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Behind the Scenes of ‘The Other Guys’ with Writer/Director Adam McKay

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in The Other Guys

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg in ‘The Other Guys.’

© Columbia Pictures

Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg star as New York City police detectives who aren’t well thought of by anyone in the NYPD in the action comedy The Other Guys. Ferrell and Walhberg’s characters are the ones who don’t get the big cases and never get any of the glory that goes with making a big bust and taking down the bad guys. They are, as the title declares, ‘the other guys.’ Eva Mendes co-stars as Ferrell’s ‘plain Jane’ wife (it’s a running joke in the film, not my description of Mendes) and Michael Keaton, no stranger to playing a cop, is the police captain Ferrell and Wahlberg report to.

Co-written and directed by Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers), The Other Guys is a sort of buddy cop movie with surprising cameos and full of improvised lines (as you’d expect from the McKay/Ferrell team). Together for a press conference in LA to discuss the Columbia Pictures film, the cast and McKay provided some insight into life on the set of The Other Guys.

Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton and Adam McKay The Other Guys Press Conference

How did the main four of you get together?

Mark Wahlberg: “Marijuana.”

Adam McKay: “We all like to smoke out. We like to burn it down on a pretty weekly basis. We all meet, Michael Keaton has a van, a conversion van.”

Will Ferrell: “A converted van with captain’s chairs.”

Adam McKay: “We would meet with Michael. I’m sorry, this is the answer, I don’t know what you’re looking for but this is how it happened, and just burnin’ rope like six clouds of smoke.”

Michael Keaton: “In a cul de sac.”

Adam McKay: “I’m sorry, no, no, no. Will and I, that’s obvious.”

Will Ferrell: “Adam and I had talked about for years the idea of working with Mark in a comedy, and that we found him not only to be such a good actor but really funny at times in some of the roles that he’s done.”

Eva Mendes: “Okay, how did I come up?”

Will Ferrell: “And then, so anyway, that was kind of the basic. We all sat down, had a dinner and thought about, ‘Would you ever want to do a movie with us?’ Mark was like, ‘Great,’ and we talked about doing this. And Adam came up with this idea of these guys who are literally the other guys on a force that no one cares about, that no one wants to listen to and kind of have their chance to step forward and prove that they can actually do something.”

Eva Mendes: “Mark, were you in right away?”

Mark Wahlberg: “Yeah, I didn’t even want to read the script. I didn’t care but they said, ‘Would you be interested in doing a movie?,’ and I said yeah and they said, ‘Well, do you want to hear the idea first?’ I said, ‘If you want to tell me. If not, we can just order dinner and drink some more wine.’ Literally, I have always wanted to do a comedy and to get an opportunity to work with these guys was just a dream come true.”

Adam McKay: “The rest of the casting as far as how this group came together was literally one of those cases of who would be our dream person for this role. Eva Mendes should play and then we said, ‘Well, would Eva be interested?’ She’s like yeah, she’d be interested and we met her for lunch and we’re like, ‘Oh my god, she’s cool as hell, gets the joke.’ Then for the captain, it was literally like, ‘Oh my god, if we could get like a Michael Keaton type.’ All of a sudden there was like, ‘Well, he might do it?’ We’re like no, no, no. Same thing for Dwayne [Johnson] and Sam [Jackson]. It was one of those weird movies where we always kind of have ideas for who we’re thinking of but never does it happen. This is kind of the first time it happened.”

Michael, did you want to read the script?

Michael Keaton: “I read the script 77 times. No, I always read. I get not annoying, but a tad thorough so I would have probably more conversations than were really necessary. Because I really wanted to do it but I’m a question asker so I said, ‘Yeah, okay, let’s do it but I have certain things lined up to see if I even know what we’re going to do.'”

Eva Mendes: “Like your trailer?”

Michael Keaton: “Yeah, so it was really fundamental stuff. ‘How about this? How do you want to play that?’ Then I was in.”

What was the trickiest action sequence to set up?

