Interview : Rob Schneider

Rob Schneider is cheerfully unapologetic when it comes to discussing his latest cinematic foray into the comically extreme. The comic "Saturday Night Live" alumni returns to the character that established him as a cultural icon in certain quarters, that of male whore extraordinaire, "Deuce Bigalow".

This time he is in Amsterdam where European male whores are being inexplicably murdered and his friend TJ is a suspect. of course plot is immaterial here as this movie is all about nose penises, strange looking women and gross out humour. After trying to reprise the character unsuccessfully since the first one through original studio Disney, the actor, who also co-wrote the script, felt the time was ripe to bring back the child-like Deuce. "I just got tired of trying to do PG13 movies and squeeze in and try to manipulate the humour into this more potentially marketable form," says a relaxed Schneider in a West Hollywood hotel room. "PG13, is less fun and less freeing, so, this is like – let’s just go for it, you know? Disney didn’t want to make it and so I took an extra year – which was great because the whole time Disney would have ruined this movie, because they don’t know how to make funny movies for adults and really haven’t done it since I don’t know when."

While some film makers are concerned about crossing the line to extreme gross out humour, Schneider says he is not out to shock for the sake of it. "Well, the thing is I do care if I think we’re going too far. It’s not just shock to shock for shock’s sake: it’s got to be funny but at the same time the audience has seen so many things. They haven’t seen a girl’s penis but at the same time you never really see it but you kind of see it underneath there. So, you have to go for it. To me it’s a teeter/totter effect. I’ve always tried to mix sentimental sweet and then just gross out. So I’m always kind of thinking of the balance of it and you have to go for it. "

Amidst the sheer frenetic and often wild comedy in this latest Deuce saga, Schneider says that he identifies with this rather strangle but intrinsically sweet, character. " He’s a guy who’s trying to do the right thing, even though he’s not the brightest guy. What I liked about him is that he’s good with some things and expert at something with fish and cleaning fish tanks was his thing. He knows the right PH balance and stuff and so, in that sense he’s not as good with people. I was kind of not the most comfortable kid with other kids around when I was growing up so you slightly disconnect which kind of works for this guy. But he’s a sweet guy, wants to do the right thing in the right situation and he’s likeable. So I think you can maybe take things a little bit further than you could if he was a character who is kind of a rascal."

Schneider balances between creating main characters as a vehicle for his comically twisted view of the world, with doing supporting roles in pal Adam Sandler’s films. the father of a teenager, it seems that the actor has little time to enjoy a personal life and admits that early period of unemployment has led him to being such a workaholic. "For so many years I was just trying to get jobs and I remember thinking ‘I’m never going to get a job. I’m never going to work.’ Then all of a sudden you get a job and you’re so happy to do it and when Adam got hired there we couldn’t get on the air. We were hired as writers which is the best thing because then we really had to write good stuff and I remember them telling us ‘How are you going to get on here?’ Because we see other guys doing movies and stuff like that and I had no problem. I loved writing for Phil Hartman, Dana Carvey and these other guys, but they said ‘If you can come up with something you can do better than these guys we’ll let you do it.’ And sure enough they were right. I came up with the copy machine guy, while Adam came up with the opera man and then boom. So honestly Paul, you never know when your next movie could be your last. After the Hot Chick I couldn’t get a job for about a year. It was tough. The only person who wanted to hire me after that was Adam Sandler."

Schneider remains cheerfully philosophical about the critical digs taken at him over the years, though on occasion he does take it personally. "Sometimes for me it’s been a blessing and a curse. A curse because if someone’s saying that you’re horrible – some of the reviews are just vicious and are personal attacks on me – it can hurt. But it also frees me up because I don’t have to try or worry about having to please these people because it’s been such a relief for me. Now I just try to make movies the way I think are funny."

And Schneider is clearly ignoring his critics and working harder than ever, beginning with his pet project "Hard Art". "What I wanted to do was a movie like Groove Tube, which is like a series of really outrageous scenes tied together to a movie. I don’t want to just do a sketch movie, but something more and I want to bring in some other film makers, perhaps, people from around the world that I’d like to do things with."

but that won’t stop the actor from continuing to work with Sandler, he insists. "I’m going to play Prince Habebu in his next movie, Click, with Christopher Walken and Kate Beckinsale. I’m going to play this crazy guy, another Hula-type character, like Fifty First Dates. The next one I’m doing is Harv of the Barbarian which I don’t think is with his production company.

And Schneider is not ruling out a third Deuce. "If audiences go bananas for this one then you might see Deuce III Time Whore. What I like about it is I think the movie is so relentless and so out there that I think we might even get some decent reviews finally. Who knows? I’m always an optimist."



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