Will Ferrell & Jon Heder ('Blades Of Glory')
'Nice Ice, Baby!'
Chatting recently with funnymen, Will Ferrell and Jon Heder, at the Los Angeles press day to promote their new comedy, 'Blades of Glory,' it was obvious from the off that this was never going to be a generic Q&A session!
Produced by Ben Stiller based on a spec script by two brothers, Jeff and Craig Cox, the movie focuses on the comic travails of two disgraced world champion skaters, Chazz Michael Michaels (Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Heder) who must overcome their considerable differences and get back in the game by becoming the first competitive male pairs figure skaters in history.
What follows is a transcripted timeline of quips and quotes that sometimes answered the questions I was asking, but most times were so tangential that I might not have even been required to be in the room!
Will, when youíre done with your hair, can I just borrow it? FERRELL - "Absolutely. You can borrow it now. Let me get it off."
How much fun was it for you guys to be so close to each other for certain parts of this movie?! Did you have to set any boundaries?! HEDER - "The contract said, "No less than 2 centimeters.Ē
WF - "I had a restraining order against his crotch. We really didnít talk about it, did we?"
JH - "I think, all in all, it ended up being mostly effects."
WF - "That was a stunt crotch. I donít think I touched his crotch."
JH - "I even think the upside legs were actually fake. It wasnít even someone elseís."
WF - "Oh, really?"
JH - "Remember?"
WF - "Ahhhh yes, movie magic!"
Which was harder to negotiate, the crotch proximity or the boob grabbing with Jenna Fischer? WF - "Well, the boob grabbing. That was ad-libbed. I just thought, 'This will be fun, Iím just going to do it,' and 80 takes later ..." he laughs, "I had to get it right. And, it remained in the movie."
JH - "As soon as you did the first establishing shot, you had to match that."
Did you know each other beforehand? You have such a great rapport. Did that happen as soon as you guys met? WF - "It was instantaneous, wasnít it?"
JH - "I was just in awe. When we first met, it was on the ice and we were on level playing ground. All bets were off."
WF - "Right, right."
JH - "I think we were just scared!"
WF - "Yeah. We met in the parking lot of Pickwick Ice Rink in Burbank. It was like, 'Hey, nice to meet you.' 'Yeah, you too.' 'This should be fun, right?' 'Itís going to be hard, huh?' 'You donít know how to skate, do you?' 'No.' 'I donít either.' 'Okay, Iíll see you later,'" he laughs again. "That was kind of it."
JH - "I was like, 'Iíve got to lift you?'"
WF - "No, I think I will be doing the lifting. I have to lift you.Ē
Now that you did learn to skate, who loves it and who hates it? JH - "I love it."
WF - "He does. He loves it. I donít hate it."
JH - "He doesnít hate anything."
WF - "But, yeah, I havenít skated since the movie. But, heís only skated once."
JH - "Iíve gone only once since because Iíve been busy."
WF - "Heís a big talker. He was like, 'Iím going to skate all the time'.Ē
JH - "And, I am. Iím going to,""And, by all the time, I mean that Iím going to try to make it a regular, once a month to semi-annual thing," he continues to laugh.
Will, can you tell us something about Jon that we would not know? And, Jon can you tell us something about Will? WF - "Let me see . . . Jon has a twin brother. Did you know that?"
WF - "Oh, shoot," he laughs.
JH - "Everybody knows that."
WF - "Well, his twin brother is really mean. Jonís nice, but this guy -- he scares me!"
JH - "Heís the evil one."
WF - "Heís the evil one. And, he would come to set and he wouldnít even talk to me. Heíd just sit across the room and go" [does an evil laugh]. "I was like, 'What is he doing?,' and Jon was like, 'Thatís just my evil twin brother, donít worry about it'.Ē
JH - "Heíll mess with you, but itís not a big deal."
WF - "So, thatís something about Jon!"
JH -"Will doesnít grow facial hair. Itís all down here," he points to Willís chest.
JH - "It all goes there. He never had to shave."
WF - "For some reason, the beard follicles are actually right here, over my breasts, so I grow a chest beard. So, I have to shave that down. So, those are two things. Jon didnít know I was left-handed."
JH - "Thatís true. Are you?"
WF - "Yeah."
JH - "I didnít know that, but neither did they!"
