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Adam Sandler & Carey Mulligan Talk Spaceman, Netflix Film

Netflix’s new film Spaceman is a bit of a different role for Adam Sandler. While fans have seen him in serious and dramatic roles before, he has never done something quite like this. Often on screen alone, or with a giant alien spider, he taps into his loneliness and vulnerability while delivering one of his best performances ever.

Six months into a solitary research mission to the edge of the solar system, an astronaut, Jakub (Adam Sandler), realizes that the marriage he left behind might not be waiting for him when he returns to Earth. Desperate to fix things with his wife, Lenka (Carey Mulligan), he is helped by a mysterious creature from the beginning of time he finds hiding in the bowels of his ship. Hanuš (voiced by Paul Dano) works with Jakub to make sense of what went wrong before it is too late.

We caught up with Adam Sandler, Carey Mulligan, and Director / Executive Producer Johan Renck, to discuss this new Netflix film. Adam Sandler reveals how he found the vulnerability of his character, while Carey Mulligan confesses how she found her bravery. Johan Renck talks about Adam Sandler, how he was perfect for this role, and how acting against a tennis ball was actually best for his work.

Adam Sandler, Carey Mulligan, & Johan Renck Talk Spaceman

Netflix Spaceman Movie Review - Adam Sandler / Carey Mulligan

SPACEMAN. (L to R) Carey Mulligan as Lenka and Adam Sandler as Jakub in Spaceman. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023.

Mama’s Geeky: Adam, I think this is one of your best performances, if not your best. How did you find that vulnerability opposite a tennis ball while hanging from wires?

Adam Sandler: Very easily. While, not that easy, but just jumped into things that put me in that place and did the best that I could to. The set was quiet, and everybody knew what had to get done. And Johan, the director, was prepping me of what he was looking for, and what my character was going through and feeling every night. It was very interesting process. And then Carey and I did some good stuff together. We had our relationship problems. 

Mama’s Geeky: For you Carey, I love how brave your character is. Can you talk about finding that bravery for her? 

Carey Mulligan: That’s part of why I thought it was interesting. That, aside from wanting to work with Adam and Johan, I thought it was just very real that she would be, I know lots of women who would do that, and lots of would take charge of their own life and future if they felt that they hadn’t been prioritized in their relationships. So I thought it was really cool. And that there was this place where women, in our story, that you can go and be in a community of women doing the same thing. I thought that was really awesome.

Mama’s Geeky: Adam, what was it for you that made you want to be a part of this film?

Adam Sandler: The script was tremendous. I met Johan. His past work was pretty amazing. And he sent me the script and I read it and it broke my heart. I thought it would be a great to dive in with this guy. And then we were fortunate enough that Carey was into it also. I got to really work hard and have a great time with Carey and Johan.

Adam Sandler & Carey Mulligan Talk Spaceman, Netflix Film

Mama’s Geeky: I was pleasantly surprised with this movie and how relatable it is. Do you relate to Spaceman at all?

Adam Sandler: Absolutely. Just looking back and saying, Where did this start happening? And how did this start happening? And Why am I being led to a place where I’d definitely be happier going that way. And just being able to be honest with yourself, it’s never too easy.

Carey Mulligan: I think particularly, post COVID, I think it encapsulates a lot of how people felt coming out of that, or in that. That everyone realized there was a big moment of reprioritization for a lot of people that I know where they were like, oh, actually all the lots of things that I felt were really important before this. Now, I don’t feel the same. I don’t place importance on that. And the film is that it’s about what, with the pace of life, and the trajectory you feel you need to be on, can sometimes distract you from the things that really matter. I think that it does connect with people a lot.

Netflix Spaceman Movie Review

SPACEMAN. Adam Sandler as Jakub in Spaceman. Cr. Larry Horricks/Netflix © 2023.

Mama’s Geeky: I think this is one of Adam Sandler’s best performances, if not his best. How did you pull that out of him and capture that loneliness on set?

