When Will Ferrell and Adam McKay team up, it's a pretty safe bet that there'll be a big fat pot of comedy gold at the end of that rainbow. The duo has given movie fans such beloved hits as "Anchorman," "Talladega Nights," "Step Brothers" and this summer's buddy-cop hit "The Other Guys," as well as the game-changing comedy website FunnyOrDie.com, which propelled McKay's young daughter Pearl to stardom with a little viral video sensation called "The Landlord."
With "The Other Guys" DVD and Blu-Ray in stores now, MTV chatted with writer-director McKay about a potential sequel to the film, how he wooed Mark Wahlberg to do a comedy, and why it might be a long time before we see Pearl demand the rent from Will Ferrell.
MTV: You've worked with Will a ton of times. How'd you settle on Mark Wahlberg to play his partner for "The Other Guys"?
Adam McKay: We just came to him strictly as fans. He just made us laugh in a lot of movies that aren't necessarily considered comedies but have tons of funny stuff in them -- like "Boogie Nights" and "The Departed" and "I Heart Huckabees" especially. I just thought he was really funny in that. So we kept kind of saying, "God, that guy's good every time I see him." And then we did a bit at the Oscars where we did a song called "Comedian at the Oscars," and it was Jack Black and Will and John C. Reilly. And they kind of sang out a line saying something like, "I'm gonna fight you Mark Wahlberg." And then Will was like, "Not really. You really are a tough guy." And Wahlberg was playful with it and kind of interacted with it in a cool way. And then we heard from his agent like, "Hey, he's a fan of yours." And we kind of got a little bit of it churned up off of that. So a combination of fans and that sort of random encounter led to us having dinner with him, and we hit it off right away.
MTV: The movie had a pretty big opening weekend, but I know those situations can be stressful. Do you have any kind of opening-weekend ritual?
Adam McKay: We go right at it. I kind of compare it to when I turned 40. There's two ways to celebrate turning 40. One is to have a quiet dinner with friends and pretend it's not happening. For my 40th birthday, we just had a giant party and invited hundreds of people. And we kind of do the same thing for the opening weekend. It's like, screw it. It's painful, it's nerve-racking, there's no way around it. Let's just embrace it. So we actually rented a bus this last time and had about 10 friends on the bus, and drove from theater to theater drinking Japanese beer and being idiots. I mean, that was kind of it. And then you constantly get texts and emails updating you on the box office. And usually by 8:30 or 9:00 Friday night, you kind of know basically what it's going to be. And you can relax if it's gone well or go home and be depressed if it hasn't.
MTV: Have you gone back and watched the movie since it's come out? And can you watch it with an objective eye, or do you constantly think, "Man, I should have done this differently"?
Adam McKay: I take a break after it finally comes out because you watch it, obviously, thousands of times editing it. And then you do screenings and then you premiere the movie, then you have your opening night, which I end up seeing chunks of it. And then after that it's like, I don't know if I need to see this again for like another year. So I try and forget about it at that point. But then hopefully like a year-and-a-half or two years later, I'll be flipping through the channels, and it'll be on TV. And then it's like a pleasant surprise. The only one I kind of broke that rule with was "Step Brothers." Some scenes in there we just love so much that occasionally we just -- this is pathetic, I have to admit -- we do go on YouTube and pull up like Adam Scott and his family singing in the car. Or there's a couple scenes in there -- I don't know why, but that one I will go back and aggressively look at. But the rest I just try to run away from them, and then later I can look at them objectively.
MTV: You, Will and Mark have talked about a potential sequel to "The Other Guys" -- is that something you're still thinking about?
Adam McKay: It has been kicked around. You know, Will and I both feel the same: Box office is one thing for these comedies, but you really see that the best gauge is how they play on DVD and TV and downloads and all that. So you don't really know until a year or year-and-a-half after it comes out. "Step Brothers" had a pretty decent box office run. I mean, it made money and did really well, but it was until like four months after it came out that it really started catching. "Anchorman" was the same way. You find the fan base like a year later. So if "Other Guys" ages well at all, we'd love to do a sequel. So we shall see.
MTV: Any plans for your daughters Lily and Pearl to do some more acting, maybe do a little something on FunnyOrDie?
Adam McKay: Pearl is taking a little hiatus now. She's actually quite into the violin now. She's been taking lessons and, I've got to say, is getting pretty damn good. She's only 5, and she can play like five or six songs with a pretty clean tone. So she's way into that. And my older daughter Lily Rose, who was in "Anchorman" and has done some videos and then was in "Step Brothers, she's actually quite a good actress. She's very real, very grounded with it and really loves it. So she'll probably do some more stuff. And then I'll wait until Pearl gets old enough to request acting the next time. We never planned for that "Landlord" thing to be so big, so we're kind of stepping back from that a bit. But both of them take theater and dance classes, sing and all that. They're plenty busy.