While opinions on Adam Sandler’s acting abilities range from “capable, albeit range-limited” to “talentless clown,” depending on who you ask, there is one thing that is absolutely beyond doubt: When it comes to loyalty, there are very few who could compare to him. It is not a coincidence that the same people keep appearing in all the films under the Happy Madison Productions umbrella. With Adam Sandler, nepotism works – both literally and figuratively.
What is even more remarkable is that if not for Adam Sandler, many of these actors would probably be doing something really different to earn their daily bread. If there is one person in Hollywood who should get a tax-break incentive for keeping people in the workforce who otherwise would probably be on the dole – Mr. Sandler is that person.
Examples abound. Jonathan Loughran’s most recent credits include episodic roles in the 2008 stinker “The House Bunny,” the star-laden but still quickly forgotten “Get Smart” (2008), the well-received but little-known beyond its genre fans “Grindhouse” (2007), and the two 2006 throwaway comedies “The Benchwarmers” and “Grandma’s Boy.” Yet he is a veritable staple in Sandler’s films, going back more than a decade, to “The Waterboy” (1998). In fact, he even appeared in the 1996 “Bulletproof,” which co-starred – you guessed it – Adam Sandler. In addition, Sandler hired Loughran as his assistant for almost every film in which Sandler had even an episodic role – from “The Animal” (2001) to “Strange Wilderness” (2008).
And has anyone seen much of Norm McDonald lately? Beyond his SNL fame, McDonald’s perhaps most memorable role in recent years was the voice of Lucky the Dog in the “Dr. Doolittle” franchise – which really speaks for itself in regards to demand for his services in the movie industry lately. McDonald had some walk-in roles on the silver screen, specifically in “My Name Is Earl,” but not much beyond that. Yet Sandler keeps bringing him back from the complete dead – most recently in “Grown Ups” (2010). McDonald is one of Sandler production’s alums, having started in 1995 Billy Madison (which was also his most involved role in Sandler’s films, at least in terms of screentime).
For Steve Buscemi, too, the blockbuster days of “Armageddon” (1998), “Pulp Fiction” (1994) and “Reservoir Dogs” (1992) are far in the past. And even though his workload in Hollywood hasn’t dried up to the extent that his former SNL teammate Norm McDonald’s has, Buscemi has bounced around quite a lot between episodic roles and between cinema and television before landing the lead role of Nucky Thompson in the upcoming HBO’s miniseries “The Boardwalk Empire.” In all this while, however, Buscemi kept appearing in Sandler’s films, starting with “Billy Madison” (1995) and most recently in “Grown Ups” (2010).
One should expect the trend to continue, with possibly some new faces being added soon. Seth Rogen, perhaps?