Adam McKay: “Well, you use a mixture of second unit and then we shot a lot first unit, so as far as the opening chase was pretty crazy. There was a lot of things in that, so we storyboarded that over and over again. The one that was the most fun and tricky was the conference room shootout because first unit shot that. That was another one we had to storyboard. We had to go through dry runs like six, seven times because once you shot that setup it was done. That was the most expensive set we had in the movie. We recreated that whole Gehry building conference room. So that was both the most fun and at the same time the trickiest.”

How about crashing the car?

Adam McKay: “That was insane. We had to shoot that twice. We didn’t hit him on the first one. We had to shoot it again.”

The movie talks a lot about partners and having each other’s back. Is it the same in comedy?

Will Ferrell: “No! I feel like it’s more fun to be really cutthroat on a set and not look out for each other. That provides a certain tension and it makes for a horrible work environment, but boy does it pop on screen.”

Adam McKay: “Will actually insists in having a guy on set who counts lines so there’s a constant line count sort of rotating through the production.”

Do the other actors want to comment on that?

Eva Mendes: “Yeah. I had the least amount of lines. I lost that one.”

Michael Keaton: “It’s a miserable experience but when you look at it on screen, you know that the guy has an approach and it works.”

Adam McKay: “Everyone is sort of in their own little area counting lines and no one talks when film’s not rolling. There’s constantly actors coming to me back behind the monitor screaming at me, ‘Why did my line count drop?’ It’s a nasty, tense environment.”

Will Ferrell: “Studios love it because we don’t serve food. There’s no craft services. There’s no creature comfort that most actors…”

Adam McKay: “There’s no set medic.”

Will Ferrell: “There’s no insurance.”

Mark, what was your experience like on this film?

Mark Wahlberg: “I had a lot of fun making this movie. I certainly felt very comfortable when it came to anything cop-ish or action. With all the other stuff I just basically wanted to follow their lead.”

Adam McKay: “It was funny because Will and I would be shooting a big giant action scene and we were like, ‘Wow, look at this – we’re breaking a window!,’ and Mark would come over almost yawning going, ‘Yeah, yeah we did this one time but only I was being shot out of a cannon and I was on fire.’ You know what Mark? Let us have our fun. Please!”

Was the choice of the Prius intentional for environmental awareness? Also Will can you talk about the scene where you’re singing in the bar?

Will Ferrell: “I think the choice of the Prius was more a very sensible car and it was a very Allen Gamble type vehicle. I think in the earlier drafts of the script, Mark’s character drove a Dodge Challenger or something like that – a total muscle car. It was a nice contrast to what I drove.”

“As Adam was working on the script, you could just say text me any random ideas you have and one of them was what if Terry and Allen were at an Irish bar and in the scene where information has to be given out it’s weekly folk singing night and one of the things Allen loved to do was sing Irish songs at a bar. I sent it to Adam and he wrote back, ‘Going into the script.'”

Eva Mendes and Will Ferrell in The Other Guys

Eva Mendes and Will Ferrell in ‘The Other Guys.’

© Columbia Pictures

Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton and Adam McKay The Other Guys Press Conference

Mark, can you talk about your character’s transition from wanting to be a detective to being happy as a traffic cop?

Mark Wahlberg: “I basically just did whatever they told me. I learned the lines then I showed up. I’d say the lines and if they wanted me to try anything else, I’d certainly be willing to try anything.”

Michael Keaton: “Let me say this. Everybody, this guy was ridiculously funny.”

Mark Wahlberg: “I’m killing it right now.”

Michael Keaton: “See what I mean? He does voices and impressions. I was knocked out. When you look at him sometimes you think he’s nice enough, but he looks like he’s going to kick my ass and that doesn’t make you feel very comfortable.”

Adam McKay: He’s got great instincts of the character and when he starts pulling it toward the comedy, it’s just a pleasure to watch.”

Mark, was that you dancing or was it a double?

Mark Wahlberg: “I thought it’d be easier than it was. I trained with a guy for a while and then when it came down to it, I just couldn’t do it.”

Adam McKay: “That’s not true. You’re being a little hard on yourself. He actually did learn all the steps and had them pretty nice. It’s just the jumps and the spins – unless you’re a world class athlete it’s impossible to do.”

