Contributed by Michael J. Lee, Executive Editor for
June 11, 2019

In the Netflix original film Murder Mystery, a couple dealing with the routine highs and lows of married life (Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston) take a trip to Europe, only to get caught up in a crime caper when an elderly billionaire (Terence Stamp) is murdered. Considered prime suspects and dogged by a tenacious inspector (Dany Boon), the pair must prove their innocence and uncover the real killer from a pool of eccentric personalities, including a charming viscount (Luke Evans), a scorned movie star (Gemma Arterton), a professional racer (Luis Gerardo Mendez), and the victim's bride (Shioli Kutsuna).

A lighthearted whodunit, Murder Mystery is indebted to the chemistry and charm of its two leads. Sandler and Aniston play well off one another, and the goodwill they've built up with fans of their comedy over the years makes it easy for audiences to join their characters on an overseas adventure.

In these excerpts from a press conference in support of the film, Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler, and director Kyle Newacheck talk about teaming up to work on Murder Mystery. The familiar and supportive banter between the stars is evident, and they both share stories from the past, with Sandler recalling his first meeting with Jack Nicholson, and Aniston recollecting some of the trepidation of guest stars on Friends.

Murder Mystery is currently streaming on Netflix.

MEDIA: Jennifer and Adam, how has your experience of reuniting for another movie after 2011's Just Go With It?

JENNIFER: It was like no time had actually passed, because we've seen each other over the years, and it's something that just comes sort of extremely naturally to us--I think just because we've known each other for so long, and it's kind of what we do. So it just felt very natural. [jokes] But he is a lot older now, so...

ADAM: I did age, I did age. I saw Just Go With It the other night. I was going to sleep and I said, "Let me watch one of my movies tonight..."

JENNIFER: ...To put yourself to sleep?

ADAM: Yeah! Peacefully. [laughs] No, I sometimes will watch my movies and, you know, put the entire family on speakerphone and go, "Do you see how much I've accomplished? Now do you like me?" But I watched Just Go With It and I was laughing, yes. I was really funny.

Does it hold up?

ADAM: It holds up great. My part holds up strong. No, Jennifer...Have you seen it in a while? Incredible. You look incredible in that movie.

JENNIFER: Thank you!

ADAM: And you look incredible in this movie. And I think I've become softer...


ADAM: ...and more lovable. More lovable!

JENNIFER: Well, yeah, more lovable. But I also think you've maintained your look as well.

ADAM: Thank you. That's all the mustache.

JENNIFER: I know. Holds your lip up.

How would you describe your collaboration on set? How do you elevate one another?

JENNIFER: Well, we worked really hard as we were going--you know, every night, we'd go back and sort of tweak the scenes.

ADAM: Jennifer worked harder than me, for sure.

JENNIFER: Hey, come on. You would read what we put together...

ADAM: Yeah. [laughs] Whatever Jennifer put together, I would say, "Hey, way to go!"

JENNIFER: [laughs] For me, it's really important that it's grounded. There's great balls-out comedy, and then there's comedy when it's this broad, you have to find some level of truth in it in order to find the "organic" laugh, as opposed to the "ba-dum-bump" laugh. So I think doing that kind of work as we went along really was fun, and it made it better as we went.

ADAM: Yeah. Nonstop, nonstop.

JENNIFER: Nonstop. I was a pain in the ass.

ADAM: You worked hard. And also, when the cameras are rolling, all of us felt this: we did get comfortable with each other. Like day two or three, we all became pretty tight. And everybody felt comfortable with the script, everybody felt comfortable with coming up with stuff on the day. And there was nobody in the movie that doesn't score, nobody in the movie that isn't fresh and funny. This is something that doesn't happen a lot, where everybody gets a nice moment, and loads of moments.

What qualities do you like about each other that make you want to continue working together?

ADAM: I think she's incredibly funny. When we work together, I feel so relaxed. I'm like, "If I don't what's happening right now, I know Jennifer will." I feel very safe. And she's funny as hell. And I really have a great time every scene, [coming] up with stuff.

JENNIFER: It's like a weird language that we sort of speak. I have no idea what it is, but the most abstract, weird jokes...It never goes over his head. Everyone else, it's over their head. But as long as I can make Adam laugh, I know that I've done good.

Kyle, how does their dynamic and their chemistry help your job as a filmmaker?

KYLE: Well, I'm an editor at heart. Like I always go in and get all this coverage so I can manufacture stuff in post production. But the first thing I noticed is when I put these two in a frame together, I did not want to cut. I just wanted to watch them. And so that was kind of a defining thought process for the movie, was whenever we could get a two-shot and play the chemistry real, we did. Because that was the fun. Their dynamic was what brought me in, you know?

