Back in 2010, the unlikely duo of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg teamed up for a silly action comedy called The Other Guys. The film, directed by Adam McKay, wound up being a big hit and the two co-stars had wanted to work together again ever since.
Now, this Christmas, their latest film Daddy’s Home, a not-so-traditional family comedy hits theaters. We had the opportunity to visit the New Orleans set of the film and sit down with the stars where Wahlberg and Ferrell reminisced about working together on The Other Guys, the magic of shooting big viral stunts, and how their kids will never think either of them are very cool.
How did you two teaming up again on Daddy’s Home come to be?
WILL FERRELL: In terms of, it’s something we’ve been trying to get going for a while and had fits and starts with it and all of a sudden Mark’s name came up and you know the fact that it all just happened and to get Sean (Anders) and John (Morris) to be able to do it and it’s nice that we already have a shorthand with each other from The Other Guys and we really just hit the ground running and dove right into a premise that’s fun for both of us to play and relatable, to not only us both being dads, but I think a lot of people out there now who, there’re not a lot of “traditional families” anymore out there. I think everyone is either part of or knows of someone who have these different types of families between the step parents and the biological parents and this and that so it’s kind of fun to make a comment on that whole world.
And you’re playing kind of similar characters, sort of archetypes, to your characters in The Other Guys too. Would you say that?
FERRELL: Yeah, I mean, I’m once again kind of straight laced and mark is kind of the, you’re the…
MARK WAHLBERG: Crazy guy! Yeah… See how we think alike?
FERRELL: But you’re even crazier this time! Except 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.
WAHLBERG: I’m trying to do it in a not so traditional way, either. I’m trying to be as pleasant and likable as possible for the most part until I put him in a horrible predicament.
FERRELL: He’s incredibly charismatic —
WAHLBERG: We didn’t want it to be like, Oh, this guy’s a dick, we’ll root against him and we’ll root for him. We wanted it to be a little more –
FERRELL: He’s Lucy to my Charlie Brown. Every time he pulls the football away and I try to kick it, he figures out another way to get me to try to kick the football again and I fall for it every time.
So would you say each character has their own, sort of, things the audience will like? Maybe certain types of people will be rooting for Mark’s character to do this or maybe some will be rooting for you? Would you say that’s kind of how the movie is structured or do you think it’s more people want to see you succeed as the stepfather or they want to see you to succeed as the biological father?
WAHLBERG: I think, you know, look, I always root for the bad guy and I don’t think you have a great movie without a great villain but no, I think they both do a lot for one another and I think people are going to root for them to come together.
It seems like there’s a lot of fun action in this movie from the zip line to the motorcycle to the basketball game, dance off – I mean, that’s got to be fun for you guys to find the comedy in these big silly –
WAHLBERG: I forgot about the dance off!
FERRELL: It was fun for me to force Mark to have to dance, I know that much.
And don’t you sing too?
WAHLBERG: Do I sing?
FERRELL: Oh yeah in the – in the Panda commercial.
WAHLBERG: Oh yeah, I do sing. My least favorite things to do.
So Mark Wahlberg, song and dance man.
FERRELL: It’s short though, the song’s short.
WAHLBERG: Yeah, brief.
FERRELL: It’s just a brief power ballad jingle. Yeah.
WAHLBERG: For the local jazz station.
But how was the basketball scene? We saw a little clip of [online] it but it looked like it was a blast.
FERRELL: Oh, at the Laker game! 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.
Is it strange when you’re doing something like that and, as you said, it sort of catches fire on YouTube and people maybe don’t realize that you’re doing it in character? They think it’s drunk Will Ferrell?
FERRELL: 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.