Will Ferrell: “Not really!”

Mark, did you have any input on shooting the Derek Jeter scene?

Mark Wahlberg: “No, but I was simply thrilled. I felt bad after because he’s such a nice guy. We’re going to screen the movie in Boston on the 3rd and I can not wait. I just became a legend in Boston.”

Will Ferrell: “I need to make sure to send out a shipment of Laker hats before the screening.”

Mark Wahlberg: “That probably won’t go over too well.”

There was a lot of pop cultural references in the movie. Was that in the script?

Adam McKay: “A lot of people don’t know this, but you walk into Keaton’s trailer and it’s like VH1 Classics. VH1 was always on like Top One Hit Wonders.”

Is there an R rated version of this film somewhere?

Adam McKay: “We had a five minute scene with Dirty Mike saying all the things he’s going to do in the Prius with these guys and trying to convince these guys to let him do it. It’s not going to be as creepy as you think. Just a bunch of transients having a good time. We showed it at our friends and family screening, but they all know us so they roared with laughter. Then we showed it at a regular screening just with recruited people and you’d never heard a joke bomb like that in your entire life. People were horrified. My wife was kind of mad at me. That’s on the DVD. There’s some raunchy extras.”

Clearly the moral of the story is to stay true to yourself and embrace your inner pimp. Have any tips on keeping the pimp happy?

Will Ferrell: “Wahlberg.”

Mark Wahlberg: “Thank you! Thank you very much. I really had a good time being here. I’m a parent and I’m going to watch what I say. I get into enough trouble. Will.”

Will Ferrell: “The pimp hand is a tricky thing to keep strong. You have to keep ice cold but at the same time keep an inner warmth or otherwise people are going to run away from you so it’s a balance. But, you can’t let your bitches get away with stuff. I mean what’s the point of being a pimp? And that’s business. That’s not sadism or anger. That’s business. It’s one of those questions that can never fully be answered. You can write a book on that question.”

What was your favorite scene to film?

Adam McKay: “Mark, do you want to talk about beating the crap out of Rob Riggle for three straight hours? Rob Riggle by the way, a Marine, Special Forces Marine who was in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and this guy…”

Mark Wahlberg: “I choked the sh-t out of that big motherf–ker. I choked the sh-t out of Will too. It didn’t end up in the movie.”

Will Ferrell: “He’s not kidding. No, those four guys had to wrestle for I don’t know how many takes just to get that nice little two minutes of film. Favorite scenes? I’m going to have to say definitely Eva and Mark and I at the dinner table for the first time discussing our relationship.”

Mark Wahlberg: “I like that one too.”

Will Ferrell: “Especially just the combination of Eva’s earnestness and Mark’s just general dumbfounded reaction to the fact that all of this could be possible. Then my character’s nonchalance about it as well. That was a scene that we could have filmed all day long.”

Was it written that way?

Mark Wahlberg: “Well, I certainly didn’t see any other way to play it. I think at one point he was like, ‘Well, maybe we should engage a little bit more.’ I was like, ‘I don’t think so.'”

Will Ferrell: “The prior scene where we’re going over the information in the living room and Eva first walks in, that’s a genuine reaction from Mark when he’s laughing going, ‘Seriously, who is that?’ That’s not acting.”

Mark, is The Fighter done?

Mark Wahlberg: “Yeah, it comes out December 10th.”

Did that help in the beating up Rob Riggle scene?

Michael Keaton: “Can I say something? Everybody keeps saying he beat up Rob Riggle. He didn’t necessarily beat up Rob Riggle.”

Mark Wahlberg: “I choke the sh-t out of him.”

Michael Keaton: “No, you didn’t. I had to break up that fight. Riggle held his own in that whole fight. I know you’re a badass and all that. And I’ll take you out back and prove it to you right now, motherf-cker.”

Adam McKay: “No, no, too much Michael. Too much, Mike. Too much.”

What’s your favorite cop film?

Eva Mendes:Thief. I’m going to go with Michael Mann’s Thief, absolutely.”

Will Ferrell:Turner and Hooch.”

