‘Happy Days’ Star Henry Winkler Calls Adam Sandler a ‘Directing Genius’

by John Jamison
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“Genius” is not a word one would have expected to see in front of Adam Sandler’s name 20 years ago. Maybe in the context of comedy, but even then, his first few movies weren’t exactly well-received by critics. According to “Happy Days” icon Henry Winkler, however, Sandler has a genius eye for directing.

Adam Sandler has been beloved by American audiences since starring in the 1995 comedy classic Billy Madison. For a long time, however, the common perception of Sandler was that of a goofy comedian making slapstick movies for our enjoyment.

In recent years, however, Sandler has had a bit of a renaissance. Don’t get us wrong; moviegoers have always appreciated him. Still, his critically-acclaimed performance as a gambling jeweler in Uncut Gems proved to many that he had some serious acting chops.

Of course, many of his longtime fans were already aware of that after seeing movies like Punch-Drunk Love and Click. But who knew that talent extended behind the camera, as well? Well, “Happy Days” star Henry Winkler has known it for a long time.

And the Fonzie actor would know. He’s worked with Adam Sandler on several movies, including the ridiculous football comedy classic The Waterboy.

“Adam Sandler is one of the five directing geniuses that I’ve worked with. He’s in charge of every detail for the entertainment that he creates. He is warm. He is shy. He’s inventive and totally knows what he wants. Five films with him. And then he never called again— so actually he’s a schmuck,” Winkler told OLD GOATS with Jonathan Alter.

Is Henry Winkler a Philosophical Genius?

Henry Winkler has had 75 years to ponder the mysteries of human nature. One of his conclusions, as we’ve discussed, is that Adam Sandler is a directing genius. Another? That humans are all essentially the same.

Following up on a question regarding the success of “Happy Days,” Winkler dropped some personal philosophy on us.

“It has to be about the truth about being a human being and being alive because honestly, we are all the same. And we all want and need pretty much the same stuff,” Winkler said.

He elaborated on his point by drawing comparisons to music.

“Somebody once said, a very long time ago, ‘Hey, I woke up this morning and I’m going to invent a piano.’ Then somebody said, ‘Wait a minute, I’m going to write music that you play on that piano.’ And then, 400 years later, there are people who say, ‘I can play that piano and that piece of music really well.’ And now I sit in the audience with an entire group of human beings, enjoying that experience and that same experience is enjoyed all over the world,” Winkler continued.

Does he have a point? We’ll leave that up for you to decide.

Outsider.com