Speaking of the chest beard, when you get a script, do you immediately try to find the scene where you get to take off as many of your clothes as you possibly can? WF - "No. I actually hope that there isnít!"
JH - "He gave it to me."
WF - "Yeah, I gave it to Jon this time. But, yeah, in this one, I kind of do a version of it with the tattoo thing, which I thought was really funny that you reveal this stupid life story through tattoos. But, we got to make some crazy, funny tattoos. That was amazing. And, in fact, we were just laughing that Jimmy has no sense of the fact that thereís this gross guy with his shirt off. Heís just wrapped up in the story, like, 'Really, wow, cool. Whatís that one?'Ē
JH - "And then, Chazz gets the tattoo of Jimmy."
Were you tempted to keep that one for awhile? WF - "I was. That was the funniest thing. The make-up tattoos are so real looking and they last for a good couple of days, so I would forget. On the weekends, Iíd have these weird tattoos. My wife would be like, 'Oh, gross, what is that?' 'Itís just a wolf. Iím the lone wolf'.Ē
So, the spandex skater costumes vs. the elf suit -- compare and contrast! WF - "Well, they were very similar. The elfin tights were actually quite functional. A lot of times, in that movie, it was very cold where we were filming, so I was actually thankful to have them. The lycra suits, I was thankful to have them in a different sense, just for the character, Ďcause they were funny looking."
JH - "It took some help to get into. But, you didnít have to wear a dancerís belt in elf, did you?"
WF - "No, I did."
JH - "You did?"
WF - "Yeah. I had already experienced it, yeah."
JH - "So, he was totally just being nice to me when I had to wear a dancerís belt for the first time. You were obviously trying to make me feel better by saying, 'Yeah, these really suck, donít they?' You were used to them," he laughs.
WF - "I didnít want you to feel left out."
Did you want to draw the line with the fluffy thing on the butt of the peacock costume? JH - "I remember seeing it in the design, but I always forgot about it because itís so light, and I never saw it. People would say something and Iíd be like, 'Oh, thatís right, Iíve got feathers back there.' So, no, I did not draw the line."
How much input did you guys have on your costumes? WF - "We had a little bit. Julie Weiss, whoís the wardrobe designer, is kind of a mad genius, in a way. Sheíd be like, 'I found this leather jacket in the hatchback of my neighborís car. Try it on,'Ē he laughs. Youíd be like, 'Oh, itís perfect.' 'I knew it! Youíre going to wear that today.' She really designed these amazing costumes. She would call me on the phone and ask me things like, 'What would your character keep in a duffle bag?' 'I donít know yet. I havenít even thought about it.' She was like, 'I see you as a cross between Steven Tyler and . . .' this person or that person. But, yeah, in terms of the skater stuff, she totally designed all that."
JH - "The peacock outfit was kind of my idea because we had seen clips and footage of other skaters, just to study and research, and Johnny Weir had this swan outfit. It was kind of a famous routine. It was very serious, but the glove was a swan, and I was like, 'That would be funny to do, but do it as a peacock.' Skaters are very much like peacocks. It was amazing. I just remember throwing that idea out, and then, the next thing I knew, she had this bejeweled glove and the eye, and everything. It was like, wow!"WF - "The first time I saw him in his outfit, I was really jealous," he laughs. "I was like, 'Aw, youíre a peacock. Of course. You get a gloved hand and everything. Iím only fire."
JH - "But, he had fire coming out of his hand. That was pretty cool."
How was the chase on dry land? WF - "That was really hard. We were saying in the other room, that was the first two days of filming, all of that chase and we hadn't really worked out being on those skates at all."
JH - "Did you have covers at all or was it just straight metal blade?"
WF - "No, it was like a piece of wood that was painted silver on the side so it looked like a blade but it was still only about that much thickness that we were running around on. And it was the craziest way to begin a movie I've ever- - you felt really beat up after those first few days of all that physical stuff, but it was fun."
How important is the hair of the character? JH - "I loved it. I love hair. It's very important."
WF - "I would say the same thing."
How does it help you find the essence? JH - "I think so much of the look, obviously including wardrobe, but the hair is a huge thing because it's basically the frame for your eyes and that's the window to your soul is what they say."
WF - "I'm about to cry right now!"
