A real romance, at least in Hollywood

By Leena Tailor

Drew and Adam revisit their goofy onscreen chemistry.

Drew Barrymore, left, as a mum-of-five, and Alyvia Alyn Lind in the Adam Sandler romcom Blended.
Drew Barrymore, left, as a mum-of-five, and Alyvia Alyn Lind in the Adam Sandler romcom Blended.

There was something about Adam Sandler that prompted a young Drew Barrymore to pursue the Hollywood comedian like a giddy fan-girl in her early 20s.

Sandler had just completed the comedy Happy Gilmore and Barrymore had recently made her dramatic breakthrough in Riding in Cars with Boys.

"I was just so smitten with him and such a super-fan," recalls Barrymore, 39. "I was like, 'Oh my God, this person is so wonderful.' I believed in him and appreciated him so much that I stalked him, called him, asked him to please have lunch with me and convinced him that I was absolutely knowledgeable that we were supposed to partner up.

"I'm still convinced to this day that it's the best thing I've ever done as far as my job and life is concerned because he is the best partner I've ever had.

"It's a partnership that transcends even romance. We're a great, awesome duo."
The gushy encounter led to the stars pairing up for two films that remain rom-com favourites today - 1998's The Wedding Singer and 2005's 50 First Dates.

Now, almost a decade on, the duo reunites in the family comedy Blended, about single parents Jim (Sandler) and Lauren (Barrymore), who, after a disastrous blind date, find themselves stuck with each other - and the five children they have between them - at a South African holiday resort for blended families.

As well as starring in the film, Sandler was also a producer and says as dad to two girls he was drawn to the script for its family themes.

"I really loved the story about good parents wanting to raise a good family and give a nice backbone for their kids to grow up and feel safe," says Sandler, 47.

"I knew we wanted to make a funny movie and I knew we wanted to make a romantic movie but I also just loved the message of, 'If you commit to being a good parent, you've got to be a good parent'."

Despite the time that has passed since Sandler and Barrymore - whose second daughter was born in April - filmed 50 First Dates, Sandler says their goofy chemistry returned the minute they started filming.

"Drew actually said she had a hard time being mean to me in the beginning. I would tell her, 'It's what the movie is - you can do it.'

"But we had fun and Drew was incredible. She played a divorced wife and mother being overwhelmed with, 'How am I going to make my family work?' so well.

"In every scene I couldn't believe how awesome she was and I would always tell [director Frank] Coraci, 'Stay on Drew!'"

The cast also includes Weeds' Kevin Nealon, teen up-and-comer Bella Thorne and Bridesmaids' Wendi McLendon-Covey, who signed on to the film before knowing the story.

"I said yes before I even read the script because I heard it was Adam and Drew," she says.

"So I was like, 'I'll play waitress number four just to be in this.' But when I read it, I was happy to see that blended families are being celebrated because there are a lot of them.

"When you're lucky enough to find love again and you're able to blend the whole family, you should have a fun vacation."

Blended is screening now.

- Herald on Sunday

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