Tribute's Bonnie Laufer talks to Peter Gallagher about his role in the romantic comedy, Mr. Deeds.

B.L. You get to play the token bad guy in Mr. Deeds, so how much fun did you have with this role?
P.G. It's great, you know. It's better to be the bad guy than no guy!

B.L. I would think playing a role like this must have allowed you a bit more freedom than other parts you've had. What was it like working on an Adam Sandler film; is there a lot of ad-libbing?
P.G. Steve Brill who directed the picture was the first guy who called me. We had done sex, lies and videotape together, so immediately I knew I would be among friends. I had every reason to suspect that Adam was a good guy, even though I had never met him. Steve and Adam created this environment on the set which was really similar to a lot of the good experiences I have had. It was relaxed and everyone feels valued, but everyone is very serious about the work and working hard. So in that environment, when you feel valued, relaxed and you're working hard — good things can happen. So you stick closer to the script than people would imagine, yet there is plenty of opportunity for last minute inspiration.

B.L. You have a great tennis scene in the film where Adam Sandler almost kills you. Couldn't you manage to get in a few tips from John McEnroe, who makes a cameo in the movie?
P.G. I think that Mac was a little intimidated by me. He hadn't seen that kind of action on the court for a long time. Not that he was there that day; we had invited him and he didn't want to come. He was thinking that it might remind him of himself when he was in his prime and it was painful I think.

B.L. In your opinion, what is that makes Adam Sandler so unique?
P.G. A lot of things make him unique. The people he surrounds himself with are friends that are long standing, he's loyal to them and he works incredibly hard. He doesn't punish anybody about it. He's also a brilliant talent, a wonderful actor and he knows himself and his audience. So he explores different territories very responsibly and, usually, very successfully delivers a promised good time.

B.L. Was it hard to keep a straight face on that set?
P.G. Yeah, sometimes. Actually Erik Havari my cohort in the film, used to just crack me up. I'd just look into his beard, man, and it would just crack me up. There were guys in high school who used to wear those Abe Lincoln beards and I used to think, "For God sakes man, get a moustache!"

B.L. Up next, I understand that you will be shooting a film in Toronto?
P.G. Yes, I will be playing Mandy Moore's dad, of all things, in a film called How To Deal. I am really looking forward to shooting in Toronto and working with Mandy.