Will Ferrell and Jon Heder Blades of Glory Interview

Will Ferrell and Jon Heder Blades of Glory Interview


by Paul Fischer in Los Angeles.

One's a comic superstar, the other is a superstar in training. Together, Will Ferrell and Jon Heder are a formidable comic duo, on and off the screen, or the ice, as they play unwilling ice skating partners in the hysterical Blades of Glory. Pair them up for an interview and you get unpredictability amidst the serious sides to these two inimitable actors, as Paul Fischer discovered when he confronted the pair recently in a Los Angeles hotel room.

Will Ferrell: What's up Holmes? This is the first time we've seen each other all day. After spending the entire day yesterday ...

Jon Heder: It was the day before.

Paul Fischer: Do you miss each other then?

Will Ferrell: No.

Jon Heder: I was fine. I was watching 300 so ...

Will Ferrell: Did you go see 300?

Jon Heder: I did.

Paul Fischer: Is it great?

Jon Heder: There was about 300 people in the theatre.

Will Ferrell: Bud did you see 300?

Jon Heder: All the soldiers were there to watch themselves.

Paul Fischer: So I take it that Blades of Glory is just an irresistible opportunity for you to make fools of yourself on ice. Is that the real attraction to doing this?

Jon Heder: No. To make ourselves like quite cool. Not fools.

Paul Fischer: Oh I see. Didn't work, sorry.

Will Ferrell: Yeah. This is not a foolish endeavour. This was, finally we were able to fulfil our dreams and aspirations of becoming figure skaters which I know we all have.

Jon Heder: Inside of each and every one of us when we watch the Olympics and we want to get out there in the Lycra, and express yourself. It's all about expression.

Paul Fischer: Could you talk about the physical preparation for doing this and how tough it must have been on the pair of you. I mean it was pretty tough on you right, because you injured yourself?

Jon Heder: Well once you injure yourself you don't have to do it for a while so that wasn't too bad. Where he had to live in fear. He had to skate in fear.

Will Ferrell: And live with the fear of knowing that just like that you could break your ankle.

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

Paul Fischer: So did everything come together OK then?

Jon Heder: Um, what'd you think?

Paul Fischer: What about the physical look of the pair of you in this and how much input did you have into your hair, your costumes, the whole look - and your hair was particularly inspiring I might say.

Jon Heder: Oh thank you. It was cool. We kind of had some input. We figured since we're going to be playing complete opposites ...

Will Ferrell: The directors obviously had their ideas of how they wanted us to look and Julie Weiss, the costume designer, she came to the table with, she had some pretty inspired choices for that sort of thing. But yeah there was a lot of consultations over hair I seem to remember. Jon Heder: I believe so. I was like a mix of Meg Ryan and Aaron Carter. Kind of their love child.

Will Ferrell: And I was the love child of Farrah Fawcett and Stephen Segall.

Paul Fischer: Jon, have you ever had a stalker as in this film?

Jon Heder: Oh yes. Nick who plays him. He's my stalker. In real life. So that's why when they were casting, I said 'Look here's his resume. You should use him'.

Will Ferrell: Yeah. He's very good at it.

Jon Heder: He's good at it. But no, I'm pretty safe.

Paul Fischer: What is the attraction to doing a movie like this? I mean is it the physical comedy, is it trying to find something that meets your particular sensibilities as actors? I mean, what do you look for? Because I assume that the script came to evolve as you guys became involved in it.

Will Ferrell: You know, I mean I think for both of us it really was just the pitch. I mean the simple pitch of two guys becoming the first men's figure skating team. It was as simple as that. It was obviously a funny premise, that as soon as you told someone about it they instantly started laughing and the fact that, at least it had dawned on me, is why hasn't anyone made this movie before? And that was kind of it.

Jon 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. Yeah. Like skating together, having to deal with the difficulties and all the innuendo that follows.

Paul Fischer: How much improv was there?

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

Paul Fischer: How is that? When you have to work like that together?

Will Ferrell: Difficult. I don't know, I don't really remember anything being an issue either way.

Jon Heder: Yeah. 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. They had a choreographer but then we would just try to like skate around and do our own things and they incorporated that in. So a lot of that flavours the mixture.

Paul Fischer: Did you get any grief from figure skaters like 'Hey you're mocking our sport' or things like that?

Will Ferrell: To a man 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 the coaches, everyone was embracing the movie. It was almost weird. I was expecting us to get, you know, like 'It's funny but, come on'. 'I know what you're doing but it is ...'

Jon Heder: ..'And it's not cool'.

