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YOU DON'T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN

More About The Production
You Don't Mess with the Zohan reunites many key production personnel. The film marks production designer Perry Andelin Blake's tenth Happy Madison production and costume designer Ellen Lutter's ninth film with the team. Editor Tom Costain previously served as assistant editor of many Sandler productions. Cinematographer Michael Barrett joins the team for the first time.

Blake says that all departments, as well as input from Dugan and Sandler, are key to determining the look of the film. "Dennis Dugan and Adam Sandler are heavily involved. As we do some photo shops – playing with design for specific locations – we also work with Ellen to share pictures of the locations and the colors we're going to use. She's always done a ton of research – on Zohan, she showed us the uniforms for the Israeli army and the clothes an average Palestinian might wear. We take from her the colors that she feels are right, and we coalesce everything into one design concept.”

Although most of the film was shot in New York and Los Angeles, Dugan and a small crew shot a few scenes on a Tel Aviv beach. "The beginning of the movie takes place in Tel Aviv in the summer, so I went there and worked with an all-Israeli crew and got some shots of the very crowded beach in Tel Aviv. For some other shots from the same scene, we filmed on a beach in Mexico. In Israel, there is a very distinctive orange umbrella that is put out by an ice cream company – those umbrellas are all over the beach. We got those umbrellas and shipped about a hundred or so down to Mexico.”

One part of production that was unusual for a Happy Madison production were the many, many stunts required to bring the world's greatest Israeli counter-terrorist to the screen. "Just like a Bourne or Spider-Man, where we play the stunts straight, we played them pretty straight in Zohan,” says Rogers. "We tried to give Sandler a foundation he could leap from: his Zohan is stronger, faster, and more capable than any human being, but he's not a superhero.”

Rogers admits that that part – pushing Zohan just beyond the boundaries of human possibility – was the best part. "We played him 10 percent beyond what a human could actually do,” he says. "It gave us the freedom to make him bigger than life and to get real creative. The swimming scene where he swims down the Phantom, who's on a jet ski, was just an extraordinary opportunity to do some pretty fun stuff. We play it straight, but then you know in the context of what's going on, it's a very funny stunt and a very funny scene.

"When we first were talking about the scene, I pitched that he would swim like a dolphin,” he continues. "They loved it, but were skeptical that we could pull it off. We had to find the right boat and the right equipment, and then, we went to the swim facility at USC and found the right swimmer, Meir Hasbani, a guy on the Israeli national team, believe it or not. We cruised along the water at 18 miles per hour, flying him on wires, and then we started porpoising him through the water. It actually came together fairly easily.” So easily, in fact, that Sandler wasn't about to let the opportunity slip by without trying the rig himself – and soon the star was swimming like a dolphin through the blue sea of La Paz.

"Of course Zohan can do anything – he isn't limited to running fast or martial arts or swimming; he does everything,” Rogers notes. "Whatever the circumstance demanded, we looked for the best possible person for that specific talent. We brought in free runners to jump from building to building. We had gymnasts to do some of the floor routines on the chair. We had dancers for the disco scenes and we had the swimmers for the water scenes. Those were just some of the stunt people. I've never heard of anybody having this many doubles for one character; it's almost ridiculous, but at the same time, it's very funny. It's wh

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