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Will Ferrell Talks About Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

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Will Ferrell Talks About Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

© Sony Pictures
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The Target Audience for Talledega Nights: Is this movie aimed at NASCAR fans or those who don’t care about the sport? Ferrell said, “Well, when we went into it courting NASCAR and, seeing their interest level, what we were hoping to do was obviously make a sports comedy, which the sport that's involved has to have some awareness that we're having fun with what they do and that sort of thing. At the same time we made it clear to them that we wanted to make the racing look clear, real and intense. We wanted the footage to be as if it was from a serious racing movie, so we feel like we sort of split the difference.

In early screenings of the film with friends and colleagues who were writers and other comedians, most of them having no knowledge of the sport, their reaction was like, 'Wow. You really make the sport look really cool.' So we were just trying to split the difference, but it wasn't about making a film of fans in overalls in the stands and that sort of thing.

If you go to these races, you see a wide range of types of fans, and actually I don't know if we ever really met a driver who is like Ricky Bobby. I mean, he is a throwback because the guys that you meet now are real polite and nice. They have so much responsibility that they kind of can't race the way that Ricky likes to race. The ultimate goal was to have a fun movie for people who didn't know anything about racing and then also to have a little fun and pay homage to the race fans who enjoy the sport.”

The Kids of Talladega Nights: Ferrell shares the screen with two young newcomers – Houston Tumlin and Grayson Russell – who play his sons, Walker and Texas Ranger. According to Ferrell, working with the kids was a great experience. “I loved them. They were great, and that was another goal that we had. Adam [McKay] and I really kind of have a thing about kids in comedies. We wanted them to play it really real and not precocious.

[McKay] flew to Alabama. We were like, 'Lets get real Southern kids.' These two guys were just the nicest kids and great friends, and had never been in a movie before. It was just an open call in the South in Birmingham, and I think in Charlotte as well.”

Ferrell continued, “We found Grayson first. He was fantastic and then Houston we found second, but they really worked well together. They were the most conscientious actors on the set. They knew their stuff. They were like, 'Yes, sir. Adam, sir, would you like me to show you that again?' They were so sweet and I think that they have become rock stars at their elementary school, which is fun. But I loved the fact that they're just these characters that you can cut to at any moment. It's something that makes us laugh about writing lines for kids who should not be saying those words.”

An Update on Blades of Glory with Jon Heder: One of Ferrell’s upcoming films is Blades of Glory, which teams him up with Napoleon Dynamite star Jon Heder. Ferrell says the movie’s coming along. “I've had so many starts and stops with it and August will be when we're doing all of the ice-skating finally. I can go forward pretty well. Backwards, crossovers…not so good.”

Ferrell added, “Jon Heder broke his ankle a month before we started filming so there was this big talk about whether we would still do the movie or do we not. Then this whole thing was worked out where it was a relatively minor break and then if we did all the non-skating stuff, it would slowly heal. Then he had another movie commitment that he had to keep which he's filming right now, and then when he's done with that we start again in August. But he's doing great. He's back on skates.”

Blades of Glory features the two as a figure skaters who have to team up after getting booted out of singles competition. “We are the top men's figure skaters,” explained Ferrell. “We're arch enemies and we get kicked out of the sport for fighting on the medal stand. You cut to us three years down the road and we're both just pathetic without the skating. We're convinced that there's a loophole that we can compete again if we compete as the first men's pair team.”

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