Will Ferrell: 'I don't appreciate it. OK?' But I don't think I heard that once. They're, within the sport, aside from probably someone like Dick Buttons. I'm sure he will hate us forever. But literally everyone in the sport has a great sense of humour at the fact that it's obviously recognised as a sport and super hard but at the same time, while you're watching the figure skating you're like, 'Oh look at that fake tuxedo they're wearing' or whatever. You watch and admire but also make fun of it all at the same time. And they know that.

Jon Heder: Because it's not just a hard core sweaty sport, it incorporates 'flashmanship' I guess, if that's a word. Like it has glitter. It's like throwing glitter all over basketball or football. It's just, I mean and music.

Will Ferrell: We'd laugh about Chazz and Jimmy's relationship or certain jokes and, you know, some of the jokes were like no so far from the truth. So there was no backlash whatsoever.

Paul Fischer: So Will, now having done racing cars and ice skating and basically being probably bad for both of those, is there a sport now that you're dying to, or another leisure activity or ...

Will Ferrell: Unfortunately for interview purposes, because it looks like I've tried to do this all in a row, I'm doing a basketball comedy now.

Jon Heder: That's what the hair is for.

Will Ferrell: eah. So there's no reason. It just happened to stack up this way. But yeah so now I'm doing this movie about the ABA which was this league in the 70s that - 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 league's best players originally started in the ABA so it was a pretty outlandish league.

Paul Fischer: Is the comedic tone of that similar to these two films?

Will Ferrell: Yeah for sure. It's similar and even more. Semi-Pro is going to be R rated 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 they actually did and things like that. So it's actually ...

Paul Fischer: Did you get the red, white and blue ball?

Will Ferrell: We got the red, white and blue ball and a lot of afros and things like that.

Paul Fischer: So you're going to keep doing comedies like this or do you plan to do more stuff like Stranger than Fiction that are more dramatic?

Will Ferrell: You know it just depends. I would love to do more films like that. I mean I'm not really getting deluged by scripts that are in the Stranger than Fiction category.

Paul Fischer: Why? You were so wonderful in that movie.

Will Ferrell: I don't know. I haven't really - it's not like it's changed the landscape of anything so much.

Paul Fischer: But just the fact that the film didn't do as well as you would have expected, sort of forced you back into the comedy direction anyway?

Will Ferrell: No. No, we just kind of - I'd be doing these next couple of movies regardless of how Stranger than Fiction had done commercially or critically. But yeah, I look forward to doing more of that if it happens.

Paul Fischer: And Jon, what about your latest production? What's going on with you?

Jon Heder: This movie's coming out. Mama's Boy is the only other movie I'm in. That's probably coming out some time this year but there's no announced date yet.

Paul Fischer: Who's Mama in that again?

Jon Heder: It's Diane Keaton. And that's kind of all that's on the plate.

Paul Fischer: And Surf's Up.

Jon Heder: Yes, the animation. Surf's Up. June 8th.

Paul Fischer: Sony would be really pissed if you didn't ...

Jon Heder: Well Sony's not here right now

Paul Fischer: They read what we write you know. They are in the building.

Jon Heder: Yes. So Surf's Up, Mama's Boy and yeah.

Paul Fischer: Did you expect your career to be as hot as it is now? When I met you at Sundance you were kind of 'Oh I want to go back into my cartooning and see what happens'.

Jon Heder: Is that what I said? And I still plan on getting back into cartooning one of these days. I mean I meant it then and I mean it now and 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 make animations, live action films and really kind of get into more of the creative process. But continue to do that.

Paul Fischer: Are you writing anything Will?

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

Paul Fischer: Cool. It's gold when you two seem to write together.

Will Ferrell: Oh thank you, yeah. We have a good time and we had so much fun working with John C Riley that the three of us came up with a whole new premise that will ..

Paul Fischer: Can you talk a little bit about what the premise is?

Will Ferrell: Yeah we're essentially two grown men who still live with a parent. And those parents get married and we still live at home. So we're these two stepbrothers. It's kind of like Brady Bunch meets, what was the movie with Mary Tyler Moore and Donald Sutherland?

Paul Fischer: Oh, Ordinary People?

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

Paul Fischer: Were you late leaving home yourself?

Will Ferrell: I guess I was in a convention way. Yeah. I moved back home after college, I lived at home another three years. It's pretty late.

Paul Fischer: I've got to ask about the costumes, especially the crotch area. Were there certain enhancement there or?

Will Ferrell: Oh no. It's all natural. It's all 100%.

