Adam Sandler raises hair in new movie "Zohan"

Tue Jun 3, 2008 4:25pm EDT
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By Iain Blair

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Comedian Adam Sandler has played a wedding singer, a waterboy, a firefighter pretending to be gay, and the devil's son.

So it was likely just a matter of time before he ended up playing a tough-as-nails Israeli commando who secretly wants to be a hairdresser -- the wacky premise behind "You Don't Mess With The Zohan," his new comedy debuting in theaters on Friday.

Sandler, who hails from Brooklyn, New York, said the inspiration for "Zohan" dates back to his childhood when he heard stories about how tough the Israeli army was, even though the country was small.

"Anytime anyone comes after them, they take care of business," Sandler told reporters at a recent news conference, "As a Jewish kid, you were proud of that. So I admired them."

Later in life, Sandler said he hung out with many Israelis in California, went to their weddings and parties and "couldn't believe how insane it got."

"An Israeli guy who used to cut my hair, and I just thought it'd be funny to see an Israeli soldier, a bad-ass fearless warrior who had a little secret dream of wanting to do something else, but was embarrassed to share it with anyone," Sandler said.

Co-written by Sandler, writer/director Judd Apatow and "Saturday Night Live's" Robert Smigel, "Zohan" features a large ensemble cast that includes John Turturro and Chris Rock, and has cameos by the likes of Mariah Carey and John McEnroe.

Sandler portrays the title character who fakes his own death so that he can disappear to New York City and pursue his dream. But his violent past soon catches up with him, and Zohan finds himself in the middle of another war, this time between immigrant Israelis and Palestinians.   Continued...

<p>Actor Adam Sandler at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards in Los Angeles June 1, 2008. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>