LOWER EAST SIDE — When Adam Sandler wanted to prepare for his upcoming role as a shoe repairman, he turned to an expert — Erik Koynoe, one of the longest-serving cobblers on the Lower East Side.
Sandler stopped by Koynoe's hole-in-the-wall shop at Grand and Essex streets last week and asked about filming his new movie, called "The Cobbler," inside the store, Koynoe said.
The actor and comedian then spent about 10 minutes in the tiny space, observing Koynoe at work, he said.
"He came in as a plain guy dressed in very regular clothing," said Koynoe, 47, a third-generation cobbler who has been working from his Erik Shoe Repair storefront since 1986. "He was looking around and I said to him 'You look famous.'"
Koynoe said he didn't immediately realize who Sandler was, even after he said he was an actor.
"I thought he was saying it as a joke so I turned around and went back to work," he said.
Sandler kept watching Koynoe fixing shoes until a customer came in 10 minutes later and recognized the actor.
"[Sandler] gave me a compliment and said, 'You do a really good job,'" said Koynoe, saying he liked Sandler's slapstick comedies, such as "Happy Gilmore” and “Grown Ups."
While Sandler admired Koynoe's space — a set designer's dream with shoes strung up on the walls, tools on the bench and a manually operated Singer sewing machine from 1929 — the celebrity said he couldn't film there because it was too small, Koynoe said.
In "The Cobbler," directed by Thomas McCarthy, Sandler will play a shoe repairman who gets involved in his customers' lives, according to The Wrap. The film will also star Dustin Hoffman and Steve Buscemi, The Wrap reported.
Slow Pony, the production company behind "The Cobbler," did not immediately return a call for comment.
"The Cobbler" will be filming throughout the Lower East Side, including on Essex and Grand streets, on Tuesday, according to signs posted around the neighborhood and imdb.com.