Thursday, May 30, 2002

Interview: "Looking For Laughs"

Dallas Morning News, Written By Charles Ealy
May 30th, 2002

Director Paul Thomas Anderson, known for the dark and moody dramas Boogie Nights and Magnolia, was all smiles at a media conference for his new romantic comedy, Punch-Drunk Love.
The Europeans peppered him with questions, primarily wanting him to explain the American phrase "punch-drunk."

Mr. Anderson acknowledged that the title was hard to translate but said that the movie's main character, played by Adam Sandler, "feels stuff that he can't express, so he throws punches" at walls and bathroom stalls. And when you fall in love, it's even more complicated, and you literally become punch-drunk. "At least that's how I feel when I'm in love," Mr. Anderson said.

He also fended off questions about why he chose Mr. Sandler as a star. Henri Behar of French Vogue noted that the former Saturday Night Live comic isn't known for being the type of actor to appear at Cannes, "the temple of art." Mr. Anderson just smiled, looked at the hang-dog-looking comic and said: "He looks funny. He makes me laugh. ... His ears look funny. I haven't seen him naked, but that might be funny, too."

Mr. Sandler replied rather too quickly: "Just to be honest with you, naked is not so bad."

Co-star Emily Watson, whose previous roles include Breaking the Waves and Hilary and Jackie, said she was just happy to be cast in a romantic comedy "where I don't have to die or cry."

A French critic, apparently hoping to launch into an extended debate, then asked Mr. Anderson about his theme of "incommunicability."

The director just smiled, shook his head, and said he didn't understand the question.

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