Peter Segal

Anger Management

Interviewed by Alana Lee

Director Peter Segal has carved a niche in broad comedy with credits to his name including "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" and "Nutty Professor II: The Klumps". Working with Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson on "Anger Management" posed more of a challenge.

Were you nervous at all or intimidated working with such a pedigree cast?

Yeah. I mean, it's a lot for anyone to handle. Emotionally you've got a great gift when you've got a cast like this, and you don't want to screw it up.

Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson are both so larger than life. Were you worried that one might overshadow the other?

Absolutely. In fact, some of our first discussions with Jack were about the tone, and the balance, and how real we were going to be - and for the moments we decided to go broad and be funny, how far we would go with that. We always knew that our strength was in the reality of the concept, that 'anger management' is real, and that these emotions that Dave Buznik [Sandler's character] was feeling were very identifiable. And if we made Buddy [Nicholson's character] sound like a real therapist and adhered to some actual therapy techniques, then you'd believe enough to go with the rest of the journey.

How did you get both actors to come on board?

I didn't have anything to do with that. I heard that they were together and then I was invited in. I was just as surprised as anyone that this was going to happen. It was fascinating and exciting. Of all the movies that I've worked on, this was the easiest one-liner to pitch. When people asked me: "So what are you working on?", and it was: "Well, Jack Nicholson plays Adam Sandler's anger management therapist." Boom! There it is. It's almost the definition of high concept.

What was your number one priority as director?

Don't screw up! You have a great cast, a great script, very funny, so keep it all together. Don't let it get away from you. Tonally, make sure it's consistent, make sure it's satisfying. You know, all the classic storytelling themes that one must deal with when making a movie.

You're directing Adam Sandler again in "Fifty First Kisses". How did that come about?

We just had a lot of fun working together on this. We have very similar sensibilities. We laugh a lot. We just work well together. It just seemed like a natural fit.