Adam McKay: “What’s the one with Jay Leno and Pat Morita? That’s a real movie. Collision Course would be mine. That is a real movie, I’m not kidding.”

Mark Wahlberg: “Probably French Connection or Serpico.”

Michael Keaton: “Those two, I was going to say Serpico but there’s a little, it’s not really a cop movie per se, but there’s a little film with Dustin Hoffman years ago called Straight Time.”

Adam McKay: “Oh, I love that movie. Oh my God.”

Michael Keaton: “It’s a really underrated performance. There’s a scene where he looks at this gun and he’s got to stay straight. It is awesome what he does in it looking at that gun knowing what he’s thinking about. It’s really great.”

Eva Mendes: “I have to say, and I’ll probably sound like a total ass right now but Mark’s movie we did, We Own the Night, I love that movie.”

Mark Wahlberg: “That was a good movie. You were really good in that. I almost played the part Joaquin [Phoenix] played. I f–ked up that one.”

Eva Mendes: “We’ll find ourselves a movie.”

Adam McKay:Homicide by David Mamet is another good one. That’s a great one, yeah, yeah.”

Michael Keaton:One Good Cop is good.”

Adam McKay: “Really good.”

Michael Keaton: “Hey man, cops love that movie.”

Eva, are you more comfortable at either drama, action or comedy?

Eva Mendes: “I think it’s really about who you work with for me. I feel like I’ve never had more fun than I have on this set and I’m not just saying that. Anchorman is like, I call McKay, McKay is like my Scorsese and that would make Anchorman, my what?”

Mark Wahlberg:Raging Bull.”

Eva Mendes:Raging Bull? Okay. I’m going to go with that.”

Will Ferrell: “Your Last Waltz.”

Adam McKay: “Your Bringing Out the Dead.”

Eva Mendes: “No. So I definitely had so much fun here and I felt really just at home, but at the same time I mentioned We Own the Night earlier and I had a different kind of fun but equally as creatively stimulating. So it’s just about the people you work with, I think for me anyway.”

Rob Riggle, Damon Wayans Jr and Michael Keaton in The Other Guys

Rob Riggle, Damon Wayans Jr and Michael Keaton in ‘The Other Guys.’

© Columbia Pictures

Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton and Adam McKay The Other Guys Press Conference

Will, growing up or when you became an actor, did you always want to play a cop? Was doing the comedy version the way for you to do it?

Will Ferrell: “No, I can’t say – – I mean, I did as a kid, I’d walk around with a pair of nunchucks on my side, which is not really law enforcement related. I guess like a martial arts thing.”

Michael Keaton: “Well, you had incarcerated your mom there.”

Will Ferrell: “I built a jail in my closet and I would incarcerate my family from time to time.”

Adam McKay: “Can I ask you about the nunchucks situation? When you had the nunchucks though, were your vaguely thinking, ‘I’m on the side of good. I’m out here for justice?'”

Will Ferrell: “I guess it was. I guess it was like a vigilante justice, like a guardian angel type thing.”

Eva Mendes: “How old were you?”

Will Ferrell: “I was six years old. Six to nine, those three years.”

Adam McKay: “Were they homemade nunchucks or actual nunchucks?”

Will Ferrell: “They were rolling pins. Nunchucks made out of rolling pins.”

Adam McKay: “Wow, that just ruined the whole story.”

Michael Keaton: “Is that for real?”

Will Ferrell: “No.”

Were you inspired by John Woo for the gunfight scenes?

Adam McKay: “Oh yeah, well I think you can’t do any action without in some way paying homage to John Woo. He’s the guy who just invented that sort of next level of poetic nasty action. So yeah, the second we went slow motion, our DP actually shot a couple John Woo movies and my script supervisor worked on it, so we actually were talking about John Woo. The great thing he always does, too, is I love when he plays the beautiful song to counter the nasty action. We could have done that for the whole movie. We did it with ‘Monday Monday’ in the end but I never got tired of it. So yeah, John Woo’s around any action scene being shot.”

Will and Mark, will you let your kids watch this movie? Do they like watching you play awesome action heroes?

