Will Ferrell talks Everything Must Go
By Anne Brodie May 20, 2011, 13:13 GMT
A relapsed alcoholic loses his job and gets locked out of the house by his wife. She leaves his belongings on the front lawn, and he spends the next four days trying to sell his possessions. ...more
Will Ferrell explores dramatic territory in Dan Rush’ Everything Must Go. He’s one of the funniest actors on the planet and his website Funnyordie is solid proof, but he isn’t a stranger to down and dark.
Ferrell starred with Emma Thompson in Stranger Than Fiction as a depressed man driven crazy by the narration that accompanies his every waking moment. Nick Halsey is a different animal in Everything Must Go. He’s an alcoholic who has lost his job, his wife and his dignity.
He’s living on his front yard with his belongings in heaps around him. Passers-by mock him and the police are on him and his only human contact is an equally lonely teenager. He lives in hell, in isolation and pain.
Monsters and Critics spoke with Ferrell in Toronto.
M&C: How did you approach playing Nick, this sad man?
Ferrell: I always view that there is hope for him, even though it is ambiguous. That’s what I really loved about the script and the movie is that it wasn’t wrapped up in a neat tidy bow which is very much how life is, kind of gray.
We don’t know what’s going to happen to this guy, but I always viewed that he’s gained a little bit of confidence and that he can kind of go out on his own and make decisions that are best for him.
M&C: Also Nick is drunk 99% of the time.
Ferrell: We discussed how it was to be played and how was I going to play drunk was another thing to because that is a slippery slope. You can come across as too much. What is too much? What is not enough?
So we really never wanted that to feel forced. So we wanted to err on the side of not ever having it be too big.
M&C: It seems that this film is a product of the times. Like so many others, Nick is jobless and hopeless.
Ferrell: That’s kind of funny. Maybe it’s good it took us two years to make it. It’s kind of serendipity in a way, in a sad way, but we’ve heard that from a lot of people who have seen the movie is that it feels right, for what everyone’s going through right now.
Not to go too deep, but I watch the movie and say “It’s a real statement on consumerism”. We’re conditioned to think that we need all this stuff.
M&C: Is that the core of the film?
Ferrell: I was just watching the news just a few days before we flew out here and they were saying Americans are saving more than they ever have. They’re savings are back up because everyone was so criticized for not cutting up their credit cards and having horrible debt, and savings have shot up which is supposed to be a good thing, but consumer spend it down.
And they’re saying “What are we going to do to get consumer spending back up?” and I wonder when the awful cycle is going to end? So maybe that’s what the movie is about.
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