Actor and comedian Will Ferrell has laced up his high-tops and grown out an afro to star in the new sports comedy “Semi-Pro.” While promoting the film in Austin, Texas, he sat down with me to talk basketball, catch-phrases and how he really feels about stripping down to his birthday suit for some of his movies.
It’s obvious from watching a few of your other films that you’re confident with your body, but did you have any reservations about wearing those super short basketball shorts and showing off your junk in “Semi-Pro?”
Uh, first of all, it’s not junk. It’s sculpted testicles. No, not really. I don’t really have a lot of vanity issues for the most part. I have some. I have more than you think in a way. But if it’s for a movie and it seems funny, then I don’t really care.
Of course, you’re known for your comedy, but you’ve also had some success in the dramatic field with films like “Stranger than Fiction.” Is that genre something you would like to revisit in the future?
I would love to do more of that, but like everything else you get put in a certain category and those types of scripts really aren’t piling in, which is fine. It’s not a crusade of mine, but at the same time I really enjoy those types of movies and would like to do more.
What was it like to work with Woody Harrelson for the first time?
He’s awesome. He’s such a cool guy. He was like the only guy we wanted for that part because we really did have to get someone that could play basketball. We literally read the scenes and then went out and dribbled the ball around in the parking lot. We wanted all the basketball to look as real as possible. But I love Woody. He loves this movie and it’s so cool that he’s a friend now.
What kind of basketball player are you in real life?
Um… well, I’m probably one of the best celebrity basketball players…in the world, even though I was not invited to the celebrity NBA All-Star game. No, I’m okay. I played a lot in high school and I still play pick-up ball here and there. It’s probably the sport I play the most. To get to do a basketball comedy is a dream come true. The only bummer about it is that it’s set in the ’70s and having to run around in those old shoes. Shoes are so much better now.
What’s next for funnyordie.com? (If you haven’t seen “The Landlord,” YouTube it now).
We’ve been doing this funnyordie comedy tour. It was an opportunity to promote the movie and the Web site and give three comics that are up-and-coming a lot of exposure. We’ve been filming and doing a lot of behind the scene stuff so, we’ll be putting it up on the Web site soon.
You’ve done films on figure skating, soccer, and NASCAR. Are these sports comedies coincidental or are you looking for these roles?
Completely coincidental. “Talladega Nights” was written with no plan to do any more sports movies. Then, I was sitting in Charlotte with my wife watching figure skating and she said, “Someone really needs to do a story on figure skating.” The next week, I got a call about “Blades of Glory.” Subsequently, the script was ready for “Semi-Pro” and they wanted it released around basketball season.
Do people shout catchphrases at you all the time? Which ones do you hear the most?
All the time. Uh, I hear, “Ma, more meatloaf.” I hear, “You’re my boy blue.” I hear, “Let’s go streaking!” I hear, “I wanna be on you,” “I’m kind of a big deal,” “Stay classy,” “Milk was a bad choice.” And then people will just yell at me, “Ricky Bobby! Hey, it’s Ricky Bobby!”
Do you have any NBA Championship predictions this year?
I was about to talk a big game about the Lakers, but now Kobe’s finger (is hurt). I still think the Spurs are the team to beat in the west and the Celtics in the east. That’s probably what it’s going to be. If that happens, it would be interesting to see because I think the Celtics could take them. But the Spurs are so calm, cool, and collected and have been through the Finals so many times they won’t get rattled.