Meyerowitz Stories (2017): Dustin Hoffman as Father of Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller

Actor Adam Sandler was first at the Cannes Film Fest in 2002 with Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch Drunk Love.

He is back on the Croisette this year with The Meyerowitz Stories, directed by Noah Baumbach, whose film world premieres in competition.

Director Noah Baumbach

In the Netflix comedy, Sandler plays one of two brothers (the other is portrayed by Ben Stiller) in a dysfunctional New York family.

Dustin Hoffman, who will be 80 this year, plays their father, married for the third time to Emma Thompson.

“I couldn’t believe we were doing this movie,” Sandler said at a press conference with the cast. “I got misty-eyed when reading the script.”

“It’s different for a comedian when you get an offer like this,” he said. “My first thought is, ‘I don’t want to let anybody down and work as hard as I can to know the material and be as good as I can be.’”

The film is the second in-competition title from Netflix, after Bong Joon-ho’s Okja premiered to a five-minute standing ovation on Tuesday night.

The streaming giant’s presence in Cannes has sparked a fierce debate about whether movies without a major theatrical release should be allowed in the world’s most prestigious festival.

On Wednesday, Jury president Pedro Almodovar claimed that he couldn’t imagine given the Palm d’Or to a movie that didn’t screen in theaters first.

“He said that about ‘Happy Gilmore’ too,” quipped Ben Stiller, who co-starred in that comedy with Sandler.

“I have a very big screen,” Hoffman added.

“It will play in Dustin Hoffman’s living room, so it will be fine,” director Baumbach joked.

He financed the film independently, shooting on 16 mm film, prior to selling it to Netflix earlier this year. “I made this movie with the expectation that it would be shown on the big screen,” Baumbach said. “I believe in that.”

Sandler admitted that he had a therapist. “Therapy doesn’t end,” he said to a question about personal issues. “That’s what you find out when you get older.”

The star got injured on set during his fight scene with Stiller. “Ben has a more solid body than I thought,” Sandler said. “I had one of the biggest bruises in my life on my arm. By take 34, I was like, ‘Ben, if you start the fight in the middle of my chest, that would help me.”

Emma Thompson said that she felt like an outsider. “I thought, ‘I have absolutely no idea what this is going to be like.’”  She claimed that playing with an American accent was balanced by the fact that her character is an alcoholic.

Stiller, who has collaborated with Baumbach on multiple projects, wasn’t sure if this character felt different enough. “I didn’t really get the role the first time I read it,” Stiller said. “I didn’t understand how to connect with it.”

Dustin Hoffman had another concern: “I passed on it.  I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to play an old man.” His son Jake finally convinced him, based on Baumbach’s credit.

Hoffman also had to adjust his acting style. “Not since ‘The Graduate’ was I required to say every single word. It pays off because there’s a music to his writing. “

When an Argentinean reporter told Hoffman that they shared a last name, the actor cracked: “Will you turn sideways? I want to look at your nose.”