Vanilla Ice Talks About His New Movie, His Memories of Oak Cliff, and Working with Adam Sandler

Vanilla Ice has a featured role opposite Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler in "That's My Boy." He plays himself.
Vanilla Ice has a featured role opposite Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler in "That's My Boy." He plays himself.

Among the things you may not know about me: I’m kind of friends with Vanilla Ice (Rob Van Winkle). My family has known his since the ’80s, and when I worked in Florida I wrote a feature about him. Now we text message every so often and occasionally talk about books. (Not kidding.) I mention this because he is out pimping his new movie, That’s My Boy, starring Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg, and decided to give me a call — Rob plays Sandler’s brother, a character named Uncle Vanny. Jump if you care to see what we discussed.

First, he wanted to know how I liked living back in Dallas. I told him I lived in Oak Cliff, and he was stunned. “Man, I remember when that entire place used to be a ghet-to,” he told me. He says he misses living back here sometimes, but really likes the beach too.

He wanted to make sure I knew — and by extension you knew — that this movie is “really, really, great. Adam Sandler’s best movie since Happy Gilmore.”

Here’s how he got involved: Rob was in London, playing Captain Hook in a stage production of Peter Pan, when he got a call. It was from Adam Sandler himself. They’d never met before, but Sandler explained that he was working on a new movie, and that his wife thought Rob might be really funny in it. Soon Rob flew to California, to the Happy Madison offices, which he says were laid back and full of children’s toys. “It’s definitely a family operation there,” he says. “I love it.”

After a short conversation about the movie (Sandler plays Samberg’s screwed-up father, back in town for a big wedding), there was a handshake. A few weeks later everyone was gathered outside of Boston to shoot the film. His role is not a cameo (like he had in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze). It’s a full-blown role (though not as prominent as his part in Cool as Ice). Rob was on set for five months. He had his own look-alike stuntman. He says he really wanted to do his own stunts — “You know me,” he said. “I’m an adrenaline junkie” — but the studio made him sign an agreement beforehand, promising not to do anything too crazy. (Not long ago he jumped a car through a fire and into a lake.) He says he did get to perform one of his own stunts though, when director Sean Anders let him jump off of the top of Fenway Park. He says he hit his mark with no problem and immediately wanted to go again.

Rob explained that working with Anders (who also directed Hot Tub Time Machine and the 2008 movie Sex Drive) was “incredibly awesome.” He also has a scene with James Caan, who Rob refers to as “the original gangsta.” He says he loved the experience, loved working with Sandler (“he’s a comedic genius”), and loved getting to know Samberg. As a matter of fact, he even recorded a song and a video with Samberg’s group Lonely Island. (If it’s half as good as Michael Bolton’s “Jack Sparrow,” it will be mega-viral.) He doesn’t know when it will be out, and he doesn’t want to ruin any surprises, but he says he’s pretty excited about it.

In other Vanilla Ice news, he says he just signed on for three more seasons of the Vanilla Ice Project, his home makeover show. He calls it his second passion.


  • You really just wanted to reference “Cool As Ice.”

  • Actually, I really just wanted to reference TMNT II: SOTO, and a put a link to Ninja Rap.

  • is roberta jeffress okay with your bromance with the ice man?

  • Mike Mooney never ceases to amaze me. Proud to call him a co-worker and friend.

  • Rick

    I thought ice was a total tool when I was a teen ageer but 20 years later watching him work like a man on “the project ” I have come to admire him as a hard working family man. Good luck and thank you for producing a show I can watch with my kids. Rick in Arkansas

  • beccalyn

    @Michael J. Mooney – the 2009 feature you wrote was great – I really enjoyed reading it!