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INT: Ferrell/Heder

03.30.2007by:

BLADES OF GLORY. Another classic Will Ferrell comedy in the making. This time though, the spotlight's being shared with another off-the-wall comedic actor - Jon Heder. You probably remember him as the tater tot loving NAPOLEON DYNAMITE. He was also recently seen starring alongside Billy Bob Thornton in SCHOOL FOR SCOUNDRELS. As for Ferrell, I shouldn't even have to tell you who he is. His face has been featured everywhere these past years, from SNL to hilarious comedies like ANCHORMAN to even some more dramatic pieces like the underrated STRANGER THAN FICTION. You better believe that you haven't seen the end of these guys; they're just getting started.

JoBlo.com got the chance to chat it up with these guys at the Four Seasons Hotel awhile back, and they had some pretty interesting stuff to say about their upcoming roles, what it was like pulling off those crazy ice-skating stunts, and even some more personal stuff that's going on in their lives. They also managed to bust some guts with their constant wisecracking. And they were so laid-back too! You'd think famous celebrities like this would have huge egos, but they didn't at all. They were just... cool. And funny. And if that wasn't enough, Ferrell was sporting an awesome fro. For what movie? Read on fellow schmoes, and find out for yourself...

Will Ferrell Jon Heder

Ferrell: [To Heder] What's up homes? This is our first time seeing each other today. After spending the entire day yesterday together...

Heder: I was watching '300.'

Ferrell: You saw '300?'

Heder: Yeah. There were about three hundred people in the theater. All the soldiers were there to watch themselves.

So I take it this was an irresistible opportunity, the two of you on ice, looking like fools?

Heder: No. To make ourselves look quite cool. Not fools.

Ferrell: Yeah, this was not a foolish endeavor. We were finally able to fulfill our dreams and aspirations of becoming figure skaters which I know that we all have.

Heder: There's a little bit of watching that and then wanting to get out there in each and every one of us, in that Lycra.

Ferrell: And express yourself.

Heder: It's all about expression.

Can you talk about the physical preparation of this, and then I know you got injured, Jon?

Heder: Well, once you've injured yourself you don’t have to do it for a while which isn't too bad. He had to keep skating.

Ferrell: I had to keep training and live with the fear of knowing that just like that you could break your ankle.

Heder: We're not invincible. That's what I learned. So it was tough. It was more disheartening when we thought the movie might actually kind of go away scheduling wise. That wasn't fun.

But everything came together okay then?

Heder: What did you think? [Laughs]

How much input did you have in your costumes and hair and characters? Your hair was inspiring, Will.

Ferrell: Wow. It was cool. We kind of had some input.

Heder: I think that we figured since we were going to be playing complete opposites we would do –

Ferrell: The directors had their ideas of how they wanted us to look and Julie Weiss, the costume designer, she came to the table with some pretty inspired choices for that sort of thing. There were a lot of consultations over hair, I seem to remember.

Heder: I believe so. I was a mix of like Meg Ryan and Aaron Carter, their love child.

Ferrell: And I was the love child of Farah Fawcett and Steven Segal.

Jon, have you ever had a stalker?

Heder: Oh, yes. Nick, who plays him. He's my stalker. So that's why when they were casting I said, 'Look, here's his resume. You should use him. He's good at it.' No, I've been pretty safe.

What is the attraction of doing a movie like this? Is it the physical comedy? What are you looking for and did the script change or evolve as you were doing the film?

Ferrell: I think for both of us it was really just the pitch. It was the simple pitch that two guys become the first men's figure skating team. It was simply that. It was obviously a funny premise that as soon as you told someone about it they started laughing and then the fact of like – at least it dawned on me – why hasn't anyone made this movie before. That was kind of it.

Heder: It wasn't just an ice skating comedy, which was enough to sell me, but it was kind of the concept of two guys skating together and having to deal with the difficulties and all the innuendo that follows.

How much improvising was there?

Heder: For me physically, on the ice, a lot. For him, right off the page.

How is it to work like that?

Ferrell: Difficult. No. I don't know. I don't really remember anything being an issue either way.

Heder: It was a lot of fun. They would bring us in actually when preparing the routines, the planned routines. They would actually bring us in there with the choreographer, and then we would just try and skate around and do our own things and they would incorporate that in. So a lot of that is a mixture of the two.

Did you get any grief from figure skaters about mocking the sport, anything like that?