Johan Renck: I think one version could be that you really respond to this performance, because it’s so different from what he’s done before. I find myself surprised by seeing somebody that I had such a clear idea of who he was, doing something so differently that actually enhances the actual experience of it. I’m a massive fan of Adam. I have loved him, always, both in his stupid funny roles all the way to Punch Drunk Love and Funny People and whatever it may be.

So I was convinced he had the range for it. And then I met him at a general meeting with him and it was very clear that he’s a ballsy guy. He wants to do things that he’s never done before. He is very unafraid. A lot of actors are very stuck in their ways. He’s the opposite, you know? So he just fell into my office like, Yeah, let’s do this, whatever we need to do with this. Let’s do it. And he did.

He is so tremendously delicate, and subtle, and has all these kinds of things. A lot of it is very different from what he’s done before. But he had zero fear in trying out these different aspects of it. So I mean, again, he’s a phenomenal actor. And this is what phenomenal actors do. 

Netflix Spaceman Movie Review

SPACEMAN. Hanus (voice by Paul Dano) in Spaceman. £Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023.

Mama’s Geeky: He is particularly great in his moments with Hanus as well. Paul Dano was not on set, I assume. Did they get to spend time together before filming started?

Johan Renck: They did some zoom rehearsals. This was pandemic days. I do think that Adam.. I have a theory, I could be wrong in this. But the fact that he’s such a gracious, generous, beautiful human being. So when he’s acting towards Carey, for instance, in all the scenes we did with them, he’s so considerate, like, Oh, are you fine with that? Do you want me to be over here? What do you want from me? He’s very, very polite and very gentle, in terms of that. I have actually come to start to think a little bit that he benefited from acting against tennis ball, because he didn’t have to have any generosity or courteousness versus that tennis ball.

I think he could allow himself to just internalize all the feelings and focus on himself only in doing that. I’ve been scratching my head, like, How do you perform like that? Well, I took acting classes for a couple of years, I have no acting ambitions, but in order to understand how, how they do it and learn their language. And apart from that being very therapeutic to me, in very good ways, but also, the number one thing I took away from it was the dance between you and your counterpart and how that improves your own performance How your performance is based on what you are doing together.

So when I see Adam doing this with the tennis ball, and I’m sitting in front of my monitor, and I’m just seeing my D.P. go closer, I want to see more, and I see him do all this. I’m blown away by it. But you know, in hindsight, after finishing the shoot, you had all the aspects of it. Part of me thinks, and I could be completely wrong with that, but there was part of me that thinks Adam being the one actor who might actually to some extent, benefit a little bit from not having to be considerate towards a scene partner.

Mama’s Geeky: And to do it on wires!

Johan Renck: Very impressive, because I don’t think we should underestimate the pain that that entails, primarily on shoot day twenty-four. You’re hanging those under the same pressure points. He had open wounds pretty much. He’s having this delicate, tiny little situation with Hanus, and then I yell cut, and I just see his face contour in pain as he’s put down because he acted through all that pain. It’s remarkable.

Mama’s Geeky: How would you describe Spaceman in three words?

Johan Renck: Not a science-fiction-film.

Spaceman is coming to Netflix on March 1.

NEXT: Spaceman Review: An Intriguing Story About Loneliness

Netflix Spaceman Movie Poster

About Spaceman

Six months into a solitary research mission to the edge of the solar system, an astronaut, Jakub (Adam Sandler), realizes that the marriage he left behind might not be waiting for him when he returns to Earth. Desperate to fix things with his wife, Lenka (Carey Mulligan), he is helped by a mysterious creature from the beginning of time he finds hiding in the bowels of his ship. Hanuš (voiced by Paul Dano) works with Jakub to make sense of what went wrong before it is too late.

Directed by Johan Renck and based on the novel Spaceman of Bohemia, the film also stars Kunal Nayyar, Lena Olin, and Isabella Rossellini.

Spaceman is coming to Netflix on March 1.