The Cast And Characters
From the beginning, Steven Brill felt "this film was a blast to cast. You have so many
killer roles in the script and each character has something really special about it, so we wanted people up to the task," says Brill. One of the first and most unusual people to be cast was Harvey Keitel as no less than the Devil himself. Steve Brill comments: "You look at a guy like Harvey Keitel who doesn't get a chance to do a lot of comedy, but he truly loves it. He has this incredible, rarely seen funny side. We felt incredibly lucky to have him on board."
Adds Sandler of Keitel: "He's a very, very funny guy. You can really picture him as a
Long Island Dad, the kind of guy who, even though he's in a tough business, is a
family-first type of guy."
Playing Little Nicky's big, bullying brothers are two actors who contrast one another like Heaven and Hell. Rhys Ifans, who brought down movie houses with his hilarious portrayal of Hugh Grant's roommate Spike in Notting Hill, plays the wiry, blonde, cunning Adrian; while Tiny Lister, most recently seen in Next Friday, plays the fierce, ripped, brutish Cassius. For Ifans, the role of Adrian was an exciting departure. "Spike in Notting Hill was a bit of a softy. I wanted to play somebody really horrible. It's such a huge release to unleash evil," he comments. "I particularly liked my character's astute sense of mischief. He's the ruthless, intelligent brother whereas Little Nicky shouldn't even be allowed to pick up trash."
Another draw was the cast. "I think this is possibly the only movie in history where myself, Tiny Lister and Adam
Sandler could ever be cast as brothers. That in itself is funny," he says. "Plus we're devils but in an everyday sort of setting. We have regular conversations but we just happen to have horns growing out of our heads." Ifans was also intrigued by working on a film rife with fantastical special effects. "It's the first film I can think of in a long time where every single effect is there to propel the comedy," he adds.
Tiny Lister was also attracted by the notion of becoming Adam Sandler's sibling. Like Adrian, Cassius just wants to inherit the family business — and he's willing to prove he's evil enough to deserve it, "Cassius really wants to run Hell," explains Lister. "But he isn't willing to wait his
turn." Ultimately, despite his characters penchant for Evil, Lister was excited by the triumph of Good in the film.
"I'm the thug in the movie but what I love is that the heart of it is in Adam. He's all about having some fun, laughing and
doing what you can to make the world a little sweeter," summarizes Lister. 'He's a devil but he's a hero, too."
'Tiny Lister has great comic timing and is really open to new stuff. He's great because he's got such an intimidating physical presence but he can use that or play against it," says Steve Brill. "Basically all three of the brothers reflect their father: you see the strength of Harvey in Tiny, you see his cunning in Rhys, and you see his sweetness and silliness in Adam."
Only one man stands between the Devil's sons and life on earth — and unfortunately that man is Hades' bumbling Gatekeeper, played by "Saturday Night Live" alum Kevin Nealon, who previously starred with Adam
Sandler in Happy Gilmore. Sandler had Nealon in mind for the role from the very beginning. "You can imagine the humiliation and degradation," says Nealon, "but yeah, he said he always pictured me as the Gatekeeper of Hell." But it all came together for Nealon when he read the script. "It was seriously funny," he says.
Nealon describes his character as "kind of like the doorman of a hot club, only people come into this club unwillingly and they never get out." Nealon's character is cursed by the Devil for allowing his rebellious sons t
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