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Adam Sandler recommends space travel as therapy

By Deborah Cole/AFP Published Feb 22, 2024 8:41 am

Adam Sandler said that playing a lonely astronaut hurtling through space in his latest Netflix movie convinced him of the therapeutic effects of total isolation.

The US actor, at the Berlin film festival for the world premiere of his all-star sci-fi picture Spaceman, said his hectic schedule left little room for the kind of reflection that he found at the outer reaches of the galaxy.

"I don't have that much time to be alone. I get like maybe eight minutes tops and then I have to do something," Sandler told reporters. 

"So being alone on a spaceship—I think I recommend that to a lot of people, to most of you, every one of you," he quipped.

Spaceman is the latest release in a multi-picture deal Sandler signed with Netflix. It sees the popular comic and romcom hero return to the dramatic key of critical favorites like Uncut Gems.

In the movie directed by Sweden's Johan Renck (Chernobyl), Sandler's character Jakub embarks on an epic journey searching for the origins of the universe.

But while the endeavour makes him a national hero, it estranges him from his pregnant wife back home played by British actor Carey Mulligan.

As the psychological pressure mounts in the space capsule, Jakub is shocked by the sudden appearance of a giant, inquisitive spider (Paul Dano) who speaks to him and draws him out of his depression. 

"He basically tells me to stop running away," Sandler said of Dano's character.

"You can allow yourself to keep throwing blocks up to reality and what's painful... when you have something right here that is beautiful and perfect." 

'Half mad'

Mulligan, who is nominated for an Oscar next month for her role in Maestro, described Sandler as "the best, fun and the easiest person to act with because he's so truthful and beautiful and soulful."

"What's arresting about him in the spaceship on his own is that it's like some part of his soul has been crushed," she said.

"He looks half alive, or half mad, and I don't know how he did that with his eyes and his face," she said of Sandler.

Mulligan said she wished "we could all have a little friendly spider... to be able to just refocus us on the things that matter."

Dano (The Fabelmans), who lends his voice to the computer-generated arachnid, said his character was happy to help Jakub remember what he knew all along. 

"I think we all could use a kind shoulder, a kind set of eyes to be there for us," he said.

Spaceman is screening out of competition at the 74th Berlin film festival, which wraps up this weekend. (AFP)