Actor, 'Funny People'

While the comedian’s hot streak may have cooled slightly — the $109 million-grossing “Bedtime Stories” underperformed for Disney and failed to corral the hoped-for kiddie crowd — Adam Sandler is still one of Hollywood’s most reliable hitmakers.

He’s also willing to stretch beyond his beloved fratboy persona and well-established base, as evidenced by projects such as “Punch Drunk Love” and “Reign Over Me.” In this summer’s seriocomic “Funny People,” Sandler plays a super-rich, super-unhappy comedian-turned-movie star who’s diagnosed with terminal leukemia — a role written especially for him by Judd Apatow.

“I was excited to see him in an R-rated movie with a stripped-down, realistic tone, and I was excited to show off his standup skills. He was one of my favorite standup comedians ever, and almost nobody has seen him do it,” notes the director, who feels that Sandler’s core demo won’t be fazed by the Big Issues that “Funny People” addresses. “His success rate is unparalleled, and he’s developed an audience that will follow him into new territory.”

Apatow also feels that “Funny People” showcases “another great facet of Adam’s talent. He’s a fearless actor. If he has to be funny, he was funny; if I needed him to be mean or sad, he would nail it. There’s nothing he can’t do.”

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