Helmer channels ‘Spanglish’ jitters

Brooks cuts it close with latest pic

HOLLYWOOD — Helmer-scribe James L. Brooks admitted to a case of nerves when Variety screened “Spanglish” the night before his pic opened.

During filming, “you’re in such a cocoon,” he said. “Never before have I been in a situation when I finished so close to release; I’m just coming out from the hole.”

He said he finished the pic 10 days prior, prompting moderator Pete Hammond to tell the Dec. 16 aud, “so what you’re seeing is basically a wet print.”

The helmer said “it never occurred to him” that of all the women in the film, people would focus on Tea Leoni‘s character, admitting he was first drawn to the story’s menschy male lead.

“I wanted to do the Adam Sandler character,” he said. “I wanted to do that guy.”

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