Adam Sandler plays Max Simkin in “The Cobbler” who repairs shoes in the same New York shop that has been in his family for generations. Disenchanted with the grind of daily life, Max stumbles upon an heirloom that allows him to step into the lives of his customers and see the world in a new way. Sometimes walking in another man's shoes is the only way to find out who you really are.
Q: How did the story come about?
A: The story started with me thinking about the phrase ‘to walk a mile in another man’s shoes’ and what that meant. I didn’t know where it originated so I was researching that and noodling around with it and then I reached out to Paul Sado who co-wrote the movie with me. And it just spun out from that, there were a lot of late night conversations until we hammered out the story.
Q: Can you describe the story?
A: Its about a fourth generation (really fifth generation) cobbler on the Lower East Side who now lives in Brooklyn, but they still have the family shop on the lower east side. He is sort of feeling a bit stuck in his life that he feels was predestined for him. He feels he had no control over it. Eventually he discovers a family heirloom -- an old stitcher -- that he has to use in a pinch. The stitcher is actually the thing that sews the soles onto a pair of shoes. He uses it and finds out it has a special power which enables him to be and do different things in life. It’s really about self discovery as much as anything else.
A: At the beginning of the story Max feels stuck in his life. Like a lot of people, he has a mid-life problem, he is looking around thinking ‘is this it?’ In the course of the story he discovers there’s a lot more to his life. And also there’s a big hole in his heart at the beginning of the story because his father disappeared when he was very young. In the course of the story the mystery is solved and he has a moment to close that gap with his father.
Q: How does being an actor inform your directing?
A: I love working with actors, to me it’s one of the best parts of the job. I love casting a movie, putting the pieces together and watching different actors with different acting backgrounds come together. In this case you have Adam Sandler and Dustin Hoffman and Steve Buscemi and Cliff Smith –and I love making them all work together and watching that happen. When you’re working with real pros – and all these actors are really wonderful people to work with – Ellen Barkin, Melonie Diaz, Dan Stevens, and so many others --- its such a privilege.
A: Adam was the first piece. We wrote it with him in mind. We reached out to him – I didn’t know him at all and we just hit it off immediately and he jumped on board. Everything else kind of fell into place after that and we assembled this great cast. We’d been working on the script for a couple of years but the movie itself came together pretty quickly. It’s nice when that happens.
Q: What was it like working with Dustin Hoffman?
A: Dustin is an artist and he is incredibly thorough before he signs on. He likes to make sure he really gets the movie. It’s a privilege to sit on the phone for a couple hours and talk to Dustin Hoffman about your script. I learned a lot.
Q: How does THE COBBLER compare to your other films?
A: The Cobbler feels like one of my movies at the start but then it becomes wildly different. We have magic and action sequences and visit a lot of different worlds. There’s a texture and scope to it that was wonderful to play with it. There is a lot of plot – it’s a very plot driven movie – and owes a lot of various genres, specifically fairy tale and super hero and it was a chance to explore that in our own way. And that was both challenging and a lot of fun.
“The Cobbler” opens March 11 in cinemas from Pioneer Films.
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