JENNIFER: It was easier to cut together when you keep it in a two-shot, because sometimes we would just never match in our singles, either. So that was kind of a problem. [laughs]

KYLE: Exactly. Yeah, continuity is a nightmare when you're working like that. So it's like, you cross-shoot it, you do a two-shot...And shorter days. [laughs] So that was dope.

How would you characterize your detective skills? When you get a script in this genre, are you good at figuring out the murderer before the reveal, or is it a mystery to you until the end?

JENNIFER: It was a mystery to us till the end. We really kept going, "What's going on?" [laughs]

ADAM: Yeah. Every rewrite, we were like, "Oh, he did it this time?" [laughs]

JENNIFER: It was really tricky, actually. Because there are so many characters and there are so many twists, you have to really kind of comb through it with a fine-tooth comb making sure there's no holes in the canoe, which was kind of a fun challenge.

KYLE: Yeah, because when you're shooting it, you're out of order and you're shooting a part of a misdirect over here on this day, and then the next day, there's another one. And you're like, "Wait, is this right?"

JENNIFER: I still don't know who did it!

KYLE: [laughs] You have to trust your first read. I just kept trusting the first read of [James] Vanderbilt's script, where it's like, "I know that I did not know this when I was reading it the first time."

Adam, there's a moment where your character gets starstruck by the celebrity played by Gemma Arterton. Is there an actor that you are, to this day, starstruck by?

ADAM: I still get butterflies around Jennifer.

JENNIFER: [shakes her head "no"]

ADAM: Yeah, she knows it. She knows it. Uh, you know...I've met a lot of people over the years, and all of us have gotten to meet a lot of cool people. I'll tell you, I don't know where I was the most starstruck, but the first time I met [Jack] Nicholson, I went to his house...And I told this story maybe ten years ago. But I sat with Jack for about a half hour in his house, we were talking. And I was here and Jack was there [not far from me], we were talking back and forth. And that whole time, I thought it was a fake Jack Nicholson. I swear to God! Because I kept going, "It's dim. They brought another one in to test me." [laughs] And so he would talk to me, he'd say stuff, he asked me like, "You want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?" And I said, "Yeah, sure." And he goes, "What do you like? Skippy or Jif?" Peanut butter! And I was like, "This isn't Jack Nicholson--there's no way!" [laughs] And I was talking, "I think maybe if you have Jif, I would have Jif." He's like, "Get the guy some Jif!" And I was like, "He's really making me a peanut butter...?"

JENNIFER: Did he make you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

ADAM: He didn't make it, but his buddy Oscar did.

Jennifer, how would you compare working in comedy versus working in drama?

JENNIFER: They both come with their challenges. I wouldn't say one is easier than the other. I mean, I've been doing comedy...I always like to breathe some kind of, you know, again, reality into my comedy. So I feel like it's just a different form of behavior and existing--you know, one makes you laugh and one just doesn't.

ADAM: Jennifer has the discipline to make sure that it all comes from a true place, with both comedy and drama. And it has to be real and make sense to her, and to the audience, right?

JENNIFER: I also think, because [Adam is] an incredible dramatic actor as well, like...

ADAM: One of the best!

JENNIFER: I'm serious! I think there's something to being able to have an ability to dip your feet in both pools. It's surprisingly hard for "strictly dramatic" (I don't even know what that means, a "strictly dramatic actor or actress")...But it's always interesting, I remember when we were doing Friends, we brought in some actors know, "film." And they were terrified. They thought they had to do something different because it was comedy, which is, I think, the biggest misconception, you know?

This movie has a number of action sequences, including a car chase. I'd love to see you do an all-out action flick...

KYLE: Oh yeah, that would be a wonderful film to watch.

ADAM: Jennifer, you were so cool in that car! Remember when we were shooting the car stuff?

JENNIFER: If only I was really driving it! But that would be fun. We could do the next one, it could be more action.

KYLE: And you guys did do some of your own stunts. You were out on, like, the ledge and stuff climbing around. [laughs]

ADAM: Yeah. Sorta.

JENNIFER: [laughs] I think it was this far from the ground. [points at the floor]

KYLE: Hey, I wasn't going to say that part.

JENNIFER: But it was pretty action-packed.

It was refreshing to see a loving couple work out their relationship without the cliche of needing infidelity to figure things out. What did you think of breaking a trope like that?

ADAM: That was great.

JENNIFER: That was sort of the fun of it.

ADAM: That was the best thing, just being a couple, being in love, having the ups and downs...

JENNIFER: ...being in a rut. And, like, a lot of couples fall into ruts--how do you kind of freshen that up?

ADAM: Yes! [jokes] And then I enjoyed lying to Jennifer's character. I also enjoyed her running off into the night and leaving me there, getting in the car with Luke Evans, driving away, leaving me there like a fool.

Thanks for speaking with all of us this afternoon!

JENNIFER: Thank you!

ADAM: That was a nice time, thank you, guys!

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