Ferrell: It was just the opposite. Every single skater, even all the cameos of all the pros who were in the movie and Scott Hamilton and all of the coaches, everyone embraced the movie. It was almost weird. I was expecting us to get that, like, 'It's funny, but... come on. I know what you're doing, but it is hard sport. I don't appreciate it, okay?' I don't think that I heard that once. Aside from someone like Dick Buttons – I'm sure he'll hate us forever, but literally everyone in the sport has a great sense of humor. It's obviously recognized as a sport and it's super hard, but at the same time while you're watching figure skating you're like, 'Oh, look at that fake tuxedo they're wearing.' Whatever. You just watch it and admire it, but also make fun of it all at the same time and they know that.

Heder: It's not just a hardcore sweaty sport. It incorporates flashy... flashmenship, I guess.

...Flashmenship?

Heder: [Laughs] Yes. It has glitter! It's like throwing glitter all over basketball and football and music.

Ferrell: We would laugh about Chazz and Jimmy's relationship, or certain jokes, and some of the coaches were like, 'Not so far from the truth.' So there was no backlash whatsoever.

You've now done films about racing cars and ice-skating, is there a sport or activity left that you're dying to make another film about?

Ferrell: Well, unfortunately for interview purposes, because it looks like I'm trying to do this all in a row, I'm doing a basketball comedy now. There's no reason, but it just happened to stack up this way, but I'm doing this movie about the ABA which was this league in the '70's where a lot of the kind of conventions of the game now came from the ABA and a lot of the personalities and some of the leagues best players originally started in the ABA, all this kind of stuff. It was a pretty outlandish league.

It is sort of in the same similar vein of these two films?

Ferrell: Yeah, for sure. It's similar and even more so. 'Semi-Pro' is going to be R rated and so we can go even further with stuff and yet it's pretty realistic in that we're taking a lot from kind of real promotions that they actually did, and things like that.

You've got the red, white and blue ball?

Ferrell: We've got the red, white and blue ball and a lot of afros and stuff like that.

So you're going to keep doing comedies like this or do you plan to do more dramatic works, like 'Stranger Than Fiction?'

Ferrell: You know what, it just depends. I would love to do more films like that. I'm not really getting deluged with scripts that are in the 'Stranger Than Fiction' category. It's not like it's changed the landscape of anything so much.

Just the fact that that film didn't do as well as people expected; it forced you back into doing more straightforward comedies?

Ferrell: No. No. I would've been doing these next couple of movies regardless of how 'Stranger than Fiction' had done commercially or critically, but I look forward to doing more of that if it happens.

What your latest production, Jon? What's going on with you?

Heder: This movie is coming out and 'Momma's Boy' is the only other movie that I'm in. That's probably coming out some time this year, but there's no announced date on that yet. Diane Keaton is in that. As of now that's kind of all that's on the plate.

And 'Surf's Up?'

Heder: Yeah, and 'Surf's Up.' Oh wow, whew... Yes, that's animated. June 8th!

Sony would be really pissed at you if you forgot about that.

Heder: Well Sony's not here right now.

Did you expect your career to be as hot as it has been since 'Napoleon Dynamite?' Because at Sundance you said you were going to go back and do your cartooning and see what happens.

Heder: Is that what I said? Dang it. Well, yeah, and I still plan on getting back to doing cartoons one of these days. I meant it then and I mean it now. I really like being behind the camera and getting into the production of things. I have a production company with my brothers and at some point we would like to do animation, live action films and really kind of get more into the creative process, but continue to do that.

Are you writing anything, Will?

Ferrell: Adam McKay and I just finished our third script. So, we'll shoot that.

You guys are gold when you write together.

Ferrell: Oh, thank you. We have a good time and we had so much fun working with John C. Reilly that the three of us came up with a whole new premise that we're going to do.

Can you talk about the premise?

Ferrell: Yeah. We're essentially obviously two grown men who still live with a parent and those parents get married and we still live at home and so we're these two step brothers. It's kind of like 'Brady Bunch' meets – what was the movie with Mary Tyler Moore and Donald Sutherland?

'Ordinary People?'

Ferrell: It's like 'Ordinary People' meets 'The Brady Bunch.' So we're two forty year old guys who still live at home and are still indignant about trying to get jobs and join together and become best friends even though their parents don't know what's happening.

Were you late leaving home yourself?

Ferrell: I guess I was in a conventional way. I moved back home after college. I lived at home for another three years. That's pretty late.

I have to ask about the costumes, especially the crotch area. Were there any enhancements there?

Heder: Oh, no.

Ferrell: It's all natural. All one hundred percent.

And the stunts?

Ferrell: Hand on the crotch? Was that a thrill? I don't think that was you.

Heder: I don't think that it was me. Was that your hand?

Was that stunt crotch?

Heder: That was a stunt crotch.

Ferrell: It was my hand.

What about the lifts?

Ferrell: No, that was done with wires.

Seems like it would be something that would be hard to forget, the crotch grab?

