Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart on Get Hard

Kevin Hart Will FerrellWill: So yeah Kevin was difficult to work with.

Kevin: You son of a bitch.

You each have your own individual comedy styles but you’re also very good in comedy duos. How easy is it to find a groove in a new partnership?

Will: Well I think, I think it’s easy for Kevin and I because we appreciate the ensemble.

Kevin: That’s pretty good. You nailed that.

Will: No we talked about this yesterday. As much as we enjoy making people laugh we love to laugh ourselves, the first time we kind of met it was a really good goal to make the other guy laugh.

So there really isn’t a competition as to who’s getting more of the funny lines. There was never a day on set where we’re like ‘Kevin was so much funnier today than I was’. It was just about ‘that’s going to be a great scene regardless of who is more of the straight man or not’. So when you have that going in it’s just about the betterment of the project and then it’s easy be strong together as a duo.

Kevin: It’s seamless and I really think that your star has to set the tone and that’s what Will did, you know. Will is the star of Get Hard, I’m his co-star in this film. You know, it wasn’t a thing where he said ‘I’m better than you Kevin, you stay over here and I’ll stay over here’.

We bonded from day one and it was a thing of ‘let’s make a great movie together, let’s make sure we help each other, let’s set each other up, let’s make sure that we both have our good moments but we understand the comedy levels’. That’s what’s important to the partnership.

Will: To that having been said, I did have Kevin’s trailer downsized at one point, it’s a third of the size of my trailer.

Kevin: And he came into my trailer and said, what is this?

Will: I felt terrible about that. We put him in a porta-potty. And then I felt terrible and we switched it back.

Did anything surprise you about each other?

Will: Anyone who watches Kevin’s material, they’re obviously used to his energy and a lot of the comedy comes from that. I think I’m surprised that Kevin’s a really good listener in scenes and a good actor as well.

We al both approach it not so much that we’re writing jokes, we’re just coming up with lines that happen to be funny because we’re playing it real within the context of the scene. I don’t know if I’m surprised by that but that was, but that was something I noticed about Kevin.

Kevin: I liked approach to work. It’s not the guy that gets a big cheque and comes and just says ‘alright, what am I doing?’ It’s the guy that understands the scenes. Before we started he actually went through what works, what doesn’t work and it wasn’t a time-consuming challenge where I thought ‘God, this is making me sick’. I like to see a person really take their craft serious and not take it for granted. So when I see Will, I laugh at him and I tease him about certain, certain practical things but he just refuses to let go.

Will: I had my notebook.

Kevin: Yes, he had his binder. He’s got lots of notes. For a guy that’s coming up I love to see that because I learn from that. So I don’t want to think I’m the only one that’s over here trying to bust my arse to get some place. I want to see the guys that got to that place that are still doing it. So I won’t say that I was shocked by it, I will just say it was refreshing and it just made me gain just that much more respect for a guy I already respected.

Did he inspire you to get your own binder?

Kevin: I’ll lose it, I wouldn’t take care of it.

Will: I’m going to get you another binder.

Kevin: Here’s what Will is. The one big culture stereotype is when a black guy gets money you can tell. You can see it – ‘oh, my God, Kevin’s doing a lot better right now. Look at his pants. He’s got leather pants with a diamond belt’.

Will might have worn a free t-shirt every day of the week but he doesn’t give a shit. And I love that about him. All he cares about is his family, his kids and the work.

Will: I mean I give enough of a shit, I showed up today.

Any buddy movie touchstones for you guys, maybe Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor’s dynamic?

Will: Oh yeah, that’s a big influence. 48 Hours, movies like that. It’s not like we sat down and said, ‘let’s make this, don’t fuck this up’.

Well, actually I said that a lot.

Kevin: You did, you told me that, not to mess this up.

Will: Yeah. Everyone thinks I’m really nice, but don’t fuck this up.

Kevin: But no. You can’t, you can’t do what those guys have done over again. The only thing we can do is…

Will: Just be ourselves.

Kevin: That’s it. And every generation makes a great movie and hopefully people watching it go ‘oh my God, that’s a great pairing for this time, for this decade, for this age’. You don’t go into something saying ‘it’s time for us to take over’. We got lucky enough to put this pairing together at the right time where both of us have an audience and a fan base right now and those two fan bases get to come together. Hopefully I gain new fans and hopefully Will gains new fans.

The broad concept for this film is amazing, what we can do and how our international appeal can just grow and grow.

Did you spend any time with prisoners for research?

Will: I’ve been incarcerated many times. Mostly for bike tickets. And I robbed one bank.

Kevin: Just one?

Will: One bank. That got nasty.

Because you were on a bike at the time, that was the problem?

Will: Yeah, that’s right, that’s why. No, we shot in a jail one day, I think it was just me.

Kevin: It was just you.

Will: It was just me, and you just realise it’s a horrible environment, which is the premise for this movie. What would an upper middle class to upper class person do when thrown into that situation? What goes through your mind as to how you’d survive? You’d either try to flee the country, change your appearance or learn to survive in that world and, which is how we got the idea for this.

Kevin: I went to jail. You’ve never been to jail. I was in jail not once twice.

Will: The closest I’ve been was we snuck into a college basketball game. University of California in Irvine. I don’t know if you guys have heard of Irvine. Rough place. It made me who I am. And we got pulled out of the crowd by campus security. They kept saying ‘We’re real police, just so you know’.

Kevin: I got arrested. Somebody sold my brother a plated car. A plated car is when they basically take all of the stickers off of an original car, buy a car of that same model and put those stickers and serial numbers on them and sell it as a newer car than what it is.

