Will Ferrell is promoting his new comedy, Get Hard. The movie’s trailer reveals this to be yet another “raunchy” Ferrell comedy. He plays a hedge fund manager who gets framed for fraud. Facing a 10-year prison sentence, Ferrell’s desperate character randomly hires Kevin Hart’s character to train him for prison survival. The film’s humor is supposed to be in the pretext — that any guy played by Kevin Hart would be an ex-con (even though he’s not). Ferrell says that this assumption acts as a timely commentary upon society.
Ferrell has some new interviews, including a reader Q&A with the New York Times. One reader asked Will what he thought of the “frat hate” after OU’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon racist fraternity video scandal (and its fallout). It’s an interesting question for this actor. When I close my eyes and think of the words “fraternity brother,” the first person to pop into my mind is Will Ferrell (closely followed by Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller). Ferrell’s the informal leader of the the Frat Pack; he’s played the same fratty persona in several movies. Will was/is a real-life Delta Tau Delta frat boy. He attended the University of Southern California and participated in Greek life. Will says things are different now:
Are fraternities still worth it? “The incident in Oklahoma, that is a real argument for getting rid of the system altogether, in my opinion, even having been through a fraternity. Because when you break it down, it really is about creating cliques and clubs and being exclusionary. Fraternities were started as academic societies that were supposed to have a philanthropic arm to them. And when it’s governed by those kind of rules, then they’re still beneficial. But you gotta be careful. I was lucky in that the one I was in, we were really kind of the anti-fraternity fraternity. We were considered good enough to get the exchanges with the good sororities. We couldn’t get anyone to vote on anything, but if you needed 40 guys to show up and build a 20-foot-tall papier-mache version of the Matterhorn, we were there and ready. But we didn’t take it too seriously. It was just about having fun. But I think it’s an interesting dilemma for universities these days.”
On Get Hard: “Adam McKay had this idea of, what would it be like if you got the news you were going to prison. What would you possibly try to do? And it was Kevin’s name that came up as the perfect guy to put me through my paces. I felt so sensitive to Kevin’s feelings as an African American. ‘Is this line good here?’ And Kevin would be like, ‘Oh, this is fantastic.’ That’s what we’re excited about in this movie, that it’s a vulgar comedy and really goes for it. But at the same time, we’re getting to comment on what’s going on and it could not be more timely for this movie to come out.”
In the NYT interview, Will confirms that Ron Burgundy will always be his favorite character to play. What he says about fraternities makes sense, although boorish, racist behavior isn’t new to Greek life at all. Not every fraternity or sorority acts that way. I don’t think universities are willing to say goodbye to all that alumni money either.
Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet, DreamWorks Pictures & WENN