Sandler made the claims during a joint interview for Variety’s “Actors on Actors” — while the two reflected on the raucous 1994 comedy “Airheads” — saying that director Michael Lehmann had not initially wanted Fraser for the role.
“Brendan, you were in a movie called ‘Airheads.’ Remember when I discovered you?” Sandler asked. “You were just a kid. I stole you from Pauly [Shore] and said, ‘Get over here.’”
“Is that how it shook out? Get out of here,” Fraser replied.
“What went first? ‘Airheads’ or ‘Encino Man’?” Sandler asked, referencing Fraser’s 1992 comedy that co-starred Pauly Shore and “The Lord of the Rings” actor Sean Astin.
“Encino Man,” Fraser acknowledged.
“See, and I saw you and I was like, this guy shouldn’t just be a caveman — he should be in a band,” Sandler continued, prompting a laugh from Fraser — and then more questions.
“I did not — and then, what, you went to Michael?” he asked. “Michael Lehmann was very against you. He was like, ‘I don’t get it. I don’t see the caveman being in this movie.’ And I just said, ‘He can do other s***, man,’” Sandler kept going, every brief pause punctuated by more laughter.
“Are you pulling my chain right now?” Fraser asked, clearly struggling to wrap his brain around Sandler’s version of events — but Sandler insisted: “100%”
“I eventually went to his house at like 4 in the morning, woke him up, and he’s like, ‘Who are you?’” Sandler added. “I said, ‘Never mind that, but just know Adam Sandler ain’t going to be in ‘Airheads’ unless old Fraser is in it.’ So he changed his little tune.”
Fraser started pushing back then — pointing out the fact that Lehmann had actually flown to Chicago to meet him — but Sandler was adamant.
“He’s a filthy liar. He didn’t want you,” the “Happy Gilmore” star said. “I did, and the rest is pretty good. You had a good life because of me.”
Sandler went on to say that actor Pauly Shore hadn’t wanted Fraser to do “Airheads” either, but that he had stuck to his guns.
The two continued to discuss the film — which also starred Steve Buscemi, David Arquette, Joe Mantegna, and Chris Farley — noting that everyone involved had been especially proud to learn they were shooting the film on the same location where Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman had shot “Die Hard” just a few years earlier.
And while he said that it was definitely one of the most fun shoots of his life, Sandler also recalled a stunt that went a little bit sideways — and could have hurt him very badly.
“We jumped off a parking structure. Crowd surfed,” Fraser began the story.
“I don’t know if I told you recently, but we jumped off the thing, landed on a mat maybe 15 feet below us,” Sandler picked up the tale. “Not that big of a stunt. I thought for sure I can handle that. I landed in such a stiff way that I heard my neck go [crack], but I didn’t want to say anything because I would be humiliated. You two guys got up laughing, you and Buscemi. I was like, I’m supposed to laugh but —”
“You completely collapsed your neck backwards!” Fraser exclaimed.
“It was awful. I was never a gymnast. I would go on the trampoline at the Jewish Community Center growing up, saw everyone else do well on it. I had the same thing happen to my neck when I was 9. I’m not good at jumping and landing on my back. I got to stop,” Sandler concluded.