One thing is always predictable when getting into a kind of parallel universe conversation with Will Ferrell—there’s no such thing as predictability. With this press meet for his new cop caper, Adam McKay’s The Other Guys, playing out more like a gag reel for one of his movies, just about anything was a possibility.
Q: You’re all pretty spontaneous, goofing around in this movie. Did the plot help keep things focused when they got out of hand?
WILL FERRELL: I’m not sure there was a plot. But go ahead!
Q: OK, the moral of this story seems to be to stay true to yourself, and embrace your inner pimp. Any tips on that?
WF: You can’t let your bitches get away with stuff at the same time. I mean, what’s the point of being a pimp? It’s one of those questions that can never fully be answered.
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Q: Being a cop is a lot about watching each other’s backs. Was that true for you Other Guys on the set, as well as actors?
WF: No, I feel like it’s more fun to be really cutthroat on a set. That provides a certain tension and it makes for a horrible work environment. But boy, does it pop on screen! The studios love our sets, because we don’t serve food. There’s no Craft Services. There’s no creature comfort that most actors have. No. But this is really just a kind of sandbox for disposable fun ideas we play around with and to have fun with and not think about again!
Q: Whose idea was it to have you sing with the locals in that bar?
WF: With Adam working on the film, I could just say, “Text me any random ideas you have.” And one of them was, what if we were at an Irish bar, and it’s weekly folk singing night? And one of the things Allen loves to do is sing Irish songs at a bar. So I sent that to Adam and he wrote back, “Going into the script.”
Q: What’s the story behind that party trailer you kept around?
WF: There was a trailer called The Party Trailer. But it was towed away after the second day of filming, because there was a lot of crazy stuff going on in there.
Q: Like what?
WF: There was human trafficking going on. There was a crystal meth lab in there. Yeah, it was not good. It was not good.
Q: Any other crazy stuff happening?
WF: Well, I remember there was this one day where Mark [Wahlberg] and Eva [Mendes] and I are sitting around. And he said, “Let’s go kill a guy.” And I’m like, “[Michael] Keaton would be up for this.” So we called up Keaton and he’s like, “Tell me when and where.” So we all met underneath the Brooklyn Bridge. And then before each day of filming, Adam would usually gather us together along with the crew. And we’d all put our hands out and go, one, two, three—let’s make some money! Then we’d quietly and angrily go about our work.
Q: How about making out with Eva Mendes when she’s disguised an old lady?
WF: Yeah, it was strange. But it was strange to kiss Eva Mendes, or to try to at least. For me in a way, it’s that I can’t believe it’s happening to me. But I do make my wife wear a wig and older woman’s garments. You know, when we pleasure each other.
Q: Were you one of those kids who said, “When I grow up, I want to be cop”?
WF: No, I can’t say that I was. But as a kid, I built a jail in my closet. I was 6 years old. I guess it was like a vigilante justice-type thing. And I would incarcerate my family from time to time.
Q: Have you ever had any real encounters with police?
WF: I grew up, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the mean streets of Irvine, Calif. But I once got a bicycle ticket from the Irvine PD for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign.
Q: Do you let your kids watch your movies?
WF: My 6-year-old is just starting to figure out what I do. I think he saw Elf when he was 2 or 3 and he started crying when I had to float away on the iceberg. And this summer he leaned over to me and was like, “By the way, dad, I know what you do. I know you’re in movies. Just so you know.” But he still doesn’t really “know.”