Popcorn Patrol Report: The Reel On Location

A special screening for students at the University of California at Berkeley
receives some very special guests, with many moviegoers having to be turned away

Blame It On The "Reign"

by Omar P.L. Moore/PopcornReel.com

The film: "Reign Over Me" 
The stars: Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle

The director: Mike Binder

The place: Shattuck Cinemas, Berkeley, California

The date: March 13, 2007

(Unless otherwise stated, all pictures by Omar P.L. Moore)

Poor lighting conditions (and a blurred camera) reign over Adam Sandler as he speaks to a journalist last night at the lobby entrance to the Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley, California.
Don Cheadle, star of "Reign Over Me" looks on (as we look over the hair of a journalist) during an interview.  A special screening of "Reign Over Me" was held for University of California at Berkeley students last night.  Mike Binder, the film's director, also attended. 

March 14, 2007

BERKELEY, California --

When you get stars like Academy Award-nominated Don Cheadle and superstar comedian Adam Sandler coming to your neighborhood, you had better be there.  Or be square.  The word got around faster than Federal Express early last night as both arrived to attend a special screening of their latest film "Reign Over Me", which will be released on March 23 by Columbia Pictures, just in time for spring break.

The film's director, Mike Binder, who also appears in the film, attended the screening.  Mr. Binder also wrote the film's screenplay.

Throngs of people shouted "Adam!", "Don!", screaming and waving and doing whatever they could to get the two stars to look their way.  Both Mr. Sandler and Mr. Cheadle were smiling enthusiastically, relaxed and casual, obliging the crowd who had waited patiently for them to arrive.

"Reign Over Me", the best American film of the year so far, is a story about two people whose hearts and souls have been wounded or truncated by the events in life that happen to us so suddenly, events beyond our control, and our journey back to a semblance of normalcy.  The film also stars Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler, Saffron Burrows, Donald Sutherland, and the director Mike Binder.

"Reign On Me" (the Popcorn Reel early review of the film will appear this weekend) unfolds with such emotional scope and breadth that it sneaks up and grabs hold of you.  Not to mention that it features the best work of Adam Sandler's career, which should earn the comic actor a lot of attention, plaudits and several award nominations next year if the powers-that-be who vote on awards have good memories.  But the film's director went further when The Popcorn Reel asked him about trying to have the film released more towards the end of the year instead of next week: "he [pointing to Mr. Sandler] should get an Oscar."  And with that, Mr. Binder, who was already hurriedly making his way to the movie theater room, kept walking, with a quick smile.

Mr. Sandler, who in some quarters of the print media earned a reputation for not granting interviews to them presumably because of inaccuracies in what they had previously written about him, happily gave interviews to the gathered press last night, warming to the task with some of his trademark banter, monotone voice, and spontaneous bursts of humor.  He appeared as relaxed and down to earth as an actor making $29 million in a year can possibly be.  (Forbes Magazine has Mr. Sandler tied for third place on its list of top Hollywood film actor earners of 2006, behind Tom Cruise (first, $67 million) and Denzel Washington (second, $39 million.)

Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler in Mike Binder's "Reign On Me".  The new film from Columbia Pictures opens in North America on March 23.
(Photo: Sony Pictures)

He playfully bemoaned his friends in front of the press ("my friends are so damn lazy lately, I've got to kick them in the ass and get that going," he said, referring to a future project that Mr. Sandler has in mind.)  As for other films on the more immediate horizon: "we did a movie called 'I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry', me and Kevin James (star of U.S. television's "The King Of Queens" comedy series) did, and that's coming out in the summer."  He added that there is a project being developed with him and Anna Faris (of "Lost In Translation" and other films.)  Miss Faris, Sandler says, "wants to play a Playboy Bunny who gets kicked out of the [Playboy] mansion.  And we are still putting that [film] together."  The actor was unsure if the film will get released as it is in the stages of development.

In "Reign Over Me" Adam Sandler plays a dentist who has been struck by life's hardships.  An inactive practitioner of dentistry, he has lost his internal compass and wanders the streets of New York City on a go-ped, streets that seem eerily deserted.

Mr. Sandler kindly acknowledged the early praise he got from one questioner for his performance, and The Popcorn Reel asked him about the preparation he underwent to become the character in "Reign Over Me."  "I did have to go to places that I didn't want, or ever want to even think about going to, but I knew the pressure and the meaning behind the movie and what my man [his onscreen incarnation Charlie Fineman] went through . . . and how important that is to the world, so I put that in my mind while I was working.  That's why I tried to go as deep as I could go."

Don Cheadle plays Alan Johnson, a dentist practicing the profession in New York City.  Mr. Cheadle's troubled onscreen character undergoes an internal metamorphosis that is uplifting, heartwarming and funny.  How did he prepare for the task of playing the role?  "Having been in a 15-year relationship there were a lot of parallels to draw from," the actor (and Oscar nominee for "Hotel Rwanda") told The Popcorn Reel.  "Alan Johnson isn't really sure what the problem is and what's eating him.  He just knows that there's something that's not coming all the way up to snuff with him.  And I think it's a lack of his communication that he's not really being attentive to his relationship and it's caused all these other things to start to kind of waffle.  And I think that's why it's really interesting that these two guys meet each other that they both kind of suffer from the same lack of sharing and communications."  The film touches on global news events of the past few years, but as Mr. Cheadle was quick to say, is not about any of them.  "It's about loss and recovery." 

Mr. Cheadle has been busy off-screen, testifying before Congress after coming back from a fact-finding trip to the Sudan with his "Ocean's Thirteen" co-star George Clooney last year.  The loss that the people of Sudan have suffered during years of ongoing civil war is immeasurable.  Mr. Cheadle has also been heavily involved in the efforts to donate to and repair Rwanda, another African nation which was in the grips of a civil war until a few years ago.  In 2004 Mr. Cheadle starred in "Hotel Rwanda", a film inspired by the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotelier who saved thousands of lives during the bloody conflict in the mid-1990's.

                                       *                                          *                                                    *

"Reign Over Me" has a remarkable effect on the audience and both actors hope that the film takes off as much among college students as it is likely to with older moviegoers.

As mentioned, this weekend The Popcorn Reel will review "Reign Over Me", which opens on Friday, March 23 in theaters across North America.

The movie poster for the film, which opens on March 23 in the United States and Canada.


Copyright The Popcorn Reel.  PopcornReel.com.  2007.  All Rights Reserved.


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