Ferrell and Heder Battle it out on the ice in the comedy
They were the world's greatest men's skaters - Chazz Michael Michaels and Jimmy MacElroy; they were also the bitterest of rivals. Will Ferrell and Jon Heder battle it out in Blades of Glory.
But when the two get into a fight at the world championships, they're banned from singles competition. A loophole, however, allows them to pair up and gain their glory back on the ice as a team. Who's standing in their way is their main competition, Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg (Will Arnett and Amy Poehler).
Trained by Craig T. Nelson and choreographed by Romany Malco, Will and Jon jump back into the ice skating scene and capture America's heart. We spoke with Will and Jon about their roles - and let me just tell you, the comedy was oozing from the room with the two. Check out what they said about Blades of Glory:
Did you have to set any boundaries with crotch proximity?
Jon Heder: The contract said no less than 2 centimeters.
Will Ferrell: I had a restraining order against his crotch; we really didn't talk about it, did we?
Jon Heder: I think, all in all, it ended up being mostly effects.
Will Ferrell: That was a stunt crotch; I don't think I touched his crotch.
Jon Heder: I even think the upside legs was actually fake; it wasn't even someone else's.
Will Ferrell: Oh, really?
Jon Heder: Remember?
Will Ferrell: Movie magic.
Which was harder to negotiate, the crotch proximity or the boob grabbing with Jenna Fischer?
Will Ferrell: Well, the boob grabbing, that was ad-libbed; I just thought, 'This will be fun, I'm just going to do it,' and 80 takes later - I had to get it right. It remained in the movie.
Jon Heder: As soon as you did the first establishing shot, you had to match that.
Did you know each other beforehand?
Will Ferrell: It was instantaneous, wasn't it?
Jon Heder: When we first met, it was on the ice and we were on level playing ground; all bets were off.
Will Ferrell: Right, right.
Jon Heder: I think we were just scared.
Will Ferrell: 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?' 'It's going to be hard, huh?' 'You don't know how to skate, do you?' 'No.' 'I don't either.' 'Okay, I'll see you later.' That was kind of it.
Jon Heder: I was like, 'I've got to lift you?'
Will Ferrell: 'No, I think I will be doing the lifting; I have to lift you.'
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?
Will Ferrell: No, I actually hope that there isn't.
Jon Heder: He gave it to me.
Will Ferrell: Yeah, I gave it to Jon this time. 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. In fact, we were just laughing that Jimmy has no sense of the fact that there's this gross guy with his shirt off. He's just wrapped in the story, like 'Really, wow, cool; what's that one?'
Jon Heder: And then, Chazz gets the tattoo of Jimmy.
Were you tempted to keep that one for awhile?
Will Ferrell: 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, I'd have these weird tattoos; my wife would be like, 'Oh, gross, what is that?' 'It's just a wolf; I'm the lone wolf.'
So, the spandex skater costumes -
Will Ferrell: The lycra suits, I was thankful to have them, just for the character, cause they were funny looking.
Did you want to draw the line with the fluffy thing on the butt of the peacock costume?
Jon Heder: I remember seeing it in the design, but I always forgot about it because it's so light, and I never saw it. People would say something and I'd be like, 'Oh, that's right, I've got feathers back there.' So, no, I did not draw the line.
How much input did you guys have on your costumes?
Will Ferrell: We had a little bit; Julie Weiss, who's the wardrobe designer is kind of a mad genius, in a way. She'd be like, I found this leather jacket in the hatchback of my neighbor's car; try it on.' You'd be like, 'Oh, it's perfect.' 'I knew it; you're going to wear that today.' She would call me on the phone and ask me things like, 'What would your character keep in a duffle bag?' 'I don't know yet; I haven't 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.
Jon Heder: 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. 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!
Will Ferrell: The first time I saw him in his outfit, I was really jealous. I was like, 'Aw, you're a peacock.' Of course, you get a gloved hand and everything; I'm only fire.'
Jon Heder: But, he had fire coming out of his hand; that was pretty cool.
How was the chase on dry land?
Will Ferrell: 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.
Jon Heder: Did you have covers at all or was it just straight metal blade?
Will Ferrell: 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?
Jon Heder: I loved it, I love hair; it's very important.
Will Ferrell: I would say the same thing.
How does it help you find the essence?
Jon Heder: 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.
Will Ferrell: I'm about to cry right now.
Jon Heder: 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; it's always fun getting into that character that way.
Will Ferrell: 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 of your look and hair is a huge part of that.
What about Jon and Jenna's kiss?
Jon Heder: 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 neither ever 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 like 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 was 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?
Jon Heder: Well, the first part, it was kind of nervous. I'm used to now, 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, I was like -
Will Ferrell: You don't want to mess up.
Jon Heder: I didn't want to mess up; once you start going it's fine.
Will Ferrell: 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.'
Jon Heder: It was like real time coaches.
Will Ferrell: 'You're gonna get there.'
Jon Heder: They were like real coaches; the directors say, 'Oh, great job, now do it this way.' And they were like, 'Yeah, okay.'
Will Ferrell: '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.
Jon Heder: And I tried to do as much skating as I could. Obviously, we had doubles to do the really cool spins and the jumps.
What's coming up for you two?
Will Ferrell: 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. 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 Love Me Sexy. 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.
You can check out the costumes and the laughs in Blades of Glory when it skates into theaters March 30th; it's rated PG-13.