Now, we’ve heard that your character has spent some time doing Black Ops sort of missions. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
WAHLBERG: Yeah, well, I can’t really tell you too much because it’s all very secretive. (laughs) But you do see a little glimpse of it in the movie, he keeps hearing all these stories and I’m telling the kids stories –
FERRELL: He’s always very cryptic –
WAHLBERG: And he doesn’t know if it’s real or not but when we go to the Lakers game Kobe is there and one of the guys — I was supposed to have played professional basketball in Italy as well, and I see one of my former teammates who is now an athletic trainer with the Lakers and he introduces me to Kobe and Kobe’s heard all of these stories about me because Kobe speaks fluent Italian and all this stuff. But in the end you realize that yes, I am telling the truth about most of those things except for a couple little things that I stretch the truth, but those are basically my lack of talent in the kitchen and baking and the other things that I can’t do very well but Dusty does have the ability to do pretty much everything pretty well.
Do you get a little action scene?
WAHLBERG: Yeah, I’m fighting terrorists.
We also heard that Tony Hawk did a stunt double for you –
WAHLBERG: It’s actually crazy! If you think about it, it just dawned on me, Tony got hurt on the set —
WAHLBERG: Kobe got hurt on the set –
FERRELL: I know!
WAHLBERG: We’re taking everyone out! Holy shit, man! Two of the best athletes in their sport in the world and they’re going down on Daddy’s Home! They went down right when they didn’t need them anymore, they went down. Tony Hawk, did the stunt and he’s like, ‘Ah, I’ll do it one more time,’ then boom! Big slice in his leg. Kobe tears his rotator cuff. You’re bad luck man!
FERRELL: At least it was in the middle of the game, it wasn’t while we were filming, we were done filming at this point. I’m just laughing that Tony Hawk doubled me but I’m supposed to wreck so you can’t really tell it’s Tony Hawk. It’s not like I do enough tricks to where you’re like, Oh was… So it’s just funny that Tony Hawk wanted to, I mean, we’re happy to have him! But it’s just hilarious that we had Tony Hawk on set to do this.
Yeah, it’s not like a Tony Hawk cameo…
FERRELL: No! No, he’s literally dressed up like me. There won’t be a lower third in the movie like, This is actually Tony Hawk, so it was just so funny that, OK! Great! But…
These kids are really cute, are they fun to work with?
FERRELL: Well, I disagree with you on the first one, I don’t think they’re very cute.
WAHLBERG: They’re really fun. It’s day forty, so… But they have so much energy and enthusiasm.
FERRELL: But they’ve been really good.
WAHLBERG: Really smiley… They’ve got so much energy and I’ve got to get home to my kids, but they’d be here all day and all night, every day, seven days a week if they could. But they’re great.
FERRELL: Sean did a great job of casting these kids who, they have to be sweet and earnest that when we give them horrible things to say, it works great. And they immediately play up the, ‘Real dad! We hate you!’ which is kind of the dynamic that immediately happens when Dusty shows up.
How about your on-screen wife Linda Cardellini. She’s lovely, I love her from Freaks and Geeks and from so many other things, but how has it been working with Linda?
WAHLBERG: She’s a sweetheart. Really easy to work with.
FERRELL: Linda’s great. You know, just fits in with all of it, plays it really real, gives you—because you have to have someone in that role who’s believable enough to, you know, because the audience has to come along with us, I’m going to allow this guy to stay with us even though he’s forcing me to do all of these things and bring all of these elements into our house and Linda really does a great tightrope act of like, ‘It’s OK honey, I love you so much, you’re so sweet, but watch out for this guy!’ And can improvise, so she kind of fits perfectly and I’ve obviously known about Linda for a long time and known her as well but this movie Welcome to Me that we did, that we produced, with Kristen Wiig, she kind of played her buddy and she was so great in the movie and I was like, God, Linda would be perfect for the wife in this and it worked out.
Do you guys have any fun dad stories of times that you’ve tried to impress your kids or impress your kids friends that have gone slightly awry a la crashing a motorcycle through your house?
FERRELL: Oh. Dramatic like that?
Or not, or lesser, of course!
FERRELL: Trying to be the man and having it blow up in your face?
WAHLBERG: I never succeed at it anyway. I try constantly but it doesn’t work.
Your kids aren’t impressed?
WAHLBERG: No, not very often. And they’re not impressed with him either. My daughter had an Elf shirt on when we were home for Christmas and I said, Daddy’s working with him! Let me take a picture! And she was like, “Who cares?” When I showed Will the picture he was like, “Where’d she get that?”
