It’s been five years since Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg first teamed up for the hit comedy The Other Guys. Now, the duo has reunited for the family themed comedy Daddy’s Home where Ferrell is playing stepdad to Wahlberg’s biological children. Rounding out the cast are Linda Cardellini, Hannibal Buress, Thomas Haden Church, and a host of other cameos looking to bring big laughs to the silver screen this Christmas.
We visited the New Orleans set of Daddy’s Home earlier this year and here are the five funniest things we saw during our visit.
Babies Are Tough Co-Stars
The old saying in Hollywood goes: don’t work with kids or animals. Daddy’s Home certainly has lots of kids—although the more grown up ones stole the show according to their onset parents (more on that later)… Babies on the other hand can be pretty tough co-stars according to comedian Hannibal Buress who stars alongside Ferrell and Wahlberg, calling his part in the film his “first major role.” So what was the toughest aspect of taking on the role of Griff? “The most challenging part was I had to do a scene with a baby, yesterday or the day before. It was Monday. And so you have to hold the baby, which seems simple. It wasn’t even an emotional scene where I have to give a speech to the baby. I say one line to the baby and then pull it a little bit back towards me. But there’s a big process to it where you can’t just have one baby because babies aren’t responsible.”
Buress continued, “I was trying to calm these babies down, you know. ‘If you shut the fuck up for a little bit, you might get a SAG card out of this shit,’ getting a big laugh from us on set. “But you know, they’re babies, so they want to be with their mom. They don’t know me. But the third baby was really chill. That was good. The third baby was chilled out. We got three takes, like a goddamn pro. Signed his W-9 and got out of there.”
Mark Wahlberg: Reluctant Song-And-Dance Man
While Wahlberg’s character Dusty, the biological father to the two kids in question, may go on Black Ops missions and fights terrorists—more traditional Wahlberg character traits, for sure—he also shows a slightly softer side in Daddy’s Home, even if he does so reluctantly. “That’s the thing that’s really cool about Mark,” Anders reveals, “he’s kind of become this big action hero, and he really is that guy, like he’s a badass for real. But when it comes to comedy, he’s got one of the purest comedy minds because he’s not a comedy guy, so he’s not a guy that spends every minute of every day thinking about how he can be funny or how he can say a funny thing or whatever, but he has that gear and it’s stronger than a lot of people think.” The director continued, “That’s what I love about him is that he still sneaks up on you even though you’ve seen him do all these great funny things in the past, you still, for me anyway, when I think of Mark Whalberg I think of Lone Survivor and this super bad ass and when he opens that up its really funny.
Wahlberg’s costar Will Ferrell described his on-screen rival in more fantastical terms, saying, “Every time he says something crazy, it turns out to be true, he’s actually done it. So his tall tales are actually feats that he’s accomplished which is even more bewildering to me. But Dusty’s like a mythical character in a way, it’s hard to believe that this guy really exists, and I keep – my wife keeps saying like, ‘I’m warning you, don’t let him into our lives,’ I’m like, ‘It’s going to be fine!’ And sure enough, he’s like a magical creature who wreaks havoc on my life.”
Go Big or Go Home
One of the biggest themes in the film is that the two dads competing for the affections of the children are constantly trying to one up each other. Little things like backyard zip lines and tree houses—to paraphrase another Will Ferrell classic—“escalate quickly,” including major stunts involving motorcycles and skateboard legend Tony Hawk and even a scene that wound up going viral long before the movie was even done shooting.
A few months ago, a video of a crazy situation at a Lakers game became a sensation on YouTube. “Oh, at the Laker game!,” exclaimed Will Ferrell. “Yeah, that basketball scene. The one that was all over YouTube. No, that was a blast. I don’t know if Mark’s, I don’t know if you’ve ever done anything [like that], I’ve had a taste of that with Talladega Nights where we had a small window where we actually got to shoot at the race and you only get a certain amount of takes and people don’t know what’s about to happen. We had six minutes there [at the Lakers game] at half time to do this thing and prior to that. the front part of the scene where the kids are getting to meet Kobe, so that energy and that momentum of having to do that that night was spectacular. The crowd fell right in line with not knowing what was going to happen and there I am drunk, in front of this crowd, so that was great. It’s nice to – you know, you always write those scenes and you usually can’t get the parties involved to cooperate for whatever reason but to get to shoot at an NBA game and get to do all these things and have it all fall into place is so great for a movie like this.”
Ferrell reflected on the viral nature of the web with a smile and added, “Those are the moments where I still forget there’s an internet out there. Because you forget that everyone’s got a phone now and it’s just hilarious the comments. They just read the headline, they don’t read that it’s part of a movie, so it’s a lot of comments like, ‘He should be sued!’ and ‘How dare he do that!’ and so that’s, I don’t know, I think it’s ultimately just fun buzz for the movie.”
Is Daddy’s Home A “Family Movie?”
Director Sean Anders bristles at the idea of Daddy’s Home being a traditional “family movie.” On the one hand, sure, the film revolves around the idea of two dads vying for the affections of two kids and their mom, but on the other hand, it’s going to be edgy in a lot of ways. Says Anders, “The tone is something that we’ve talked about from day one, that when John and I came on board we really wanted the tone of the movie to be, we didn’t want it to be just full blown wacky, but at the same time we weren’t making a dramedy either. So we were really trying to find a place where, the subject matter of a step-dad and a biological father is a real thing and it’s something that a lot of people deal with. Now this movie is still a pretty fun, enjoyable comedy in that world but we did want to have some of the truth that goes along with that territory, with some heart.”
The Kids Are Alright
Remember that whole thing about not working with kids or animals? According to everyone we talked to on the set of Daddy’s Home, Owen Vaccaro and Scarlett Estevez were two of the most exciting and professional actors on set. Director Sean Anders was sure to sing their praises, telling us, “We got really, really lucky, because our two kids, Owen and Scarlet, are awesome. They’re first of all, and I’m not saying this as an interview talking point, they are the sweetest, greatest little kids. Just so happy and smart and good little actors and they love doing this. They don’t have crazy stage parents, their parents are really grounded and cool. So Mark and Will both love these kids, and I do too.
It’s funny because a lot of time on a set when you bring kids on a set the crew will just kind of sigh because it means that it’s going to make everything take longer and it’s going OT be difficult or whatever. On this movie, I swear to god, every time the kids walk on set the place just brightens up. It’s already a really happy set but the kids walk on and everybody is so happy to see them because they’ve never slowed us down, and they’re so happy and so smiley, they just brighten everybody up. The two guys have both had a blast with the kids. I think that’s one of the things I’m certain you’re going to see when you see the movie is that these kids just cannot be contained.”
Their on-screen mom Linda Cardellini seconded that sentiment telling us, “whenever they’re in a scene it just brings a totally different energy to it, as opposed to when you’re working with all adults.”
Daddy’s Home, starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini and Hannibal Buress, hits theaters on December 25, 2015.