Here's the set-up, Wahlberg (Hoitz) and Ferrell walk into the crime scene, a disheveled office where a suicide seems to have taken place. They get chewed out by the Captain (Michael Keaton) for being knuckleheads. Then Wayans Jr. (Fosse) and Riggle get their chance. They mock the rival detectives mercilessly until Wahlberg sulks out from embarrassment. Ferrell doesn't go so quietly. He slugs Wayans Jr. on the way out. Riggle picks up his partner and supplies a little TLC. It began a little too attentive, then blows up to full on man-love by the tenth take. It was hilarious watching Wayans Jr. and Riggle push it further and further. Director Adam McKay loved the direction they were taking, so he let them keep going. I'm not sure if any of this will be in the final cut, but it was pretty damn funny. Here are some excerpts below from our interview with Damon Wayans Jr. and Ron Riggle:
Do your characters appear a lot in the movie? Do they show up every time these guys mess up?
Damon Wayans Jr.: Every time they mess up we show up, or we're the cause of them messing up.
Rob Riggle: We are the rival detectives in the precinct.
Damon Wayans Jr.: We want to do anything to demean them; anything to make it easier for us to succeed.
Rob Riggle: Once the top cops disappear in the movie, then there's a power vacuum. They're trying to get it, and we're trying to get it. So it's a healthy competition.
So they're the bad cops, and you're the ones who come along and are actually worse? Or are you all on the same level?
Rob Riggle: Well we're all detectives. Michael Keaton plays our captain in our precinct. So basically you had Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson who were the top cops, and as they disappear, there's a void, so now it's a competition. We think we should be the next top cops, and they think they should be the next top cops.
Are you equally as incompetent?
Damon Wayans Jr.: We're way more competent. We solve crimes. We solve cases.
We didn't get that impression from what we saw.
Rob Riggle: I think this whole precinct could use a little more training.
Damon Wayans Jr.: The entire precinct.
Adam [Mckay] spoke earlier about how he encourages improv and takes ideas from everybody. Is there a point where you hit the wall? How do you keep it fresh?
Rob Riggle: I could do bits all day long.
Damon Wayans Jr.: It's all we do.
Rob Riggle: Honestly, you could beat me, torture me, just don't bore me. That's how we wind up doing bits all day long, just to entertain ourselves.
Damon Wayans Jr.: Even when the camera's off, we're trying to make each other laugh all the time.
Rob Riggle: If I was on a road trip and I had been doing it for about 24 hours, I might say let's talk about Afghanistan or something. Let's get real for a minute. Everyone would last for exactly one minute and then someone would make a joke out of it and we'd be right back to what we were doing before.Is Adam telling you anything between takes about getting back to the story? It seems like you're getting bigger and bigger.
Rob Riggle: Not always, sometimes for sure. But for a large part of the time he's like, I loved it, do it again.
Damon Wayans Jr.: Say whatever you want.
Rob Riggle: Try this, try that.
Damon Wayans Jr.: That's his thing. We'll do two takes, and he'll come in and go, 'F around.' Alright!
So when did the romance start between your characters?
Damon Wayans Jr.: This scene!
Rob Riggle: It started way before production. Actually, this scene is when it really comes to light.
Damon Wayans Jr.: He really let me know how he felt.
Rob Riggle: Well you can't make fun of my partner.
Damon Wayans Jr.: I know, but there's like defense, and then after they left you were like-
Rob Riggle: Motherly protection?
Damon Wayans Jr.: Even mothers don't go that far.
Rob Riggle: You're right. What mother would do that? Not mine.
Obviously you're shooting out of sequence, but will the love affair between you guys, will that thread continue?
Rob Riggle: No, I don't think so. Because this is the last scene we're shooting.
Damon Wayans Jr.: We're done after this.
Rob Riggle: This is it. And this is early in the movie. Not early in the movie...
Damon Wayans Jr.: No, this is kind of toward the end.
Rob Riggle: Yeah, you're right. So I don't think so. It might have always been there, and it just got exposed. Like a huge iceberg, and we just see the tip of it, and then it dips back into the water again. I think that's what's going on here.
Damon Wayans Jr.: I agree. It's kind of one-sided, though, because I had no idea.
Rob Riggle: That's the beauty of it. That's the beauty of improv, we just see what we came up with.
Damon Wayans Jr.: And you're just caressing my face, my mustache. Why'd you do that to my mustache?
Rob Riggle: I've been dying to touch your mustache.
Damon Wayans Jr.: Like you're rubbing it, and then you did like two fingers...
Rob Riggle: I was dragging your face. I was trying to make goofy faces. I was molding your face.
Damon Wayans Jr.: Man, that was amazing.
Has the rest of the movie been kind of like this, where every scene has some improv? Or are there some really serious scenes?Rob Riggle: No, there's moments that require different levels of gravitas. But they're very few and far between. It's a comedy. It's an Adam McKay movie. There's going to be a lot of improvising.
Damon Wayans Jr.: A lot of funny.
Rob Riggle: Yeah, a lot of funny, a lot of improvising.
Damon Wayans Jr.: You know usually in action movies, it's just like action with a little bit of comedy, or comedy with no action. He just put both of those worlds together in this movie, perfectly I think. Because it's like nonstop, balls to the wall funny, plus crazy "Bourne Identity" action. It's sick!
Do your characters get into any of the action scenes?
Rob Riggle: We definitely do a driving scene. We show up at some crime scenes after the fact. There's a fight sequence. So there is some stunt, action stuff.
Damon Wayans Jr.: Violence. There's violence involved. I kinda like it.
Did either of you guys know Adam beforehand?
Rob Riggle: I've worked with Adam on three movies now. I had a small part in Talladega. He produced "The Goods", and then I was in "Step Brothers" with him. So this is the fourth time I've worked with him.
Damon Wayans Jr.: My first, but it's been fun. It's like one of the best experiences I've had, really funny people.
How do he and Will Ferrell compare to the style of your family?
Damon Wayans Jr.: I don't know how to compare. It's just a totally different way of doing stuff. I'm used to saying what's on the script. Then I got here and it was like, oh, this is what I do with my friends all the time.
Rob Riggle: He's a natural improviser.
Damon Wayans Jr.: We shoot movies. They make million-dollar pictures by just riffing. It's great.
Do you guys have any favorite buddy cop movies or comedies?
Damon Wayans Jr.: I like Bad Boys II. I like that one scene where it was like the revolving shot. That was awesome. I was a big fan of Dragnet. I used to watch Nick at Nite and be like, wow, Friday never moved his arms. It was crazy. I would always look to see. He never moved them when he walked.
What's the most trying thing you've had to do on this film? What's the one thing that hasn't been fun?
Rob Riggle: It would probably be stroking his face.
Damon Wayans Jr.: Yeah, that didn't really bother me too much.
Rob Riggle: My toughest day was wrestling and fighting Mark Wahlberg. He's a very strong man.
Damon Wayans Jr.: He likes to show it. He likes to show that he's strong.
Rob Riggle: He beat the tar out of me all day. But actually it was a lot of fun, so I can't complain too much. There hasn't been a bad day. For me, personally, I've had a great time.
Damon Wayans Jr.: Yeah, there hasn't been a bad day for me either.
Rob Riggle: It's all been pretty good. If you guys want some dish, there's no dish. We laugh and we love each other and it's the best time ever!