FERRELL: And they were all visiting and I went, Hey guys! What’s up? And they went, ‘Hi. How are ya? Dad, can we go?’
WAHLBERG: They want to go to Sky High and jumpy places, they’re not wanting to hang around sets.
FERRELL: Yeah, I’m always trying to make my kids laugh and they’re tough critics. They’re very tough.
This movie is kind of an interesting mirror for another film you did, Step Brothers, but now you’re the stepfather, there’s also a big tree house in this movie –
FERRELL: Right, right! I didn’t think of that!
Did you talk to Richard Jenkins and say, Hey! Give me some stepfather advice!
FERRELL: I should have! I know, I’m glad that these kids aren’t marching around in their underwear in the middle of the day. But I didn’t think about the tree house. But the tree house is iconic of childhood fun. Everyone wants a tree house and we have a scene where I’ve nailed two boards to a tree when I first meet Dusty and I’m like, It’s the beginning of a tree house!
WAHLBERG: And they’ve been working on it for a couple of months.
FERRELL: I’ve been working on it for a couple of months and it’s just two boards nailed onto it and he’s like, Looking pretty good! And I come home the next day and it’s not only built fully with Dish TV and an Xbox but a fully functioning skateboard ramp and a DJ and sponsors.
WAHLBERG: Yeah, we got Red Bull.
FERRELL: So it’s like, the greatest backyard in the neighborhood and it’s all done by Dusty.
How about Hannibal? How did Hannibal Buress come into the fold?
FERRELL: You know, Hannibal just was someone who we all just think is so funny from his stand up and he’s starting to do some acting here and there and we thought his off-beat energy would be hilarious for this side character of Griff who is this handyman who comes to fix the damage of the motorcycle going through the house and Dusty’s like, Why do you have a handyman? We can fix that! Oh, OK, should I let him go? But I feel awkward firing him and I cant and anyway, it leads to this thing where he ends up basically living with us. But yeah, he’s just I think one of the smartest, funniest stand ups out there today and he just, in these scenes, you forget he’s in the scene and he’ll pop his head in and have a comment or an off-beat line that is just always great to cut to.
We noticed in the one you were filming where he says, He’s the top endocrinologist in the country!
FERRELL: Yeah, and yesterday we shot a scene where I’m trying to have another moment where I’m like, I gotta kick him out, like it’s just getting [to be] too much, and these guys are watching Frozen but Dusty’s never seen it and is like, This movie is great! They’re making the biggest deal out of Frozen but Hannibal won’t pause it because he doesn’t want to ruin the momentum and I’m like, ‘We’re not in the theater!’ ‘I’m trying to create the theater experience here in your house!’ but yeah, he’s super funny.
It’s been really fun watching so far. It seems like the energy’s good, we’re laughing; we’re sitting here watching and laughing.
FERRELL: This is just, this is nothing. This is a little piece of shoe leather, this is. Right?
WAHLBERG: Yeah. This is actually just a little opportunity for my character to introduce him to another one of my crazy boys. The doctor’s played by Bobby Cannavale —
FERRELL: Who is this fertility specialist —
WAHLBERG: This is me trying to set him up to fail, hopefully.
FERRELL: But we’ll see what happens!
WAHLBERG: Hopefully we’ll give him another baby.
Your character has the line in the scene where he’s like, “I’m trying to put a baby in you”, is he aware of what he’s saying?
WAHLBERG: Yeah, Linda’s such a good sport too, dealing with all my caveman antics because every chance I get I’m trying to grab her, throw her over my shoulder, take a whiff of her hair, every time in front of him and he and I just have this thing back and forth.
FERRELL: But I’m such a PC, self-help-y guy that I’m always caught between like, “That’s offensive, that’s my wife!” To, “Well, she’ll try to make this all work, so I never know whether to tell him to stop or just endure it.”
Daddy’s Home, stars Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini and Hannibal Buress, and hits theaters on December 25, 2015.