Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
On Saturday Night Live, Will Ferrell switched between characters every few minutes. In movies, he’s changed his persona for each film, never allowing himself to settle into a safe persona. In Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, he plays a NASCAR driver who goes from extreme cockiness to paralyzed fear and back over the course of the film. It is a far cry from Buddy the elf or Ron Burgundy.
Will Ferrell Talks Ricky Bobby
“Buddy’s kind of the eternal optimist, kind of sees the joy and the wonder of the world in the most mundane kind of thing that we take for granted,” Ferrell said. “Ron Burgundy for some reason thinks he knows a lot and he’s a very poor journalist but he somehow survives. But he’s got a heart of gold. He’s a sweetheart. Ricky’s a bit of an A-hole but kind of learns from his ways through his kind of downfall.”
Given Ferrell’s involvement with developing his own scripts, it has not been too difficult for him to distinguish each character. “So far it hasn’t been. I’ve just been able to kind of find it but I do often think, ‘Am I just going to run out of ideas?’ So far that’s kind of a challenge and I’m glad you feel that way because I sometimes wonder if I’m making them different enough.”
If he’s gone this long without repeating himself, Ferrell is likely to last. He’s been making people laugh since grade school. “I probably had the first real kind of idea in high school when I would write these little skits for assemblies and a couple friends who’d perform in front of the whole school. Then we got asked to do things for assemblies and I thought, ‘Oh, okay.’ But I think the first moment, I wrote a play in fourth grade, this was a play called Beat the Clock. It was a game show and it was a comedy. The joke was I had a pillow, I was supposed to be a fat person. I had a pillow and I had to go through this obstacle course. I came out, went through the tube, and I came out and got stuck and I had lost my pillow and was skinny. And the whole fourth grade class thought it was so funny, I was like, ‘Wow, maybe I’m funny.’”
Part of the skill is pacing oneself. Ferrell is not constantly “on” at home. “I think you kind of have to shut it down just for the time that you need to be funny but I have fun at home just goofing around. I’m trying to make my son laugh these days, but it’s tough. He’s hard.”
You may also notice a difference between films like Talladega and Anchorman, which Ferrell and his team developed from scratch, and roles in films like Elf and Old School. “It's kind of what you would expect in the sense that you're creating it from the beginning and every step of the way and have obviously worked on the character from the ground up and the other characters and that sort of thing. In terms of like Elf and Old School where you're more offered the part, it's just apples and oranges. It's a different process in terms of people still want you to inject your influence in the project that you haven't written and I'm constantly being offered to rewrite things and that sort of thing. So it's just two different processes.”
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby will be released to theatres this Friday, August 4th.
For the trailers, posters, early reviews, movie stills and movie info, go to the Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby Movie Page.
Stay tuned for updates.