He didn’t have any idea but I was driving the car. It was when I first got my license, I was like 17. Because I was so young looking, I looked like somebody’s kid in a stolen car, like a 12 year old. I don’t think I’ve ever looked more guilty in my life.

I remember the cop just looking at me. He made a u-turn, I’m like sticking my head out the window. He pulled me over and said the car is stolen. I was like ‘no it’s not, it can’t be, it’s my brother’s car’. He took me to jail and I was in jail for about eight hours. I just started doing push-ups. I literally, in the cell I just started doing push-ups. I just did ’em. I just kept doing ’em. This lily white guy in there with me never said anything but I was like ‘just in case, he should know that I can do a lot of push-ups’.

Will: Similar story, I was in jail in the movie Elf.

Kevin: That’s not the same, Will. It acting it’s not the same thing.

Will: Alright. It felt real.

Who’s harder out of the two of you?

Kevin: I think Will has the crazy gene.

Will: No, that’s how I have to survive, just act totally crazy.

Kevin: I don’t think he’d be acting. I think he’d be the guy who doesn’t want to stop fighting, the fight eventually is over at some point and Will would be like ‘you better keep going until somebody dies’.

Will: I think I could convince myself to bite someone’s ear off.

Kevin: I can see it, I can see it.

Will: It’s like a tendon in a chicken bone, just bite through it.

Kevin: I can literally see Will saying some weird shit like ‘I’m gonna take your spine out your arse’. ‘What’d he say? What’d he just say he’s gonna do? No way, slow down Will, come on man.’

Kevin, what your strategy in a fight be?

Kevin: I’m not that guy. I got probably 25 seconds of thug in me and if call my bluff, you win.

You were pretty scary in your scene in 40 Year Old Virgin.

That’s about it though. That’s literally about 20 seconds. After that I’m done.

Is there any overt race commentary in the movie?

Kevin: We are talking and approaching the stereotypes that have been out for so long, we’re taking those two worlds and we’re addressing them in such a clever way to make people laugh at themselves.

I think those that really fit the build of these two characters will have to take a look at themselves and realise, oh my God this is kind of ridiculous to think that way. Until you know and understand the person you shouldn’t judge a person. And in this film you’re looking at two people who judge the other just because of the situation they’re in. It’s not just the colour of their skin, it’s who they are, who they’re around. After picking those pieces apart you go, wow, underneath the shell of a person I thought you were, you’re a good person.

I’m a great talker.

Will: Good Lord, I’m just mesmerised right now. I got lost in your eyes.

Will, what’s your take on that?

I totally disagree with what Kevin just said.

No, it’s the most fun to get to make a movie like this. Obviously the goal first and foremost is just to make people laugh, but at the same time you kind of weave in a little bit of satirical commentary along the way, where your laughing but you’re kind of going ‘that perception is true’. To hopefully accomplish both things would be great.

So if I was going to jail this weekend what would be your three tips?

Kevin: First and foremost, I wouldn’t go into prison looking like a well-kept individual, you got a rough yourself up. Go outside put your face on the pavement and your got to scrape your face back and forth, you gotta rough it up. Cut the middle of your hair off, keep the sides.

Will: Represent yourself in court.

Kevin: If there’s a way where you can lose one arm, I think would be good. Nobody wants to fight someone in jail that only has one arm.

Should there be tougher treatment for white collar crime, like we see in the movie?

Kevin: White-collar criminals are the best criminals. They think so far outside of the box and until they get caught it’s somewhat genius. I’ve had friends who have attempted to go into the white-collar crime world who were just dumb at it. A friend of mine was trying to do credit card scams and I asked where he was getting these credit cards from? He said ‘at the gas station’. You know, the receipts that come out you print the credit card numbers up on the receipts.

I said ‘what gas stations are you going to?’ He’s going to the gas stations in the middle of the hood. How much money do you think is on these credit cards? They probably got $30, $40 on them. Not everybody can do it.

Will: But there is a frustration. We just come to accept that the common criminal who happened to be selling drugs or something gets put away for 20 years and then the Wall Street person gets like four months and then pay their way out.

They get popped for all this illegal banking and no one is being indicted, they just had to pay a fine that is a drop in the bucket to them. And then they’re allowed to continue to do whatever they want.

Kevin: I think the people still partake in it are partially responsible. I have money. I refuse to do anything with the stock market. Not because I don’t trust it but because I don’t know what’s going on.

Will: Well you’re going to miss out. I’ve got some stock tips today.

Is it a little bit of a revenge fantasy then, seeing the white collar criminal get his comeuppance?

Will: I think a little bit. Once again though it’s still just setting out to make people laugh. At the same time what Kevin was saying, I assume his life is one way, he assumes that my life is certain way. He assumes I’m a crook and a liar. I assume he’s done jail time. We learn that we’re both totally wrong about each other.

Kevin, would you like to do a dramatic role?

Kevin: I’m about to do a remake of Intouchable, the French movie. It wasn’t 100 per cent drama but it has more of a serious side. That’d be the first one where it’s a completely different change for me. But in the business you take risks here and there and mix it up just to say that you’ve touched a lot of things.

Will: Steve Carell, nominated for an Oscar. Michael Keaton, former comedian nominated for an Oscar. Tom Hanks started out in Bosom Buddies.

Any serious dramas coming up for you Will?

Will: I was trying to get Intouchable but I just recently found out in the last 20 seconds that I’m not getting the part.