Heder: No. Watching it myself you really get into it and believe that it's you. I felt pain when I saw the film, but I don't remember shooting that.

A repressed memory?

Heder: A repressed memory. I think that's what it is. It's one of my monsters coming out.

Ferrell: One of the more painful things in the movie that we had to do was when Jon was straddling my waist. What was that called?

Heder: The frog lift.

Ferrell: I had to sit back and do this.

Heder: He had to sit back with both his feet going completely out.

Ferrell: So, Jon is having to hold himself up.

Heder: I had a cable. It wasn't emotionally uncomfortable, but it was physically painful. We were in pain.

Is that an actual skating move?

Ferrell: I think it is.

Heder: It is, normally done between a male and a female. Frog lift.

So most of the moves are real?

Heder: Basically. I think there were a few moves that were inspired by Armenian circus, not circus, but skating acrobats.

Ferrell: Yeah, they had these two skating acrobats that came in one day and could do all of these crazy things that they incorporated into the film.

The performance that you gave at the Academy Awards was great. How did that come about?

Ferrell: Oh, thanks. Judd Apatow had gotten in touch with Laura Ziskin who produced the Oscars this year, and I'm not sure if it was her idea or Judd's idea, but they said, 'Hey, we're thinking of doing a "Le Mis" about how comedians don't get attention at The Oscars.' So, Judd and Adam wrote that whole song, but it was funny because even though it was The Oscars asking us to do it, I don't think The Academy – they kept saying during rehearsal, 'Oh, that's so funny. The song is wonderful. Very funny.' But I think it went over their heads. No one seemed to notice what it was saying. 'It's very funny.' 'Yeah, but you know what we're saying.' 'Oh... So funny.' Or they were like, 'Yes, it's funny and yes, you're right. We won't vote for comedians.'

Would you like to see a Golden Globes type award for comedy at The Oscars?

Ferrell: Yeah. I bet you eventually they'll do something like that. I think that's a bit of a cop out though. I think they really should just open up and consider comedic performances. I don't know why there has to be two separate categories because I think that you can look at comedic performances and think about a dramatic actor being able to do the same thing and they wouldn't be able to do it. I think they just need to open it up.

Did you talk to Helen Mirren at all?

Ferrell: We didn't get to, no.

Heder: She wouldn't go home with him.

Ferrell: That part of the song didn't actually materialize. At least for me, I haven't talked to Jack and John. They might have made it happen.

Have you given Jon any fatherhood advice?

Ferrell: No, we haven't talked about that.

Heder: He hasn't given me any tips.

Ferrell: This seems like the perfect time.

How come you're doing movies at this critical time? Isn't she due at any second?

Heder: Yeah, but she was asleep. As soon as she gets to sleep I sneak out.

So it was last night, you saw '300?'

Heder: Yeah. That was the first movie I've seen in a long time at the theater.

Ferrell: Do you get bothered when you go to the movies?

Heder: Yeah. So I don't really go. And especially when you go to movies like that where it's filled with nerds.

Ferrell: Yeah, but I can still go. I just wear a hat.

Heder: Sometimes I'll leave my biker helmet on.

What kinds of fans do you have now?

Heder: I don't think that I have any anymore. I don't know. I think it ranges, but mostly nerds or people who used to be nerds and aren't anymore. What's a nerd? We could really get into that.

Ferrell: Aren't we all nerds.

Heder: There is a little nerd inside each of us.

What's more homoerotic, this movie or '300?'

Heder: My wife said, 'I was driving downtown and guess what movie they were totally promoting in the sort of West Hollywood gay district?' I thought she was going to say '300,' because there was tons of stuff, but she said, '"Blades of Glory."' I was like, 'Oh, that's right.' Those are the only two posters up.

There's another fan base there for you right there.

Heder: I know. Might as well be.

So was there any fatherly advice for Jon, Will?

Ferrell: Oh, right. Try to look your child in the eye, right?

Heder: Don't cross them.

Ferrell: Right... And get to know their name. Remember that you have to feed them. That's about it.

When is your wife's due date?

Heder: Coming up pretty soon. Basically when the movie comes out.

So you might not go to the premiere?

Ferrell: Oh, you might not be able to go...

Heder: No, I'm going to come. [Laughs] I'm setting up a lifestyle for my child so that they can enjoy the finer things in life.

Are you going to wear your outfits to the premiere?

Ferrell: I'm going to wear something from Bob Mackey. That's all I can say.

When will 'Semi-Pro' come out?

Ferrell: I'm not sure. We're only three weeks into filming. Probably in September.

Got questions? Got comments? Send me a line at: quigles@joblo.com.

Source: JoBlo.com

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