Will Ferrell: “You know, my six year old is just starting to figure out what it is I [do]. Like he just this summer leaned over to me and was like, ‘By the way, dad. I know what you do. I know you’re in movies, just so you know.’ But he still doesn’t really know. This movie’s probably still a little too old for him probably.”

Has he seen Elf?

Will Ferrell: “No, no.”

Eva Mendes: “That’s mean.”

Will Ferrell: “I think he saw it when he was like two or three years old and he started crying when I had to float away on the iceberg. And I said, ‘You keep watching it. You quit crying. This is about Christmas. This is about joy so shut up.'”

Mark Wahlberg: “I never let my kids see anything I do.”

Do they know what you do?

Mark Wahlberg: “Oh yeah.”

You have a lot of Upright Citizens Brigade talent in the film. Is there any difference directing those guys?

Mark Wahlberg: “Are those all those f–kin’ comedy guys that would show up every day? F–kin’ oh my god.”

Adam McKay: “The funniest thing was Mark would do these scenes and Mark’s not familiar with that crazy UCB scene and all these guys who literally what they do for a living is improvise every single day of their life. So a waiter, all the line was was, ‘Here’s your coffee, sir.’ And of course I tell all the guys, ‘Show up with extra improvised bits.’ They would just be going after Mark every scene. Mark would just come over to me and go, ‘It’s another one of those improv guys, isn’t it?'”

Mark Wahlberg: “You don’t understand, literally every f–king scene, some guy wants to fight me. I looked at Will and go, ‘How many comedians are there in this f–king movie?’ It’s like you and Sandler and a couple of other guys. Sh-t.”

Was there ever a joke that one of the henchmen looked like Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction?

Adam McKay: “You know, that actually came out of a joke that got cut out of the movie which is we had them give a sketch artist description of that guy. The joke was supposed to be that when they described him, it looked really racist. He had a giant afro and a bone in his nose. So the sketch artist was African American was like, ‘F–k both of you. This is offensive.’ It actually was offensive so we cut that joke and we were left with this kind of odd looking henchman. So we actually digitally removed the nose, yeah.”

Can you talk about where the idea for the opening scene came from?

Adam McKay: “You might want to address Mark. It was his idea. Mark shot that actually. It was one of the times where our D.P. said he couldn’t handle it and he said, ‘I can.’ That was actually shot in pre-production. We were just supposed to do stills of these guys drinking at the bar off a digital camera. As we approached it we were like, ‘That’s kind of boring. I’ve seen that before.’ We had seen that video of one of the clowns fighting the police that was circulating on the internet for a while and Oliver – our D.P. – and I just loved that. We said, ‘Why don’t we take a crack at the low budget version of it?’ We just sort of did it by the seat of our pants. We had no idea if it would work. I think that was all put together in five days that whole thing, which was crazy. Then that song covered up a lot of our mistakes.”

Mark, can you talk about the Entourage movie?

Mark Wahlberg: “We hope to do one but we still have another season and a half to go so they could certainly mess it up before we get the opportunity to do the movie. We’ll see what happens.”

Eva, are you playing Maria Callas in Greek Fire?

Eva Mendes: “Actually, Julian Fellowes is writing the script write now for me based on Nick Gage’s Greek Fire. It wouldn’t focus on any of her actual performances and her singing. It would focus on her relationship with Aristotle Onassis which I’ve become very obsessed with. It’s a very interesting kind of tragic Greek tragedy within itself. So it wouldn’t focus on the singing.”

So it’s when she was already thin?

Eva Mendes: “Yes, it’s when she became Callas. So yes.”

Mark Wahlberg: “Do the weight thing. You’ll win an Oscar.”

Eva Mendes: “Done, got it.”

Do you try to peel away the layers of diva and find the person?

Eva Mendes: “Well, it has nothing to do with her becoming Callas. It’s already her being Callas, meeting a man who she gave everything up for which was her dream. But what she didn’t realize was when she gave everything up for this man, he left her because that’s exactly what he wanted, the everything. So it’s a really beautiful tragedy.”


August 6, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. even mendes is a bit old now but she is still smokin hot and i wanna marry her ..”

    Comment by L-Methionine | December 1, 2010 | Reply

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