that. I understand development is inevitable, but it is sad when you think that we are losing all of this charm and texture that is the very reason we chose to live here I the first place. It was fun working it into the story, have a context for it, so we could be lighthearted with it. Like all these shopkeepers and stuff, there's a geek side of me that really appreciates it and exploring that with these wonderful actors.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How do you feel about this movie opening in theaters and on VOD simultaneously?
AS: Iím just excited for people to see this movie, and I did see this movie in Toronto at a film festival on the big screen. There were a lot of people in the room, and it was neat because it played like a comedy. There were a lot of laughs, and it is always fun in the theater, hearing group laughs, being on the same wave length and having a great time. This movie is coming out in some theaters, right? [That] will be cool to see. But the fact that you can see it at home, itís great. You work hard, you make the best movie you can, and you just want as many people to watch it as possible. I never want theater to go away it is the greatest for audiences to go, itís the greatest time out on the town, itís a great place, great hand, date, a great place to hang out with friends. But as an actor who works hard at making movies, I think that no matter what people can see the movie on, itís hard to keep a theater for long, there are so many movies, so, when you leave a theater, youíre just glad that thereís a light fare for a movie.
EB:Yes, going to the movies is a great experience, but youíre not going to stop now that there is a new way to watch movies, and more people get to watch it. I saw the movie both ways. I saw it in Toronto, and I saw it in my living room last night, and I have to say, it felt the same way. If itís some IMAX movie then you want them to go to the theater, but this movie held up beautifully.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What was the physical comedy like for you?
MM: I dislocated both my thumbs trying to grab Adamís foot. Both of them. Luckily I had three days off, so I could rest.
AS: That was a good fight we had.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What are some of your bad landlard stories?
AS: My landlord now is always yelling at me: ďPay up. Where is your 250 bucks?Ē And Iím like, ďMy wife. Sheís got it.Ē
SB: I actually once talked my landlord down from rent because I knew that he was overcharging me. I got in the mail the previous tenantís rent, and it was still a hundred bucks less than what I was paying. I made a deal with him because I had two roommates, and he said I wasnít supposed to have two roommates, so he let me have the two roommates and I also got the markdown---the hundred bucks.
EB: I live on 12th street, right across from where the old St. Vincentís was, so when I read the script, I had a very personal connection because you know, where I live, I am watching the entire nature of my neighborhood change with the taking down of one building. Itís a big fucking building and it will change the entire neighborhood. Is it going to happen? Yeah. Can you stop it? I donít know. But does it feel terrible? Yeah, it does. Most of the people on the block, whoíve been there for a while, are all trying to get out as soon as they get in. You know, itís just an interesting thing to think about.
NYC MOVIE GURU: If your character in the film were you to ask you how he could be happier, what advice would you give him? What do you think would make for a great double-feature with The Cobbler?
AS: How would I try, as Adam, to cheer up my character? I donít know. I like that he is good at what he does. I canít cobble as well as that guy. He's got a loving mom, heís got the house, the bills that mom didnít pay. I think the best thing heís got going for him is the plastic on the couch. He doesnít have to clean up if he spills. Iíd just tell him ďEverything is going to be alright, Max. Believe me. Youíre a handsome man in a beard. Enjoy it.Ē
EB: Iím going to double-feature with Itís a Wonderful Life. I think it has the same feel.
MM: Freaky Friday.
MM: Did you ever see the movie The Landlord? Itís a different kind of feel.
AS: And I think one movie weíre all forgetting is Caligula. Let Caligula go last, though.
TM: One inspiration for [co-writer] Paul Sado and I writing was Marty. We felt that Max had a bit of Marty in him, especially with his mom.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How important are shoes? Do you think they say something important about the person who's wearing them?
SB:There was a big controversy about the shoes [I wore on Boardwalk Empire] because they werenít the right time period. I still have people come up to me and say, ďHow could you walk in those shoes?Ē
MM: In my culture, itís more or less like, thatís the first thing women look at. Women look at the build, and then they look at the shoes. If you donít have nice shoes, you donít have money. For me? Itís lawyers. First thing Iím looking at is his shoes. If he has good shoes, this dudeís getting money. Weíre going to do this thing. If he has terrible shoes? He's a dublic defender.
EB: I think, as an actor, the first thing I ask for is my characterís shoes. Itís the first thing I think on about myself, and itís the first thing I work on with the costume designer, because I think itís how you are grounded. I think itís different if youíre wearing Aldoís or a six-inch heel.
NYC MOVIE GURU: What do you think are the basic elements that turn a comedy into a classic?
TM: I donít know. If there was an equation for that, there would be a lot of classics right now. I think it has something to do with being original and how it connects with the audience. Whether itís comedy or drama, or in this case a combo of both, our job is to keep telling stories and see where they land with audiences. See how they continue on---movies and shows have long lives now. It stops there for me. I love filmmaking, I like collaborating with people and I love sharing it with audiences, but then I sort of let go of it, and what happens, happens.
AS: For me, it helps to have Steve Buscemi here. My mother says to me, I swear to god, when Iím making a new movie, she says, ďOh, is Steve Buscemi in it?Ē Iíd say, ďYeah.Ē And she says, ďOh, then itís going to be a good one.Ē I swear, every time. And when I say Steveís not in it, she says, ďOh.Ē