Rob Schneider interview
Rob Schneider made his name back in the early nineties on Saturday Night Live – where many illustrious comics have gone onto make it big in Hollywood, including the likes of; Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal and Bill Murray. Since then Schneider has gone on to star in numerous films alongside friend and working buddy Adam Sandler, whose joint efforts include: The Waterboy, 50 First Dates, Little Nicky, Big Daddy and Mr. Deeds. Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo was an international success - which Schneider not only started in but wrote the screenplay for as well. Now 6 years later Deuce has returned with: Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.
LF: What made you decided to return to Deuce’s world and man-whoring?
RS: It’s the one character that made me popular over the world, and everywhere I went people kept bringing it up. I don’t do stand-up anymore but I’ll perform for American and British servicemen and they were saying to me: “You know when we get back to the barracks we like to watch comedies” So I agreed to make it, and I wanted to give people something that was unadulterated, that’s funny, that I’m not going to edit and I’m going to keep in all the funny squeamish parts in – which I did and I make no apologies for it.
It’s not as charming as the first film, there are some parts that are so crass but I had to sit next to my mother and watch it. I’ve never seen her go through so many facial contortions, my mum was not impressed by the woman with a penis for a nose, she says to me: “What if a woman really has that problem?” and I said if there’s a woman in Chernobyl that really had a penis on her face I will personally fly over there and apologise and she said: “Well you better.”
LF: Had she seen the first Deuce Bigalow film?
RS: She liked the first one; I put her in the first one in fact. Deuce Two is a bitter-sweet experience, I think if it had been 10 minutes longer it would have been better.
LF: How come we go to see a typical Schneider comedy and actually see American foreign policy being commented upon more then in any other mainstream movie?
RS: You know Deuce is an idiot. He really is a moron, he’s not the kind of guy to read the newspaper he cleans fish tanks for a living – he’s an innocent. That's why I make fun out of Canadians cause they go out of their way to say they're Canadian: “We’re not American we’re Canadians” – and I just think well you're just Americans that live a bit further north, don’t give me that crap.
I thought it would be fun to do, you know if you’re an American working in Europe you’ve got to deal with this anti-Americanism. People in Holland were shocked that Bush got re-elected. I was there during the elections and I was going: “Guys, New York and L.A. don’t decide the elections, it’s the in-between.” And you know they’re good people in America but they’re making a bad choice. They’re being used by fear and I think people are finally realising that and coming out of it. I do think they are being manipulated - if you take out the word ‘terrorist’ and put in ‘communist’ it works really well. The Republicans only do well if they have a real bad guy and they have a really bad guy now. But I wanted to touch on it for humour sakes.
LF: But the audience that elected that President presumably are the movie going public as well?
RS: Apparently…I think we are definitely in a conservative era in America but its young people being conservative that is shocking to me. I’m waiting for the pendulum to swing back because I guarantee you that you can’t get away with things you could do 20 years ago. I imagined that America was going to become more and more liberal when in fact it’s become more and more conservative. But I think it’s ready; I think this pendulum is ready to swing back.
You know after Watergate and Nixon and Vietnam Americans were so serious. The films coming out were really gritty and violent, and then there became a period of real silliness, openness and craziness, influenced by the likes of Monty Python and Peter Sellers. America was silly and fun and it was just an explosion of liberal thought, but that all really stopped in 1980 when Regan got elected and it hasn’t changed since.
LF: Do you think the blatant American discontent towards Deuce, especially in the scene when he’s wearing the stars and stripes shirt and walking through the streets of Amsterdam alienated the American audience?
RS: I don’t know. There is a conservative bend in America and I know we did go up against a couple of big films when we opened over there. But I would say that there could be a correlation. You’ve got to wait till the film has a life - and we’ll just see how it does on DVD - but you know people in America laughed at it. I will say that that particular scene was much longer and there was more anti-American stuff in it, but after the first line the American audience went silent. I’m kind of embarrassed that we’re the only film to touch on anti-Americanism and we’re a comedy – but it’s valid and I’m glad that the studio left most of it in.
LF: You really seem to be pushing the boundaries with this film in terms of swearing and some of the gross-out gags was there anything that you had to leave on the cutting-room floor?
RS: There was a scene in the man-whore whore house which was the best scene I’ve ever written in my life and it got cut become there’s homoerotism in it. The studios got really squeamish and cut it. I got to tell you I’m sick of working with the studios – the next couple of movies I’m going to do independently. They test the movies [on audiences] then they over react – I’m proud of Hollywood and they make up a large part of the market – you know, people want an ending that satisfies them and makes them happy and that’s why Hollywood films have been so successful, but at a certain point I think they mess with it too much. And I think I let them mess with editing a little bit too much – that said they left a lot of crazy stuff in there. You know just hearing the ‘C’ word in a movie is kind of shocking.
But in regards to what’s too far? I think there is some stuff that could make people angry, like religious references. I think if a guy dressed up as Jesus and started sleeping with nuns then that would be a problem; that would be offensive. I don’t think there’s a problem with being outrageous, but we don’t go out of our way to offend. When we first screened the movie the audience was screaming at the penis nose lady and I was saying: “Is this a good thing or a bad thing?”
I don’t think the film is mean spirited, at least I don’t believe so, but then at the same time you can’t be afraid to offend. The way I look at it is I think: “Is there a line? Did I cross it?” Its like the tide, it ebbs and flows, social morals go in and out and you just hope its ebbing when they’re flowing if that makes sense.
LF: Did you want to go to other parts of Europe?
RS: We wanted to but the budget wouldn’t allow. There was just too much plot with this film; if I had to say what the problem with this film was, is that there was too much plot. I wish we could have spent more time with the man-whores, that was interesting to me. I was trying to write the script and the first draft was about man-whore school but the classes were so filthy and disgusting that we threw it away and said well lets just keep it in their minds. So basically the premise was: who is killing all the famous gigolos of Europe? You know the movie doesn’t really hold up, but it was a good frame to work around. I wanted to have fun with the lingo, with the different sexual techniques; usually the funniest thing was a country and a pastry – the Mongolian sticky bun for example or the Danish snow cone. It was an experience, I hope there are more highs then lows, it’s an uneven film, tough to make in Europe but I don’t regret it.
LF: Is there anyone out there who you struggle with, even for your sensibilities?
RS: Irvine Welsh. His stories really pushed me; Acid House really pushed me as a reader. But I think Irvine Welsh pushes the boundaries and I’m going to look into and see if anyone has the movie rights to Filth, but I don’t know how you make that – it scares me. How do you do that? How do make that into a movie? It’s a challenge.
You know now that the box-office is down in Hollywood, the only time they get scared is when they’re making less money. And Hollywood works this way, people don’t think: “What will prolong my career the longest?” its: “What will delay my firing the longest?” They all know they’re going to go down, they all know they’re going to get fired, they all work from fear and they all want to hit homeruns. So what happens now, just like in the late ‘60s when the box office was down is that maybe they’ll take more chances on films.