Paul Fischer: And the stunts were actually ....

Will Ferrell: Hand on the crotch?

Paul Fischer: Yeah, was that a real knock ...

Jon Heder: Was that a thrill? That was a stunt crotch. It was my hand. One of the more painful moves we had to do was when John is straddling my waist. What's that called?

Jon Heder: The frog lift.

Will Ferrell: The frog lift. And I had to sit back and do this and ...

Jon Heder: And he was sitting back with both his feet going completely out.

Will Ferrell: Jon is having to hold himself up eve though I'm kind of ...

Jon Heder: And I have a cable and it's - it wasn't emotionally uncomfortable but it was physically ...

Will Ferrell: ..uncomfortable.

Jon Heder: In pain. We were in pain, yeah.

Will Ferrell: Thank you.

Paul Fischer: Will, how did your Oscars routine come about? Did they contact you and say ...

Will Ferrell: Yeah Judd Apatow had gotten in touch with Laura Ziskin, who produced the Oscars this year, and I don't know if it was Judd's idea or her idea but they said 'Hey, we're thinking of doing a Les Mis number about how comedians don't get any attention at the Oscars' and so Judd and Adam wrote that whole song. But it was funny that at the same time, even though it was the Oscars asking us to do it, I don't think the Academy - they kept saying during rehearsal like 'Oh that's so funny. The song is wonderful. Very funny'. But I think it went over their head. Yeah but you know what we're saying. 'So funny'. Or they were like 'It's funny' and 'Yes you're right. We won't vote for comedians'.

Paul Fischer: Would you like to see a Golden Globe thing or the Oscars split up into drama and comedy? They do animation in a separate category now.

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

Paul Fischer: Did you talk to Helen Mirren at all?

Will Ferrell: We didn't get to.

Jon Heder: She didn't go home with you.

Will Ferrell: That part of the song didn't actually materialise. At least for me. I haven't talked to Jack and John.

Paul Fischer: Jack might have

Will Ferrell: ...might have made it happen.

Paul Fischer: Will, do you have any fatherhood advice for Jon, whose wife is expecting?

Will Ferrell: Oh we haven't talk about this.

Jon Heder: We've talked about it but you haven't given me any tips.

Paul Fischer: How come you're going to see movies at this critical time?

Jon Heder: How am I doing movies?

Paul Fischer: No. No. You said you went to see 300. I mean isn't it due any second?

Jon Heder: Yeah but she was asleep. She's got to sleep. I mean as soon as she goes to sleep...sssh, sneak out.

Paul Fischer: Oh you saw it in the theatre though right?

Jon Heder: Yeah that was the first movie I've seen in a long time

Paul Fischer: Do you get bothered when you go to the movies?

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

Paul Fischer: (To Will) You can't go to the movies either right?

Will Ferrell: I can still go. I wear a hat and ...

Jon Heder: Sometimes I'll wear my biker helmet on.

Paul Fischer: What fans do you have now? Is it still the old ...

Jon Heder: I don't think I have any.

Paul Fischer: Do you really think they've all gone away now?

Jon Heder: Um, I don't know. No I think it ranges. I don't know. But yeah, you know, nerds. Or people who used to be nerds but aren't any more.

Paul Fischer: Or who want to be nerds maybe.

Jon Heder: What's nerd? I mean we could really get into that.

Will Ferrell: But aren't we all nerds at heart?

Jon Heder: Yeah, there's a little nerd inside of each of us.

Paul Fischer: So have you got some fatherly advice then?

Will Ferrell: Oh, let me see. You know, try to look your child in the eye right.

Jon Heder: Don't cross him - or her.

Will Ferrell: Yeah. And get to know their name. And remember you have to see them. That's about it.

Paul Fischer: When is the due date for this momentous event?

Jon Heder: Coming up, basically when the movie comes out.

Paul Fischer: So what, you're going to divide your time between going to the premiere and going to the birth of your ...

Will Ferrell: He may not be able to go.

Jon Heder: No I'm going to come regardless. I'm just setting up a lifestyle for my child. I'm there to enjoy the finer things in life. So ...

Paul Fischer: Are you guys going to wear outfits to the premiere? Some of your skating outfits?

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

Paul Fischer: When is Semi-Pro coming out?

Will Ferrell: I'm not sure. We're only three weeks into this film.

Paul Fischer: And the script you're doing with Adam, is it going to be shot this year or?

Will Ferrell: Yeah, like probably September.

Paul Fischer: Do you have any other casting?

Will Ferrell: No. Not as of yet.