JH - "I always love messing with my own hair. As much as I can, I don't normally like to wear wigs. If it's just scheduling reasons, but yeah, we did extensions and played around and it's always fun getting into that character that way."
WF - "Plus, really very few of us have a job where you can get paid to come up with a crazy hairstyle. So it's always fun if you can add that extra dimension to your look and hair is a huge part of that."
What about Jon and Jenna's kiss? JH - "Well, in the script, it was like a sweet innocent kiss, I think from what I remember. But we were just talking about the characters and how they both have never had experience with the opposite sex, for good reasons. So when they get together, we just thought neither of them would know what they're doing and we should just make it like the most awkward kiss ever, where she's a little bit more excited, she gets into it a little bit more. Jimmy is still trying to go by what he watches on Backstreet Boys videos. Like simple, beautiful and yeah, we didn't really rehearse it. But when we shot it, it was like all right, let's just kind of go for it and see what happens. It was really weird. There were a couple where she was like making moans like, 'Ahh ahh'."
What is it like performing in the stadium with crowds, and how much did you really do? JH - "Well, the first part, I was kind of nervous. I'm used to it now. I started getting used to like, being in front of the camera is fine. In front of other people, there's always a small cast but this is the first movie where actually- - I remember the first time when we started shooting the skating stuff, to be out there where we have our routines planned, we know the routine but then you have all these extras. And it was like the real deal. I got up, I was nervous though, yeah."
WF - "You don't want to mess up."
JH - "I didn't want to mess up and like ... I mean, once you start going it's fine."
WF - "We worked with this woman, Sarah Kawahara and she's like the big time skating choreographer, to the point where some of the other coaches who were former pros, actually you could see them get nervous around her. She does all the Disney on Ice, everything. You have these coaches who really wanted us to- - in your mind, you'd be like, 'I nailed that' and they were like, 'better!'"
JH - "It was like real time coaches."
WF - "You're gonna get there.' Yeah."
JH - "They were like real coaches. The directors say, 'Oh, great job. Now do it this way.' And they were like, 'Yeah, okay'."
WF - "'Make sure you point your toe.' And the director would be like, 'Looks fine.' They were almost like, 'Don't tell them that.' But it was intense."
JH - "And I tried to do as much skating as I could. Obviously, we had doubles to do the really cool spins and the jumps."
Any wires? JH - "We got on some wires, yeah, we got on some wires. For any of the flying sequences. There were a few."
WF - "I flew at the end."
JH - "That was wirework!"
WF - "But that actually was insane. We were like 100 feet up in the air above all these people. I was like, 'I hope these don't break'."
Did you see the Korean film? WF - "We never got to see it. It wasn't mocked up so we just had to react to what we thought it would look like."
JH - "Or the director going, 'Now the head falls off'."
WF - "So we both thought it was super funny when we got to see it. It was very crudely done, you know, but then the head comes off."
JH - "And when we shot the scene where his character's practicing off a mannequin and his double actually nailed the head. There was one time where he nailed it perfectly just at the right -- because they had it rigged so it would fall, but he hit it instead like right off."
Did you talk to Helen Mirren after the Oscar bit? WF - "No, I didn't get to."
JH - "There wasn't any talking."
WF - "Not a lot of talking in my hotel suite!"
So, what's coming up next for you both? WF - "I just started filming another sports comedy about the ABA which was this league in the '70s, a competing league with the NBA. So it's a basketball comedy. Semi Pro."
Whoís your character? WF - "I'm this guy Jackie Moon. I'm the player/owner/coach of the Flint Michigan Tropics. And I was able to buy the team with the money from my single, my number one hit song ĎLove Me Sexy.í The true story part of it is the NBA and the ABA merge and they only took four teams. So we're trying to play for fourth place to make it to the NBA."
JH - "Both 'Surf's Up' and 'Mama's Boy.' I don't know when that comes out but it's all done. I'm not working on anything right now."
Tell us more about 'Surf's Up' as it looks very clever JH - "Did you guys see it or just that Mr. Tartanian/Angry Boss sketch with Pierce Brosnan?!"
WF - "Oh, it was the interview at the travel magazine. Just Adam and I wrote it. We were talking about, we would sometimes just kick scenarios and write so we thought about just a job interview scene at a travel magazine and I end up stabbing Chris Parnell with a trident 100 times."
Back To Archives