“Big Daddy” Producer Remembers Adam Sandler’s Adorable Bond with a Young Cole and Dylan Sprouse

“All they wanted to do was crawl all over him,” producer Sid Ganis said

Siemoneit/Sygma/Getty Adam Sandler with one of the Sprouse twins in 1999
Siemoneit/Sygma/Getty Adam Sandler with one of the Sprouse twins in 1999's 'Big Daddy'

Twenty-five years ago, Adam Sandler had his hands full working with then-6-year-old twins Cole and Dylan Sprouse on the set of Big Daddy.

The 1999 comedy found Sandler playing a slacker unexpectedly stuck caring for a friend’s young son — played by both Sprouse twins.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter this week marking the film’s 25th anniversary, Big Daddy producer Sid Ganis said that finding the right pair of twins to play 5-year-old Julian was a challenge.

<p>Brenda Chase/Online USA, Inc.</p> Adam Sandler with Cole and Dylan Sprouse at the 'Big Daddy' premiere in 1999

Brenda Chase/Online USA, Inc.

Adam Sandler with Cole and Dylan Sprouse at the 'Big Daddy' premiere in 1999

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“The very first kids to audition were the Sprouse twins,” Ganis explained. “It was in my office at Sony, and they were amazing. I called Amy [Pascal, then head of Columbia Pictures] and said, ‘We found them.’ She said, ‘Sid, keep looking.’ She was right. I shouldn’t have been that excited. So we did keep looking, and we eventually came back to them.”

And while Sandler’s Big Daddy character, Sonny, was far from an ideal parental figure, the then-32-year-old Saturday Night Live alumnus was apparently great with his tiny costars.

“Sandler is the father of all times,” Ganis said. “He is a family man. When it came to the twins, he was loaded with love. All they wanted to do was crawl all over him.”

<p>Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Getty</p> Adam Sandler in 2024

Chris Lee - Chelsea FC/Getty

Adam Sandler in 2024

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In the years since Big Daddy premiered, Sandler has had two kids of his own. In 2006, the Spaceman star and wife Jackie welcomed their eldest daughter Sadie, followed by youngest Sunny in 2008.

The Sprouse twins, now 31, have also gone on to have successful careers. After Cole appeared on Friends as Ross's son Ben, the brothers costarred in the Disney Channel sitcom The Suite Life of Zack & Cody from 2005 to 2008 and in spin-off series The Suite Life on Deck from 2008 to 2011.

In recent years, Cole starred as Jughead in The CW’s Riverdale and in the Diablo Cody-penned film Lisa Frankenstein while Dylan has starred in romantic comedies like 2022’s My Fake Boyfriend and this year’s Beautiful Wedding.

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<p>Leon Bennett/Getty Images</p> Cole and Dylan Sprouse in 2024

Leon Bennett/Getty Images

Cole and Dylan Sprouse in 2024

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The twins have also remained friendly with Sandler. In 2019, Cole attended the premiere of Sandler’s film Uncut Gems, and last year both Dylan and Sandler spoke about running into each other in Paris.

"Perhaps I'm a bit biased because I've known him for ages, but I do admire his career,” Cole said of Sandler in 2022. “He's got a really, really wonderful balance between art and commerce that I think is the currency of a real working actor. He's walking that line beautifully and he's raising up all of his friends at the same time, which I think is incredible."

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