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"Big Daddy is about a single guy who all of a sudden has a kid in his life, completely and unexpectedly," says producer Sid Ganis

"Big Daddy is about a single guy who all of a sudden has a kid in his life, completely and unexpectedly," says producer Sid Ganis. "He has to deal with what it means to have a child as an absolute part of his existence. He experiences the fun, the confusion, the fear and ultimately the joy of having a father-son relationship."

It was Ganis who initially came across the original screenplay for Big Daddy, which was penned by young Los Angeles writer Steve Franks. Ganis, himself a father of four, thought that the premise of the parent-child relationship was universal. It was also one of the many reasons why he liked the project and wanted it to be the debut film for his newly established production company.

Who better than Adam Sandler to expand on this idea of what happens when a disciple of the single-guy lifestyle comes face-to-face with the challenges of parenthood. With longtime writing partner Tim Herlihy, who co-wrote The Waterboy, The Wedding Singer, Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison with him, Sandler fleshed out the story, adding layers, subplots and an array of colorful yet down-to-earth characters to the original concept of a single guy who suddenly has a kid in his life. The team's unique brand of humor was ever-present as the dynamics of the relationship between Sonny and Julian played out.

When approaching the writing process, Herlihy and Sandler both drew from what was familiar to them. "A lot of the stuff comes from our families," says Sandler. "A lot of what Sonny Koufax does with his kid is what my dad used to do with me." For example, Julian's Scuba Steve toy is based on the Diver Dan doll Sandler cherished as a child. "I lost my Diver Dan doll," says Sandler. "So my dad dressed up as Diver Dan's father and came to the front door. He said the doll was with him now, but 'thanks for watching him while he grew up.' My dad would do anything to make his kid feel better, so we put a similar situation in the movie."

At the heart of Sonny's seemingly unconventional lifestyle and unique child-rearing philosophy is the relationship with his own father, a no-nonsense attorney who set high standards for his son. Producer Jack Giarraputo, who served as producer on such widely popular Sandler films as The Waterboy, The Wedding Singer and Happy Gilmore, felt that the script offered a great opportunity to explore these facets of parenthood, particularly since Sonny compares his father's parenting skills against his own skewed approach with Julian. "Basically, Sonny thinks about what his parents did wrong and tries to do the opposite," says Giarraputo.

Sandler agrees. "In the movie, Sonny feels like he's had a strained relationship with his daddy. And so he feels like, 'I'll take the opposite approach with my kid and the kid will turn out wonderful.'"

Unlike the eternal adolescents that he portrayed in films like Billy Madison and The Waterboy, Sandler takes on a character in Big Daddy who, while more grown-up, still retains hints of the underdog the actor has perfected in previous outings. But Sandler rejects the notion that the movie reflects a 'matured' Adam Sandler. "I guess it's more grown-up because I'm 32 now. But it's just our next movie. I'm an actor, so I'm just doing a different role."

Giarraputo is quick to point out that Sonny is not an aimless loser but an intelligent guy who,

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