“Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which, of course, in German means a whale’s vagina.” —Ron Burgundy
Although that may not be a fact, it’s still hard to imagine what the comedy world would be like today without the influence of Will Ferrell. Here are some interesting facts about some of his most iconic movies.
Will Ferrell Films Facts
24. The Legend Begins
The inspiration for Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was a biography on Jessica Savitch that Will Ferrell happened to come across. In the biography, Savitch recounts how one of her co-workers confessed to being a chauvinistic pig during their early years together, and Ron Burgundy was born.
Semi-Pro was the last film New Line Cinema released before the production company was bought out by Warner Brothers. Ferrell also stated that it would be his last sports-related comedy film.
22. Childhood Scars
Ferrell’s character Jackie Moon in Semi-Pro states that he has never once thrown up in his life, not even as an infant. This is a reference to the condition Ferrell suffered from as a baby, pyloric stenosis, which causes frequent vomiting. In fact, Ferrell’s scar on his abdomen, which appears in many of his movies, is from the surgery to reverse this condition.
21. Stuff of Childhood Fantasy
In Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Ferrell plays Marshal Willenholly, which is a reference to the characters Marshall, Will, and Holly in the ’70s television series Land of the Lost. Ferrell would go on to play Marshall in the film version of Land of the Lost.
20. Our Favorite Buddy
The role of Buddy the Elf in Elf was originally supposed to go to Jim Carrey. That’s not too hard to imagine, but it’s safe to say Ferrell is the one and only Buddy in our hearts. 10 years later, Ferrell himself would turn down a $29 million offer to play Buddy in a sequel.
19. It’s a Sugary Life
In Elf, Buddy eats a diet of straight sugar. Ferrell would really eat all of the sugary foodstuffs during shooting, and suffered from massive headaches throughout filming.
18. Elf Harm
During the filming of Elf, Ferrell actually walked through the Lincoln Tunnel in his elf outfit. This led to many minor traffic accidents, as people were distracted and amazed to see a giant elf flopping through one of the busiest traffic areas in the world.
17. Impressive Burp
Buddy’s magnificent burp that lasts 12 seconds was real—kind of. It wasn’t Ferrell himself who supplied the belch, but famous voice actor Maurice LaMarche. LaMarche can also be heard burping opera in Animaniacs, and is notable for his role as “The Brain” in 90s favorite Pinky and the Brain.
16. Mucho Dinero
Ferrell’s highest grossing film to date is 2003’s Christmas comedy Elf. His second highest is The Other Guys, which also stars Mark Wahlberg.
15. That Other Guy
While Ferrell and Wahlberg have great chemistry, director Adam McKay was initially reluctant to cast Wahlberg in The Other Guys, as he was concerned about the Transformers actor’s ability to keep up with improvisations. Boy was he wrong, and he would later admit that Wahlberg put him at ease by gelling with the cast in the very first scene they shot.
14. Talented Guys
I know it may be hard to believe, but in the movie Step Brothers, Ferrell does his own singing, while John C. Reilly does his own drumming.
13. Catalina Isn’t So Great After All
The Catalina Wine Mixer in Step Brothers isn’t actually held on Catalina Island, as director Adam McKay didn’t like it when they scouted the island for location shots. They shot the scenes on the coast instead, and left Catalina Island in the background of the final cut as a gag.
12. Nice Balls
The prosthetic testicles used in Step Brothers for the scene when Brennan tea-bags Dale’s drum set cost the production $20,000, and were given to Ferrell as a present. Ferrell still owns the prosthetic balls, and occasionally drives dinner guests away by breaking them out during parties.
Keeping it all within the Will Ferrell universe, the doctor in Daddy’s Home is named Emilio Francisco, in direct reference to the names Emilio in A Night at the Roxbury and Francisco from Elf.
10. A Different Kind of Movie
While it’s hard to imagine Ferrell doing all those pull-ups, in the original casting of Daddy’s Home, Ferrell was set to play the real father, while Ed Helms was going to play the stepfather.
9. Tattoos Are for Life
In 2013’s The Internship, Will Ferrell’s neck tattoo reads “Make reasonable choices.” Though it is written in Devanagari, it is not translated into Hindi or Sanskrit—it’s just English written in Devanagari form.
8. Google Says
Google permitted The Internship to film at a real Google headquarters for five days, and 100 real employees were used as extras. However, five days is obviously not enough time to film an entire feature film, so most of the scenes were shot at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Google also controlled the way in which their products were depicted throughout the film.
7. Like Father, Like Son
The song “Goodbye Cowboy” in Talladega Nights was written and performed by Lee Ferrell, the father of Will Ferrell.
6. Just Ask
During the brunch scene that takes place at French driver Jean Girard’s house in Talladega Nights, the woman who plays the artist of the painting is the actual artist. After being commissioned to create the painting, she asked if she could play the artist in the film. It just proves that sometimes all you’ve got to do is ask.
5. Come for a Ride
Getting studios on board with the production of Talladega Nights was pretty easy. The producers pitched the film simply as “Six words: Will Ferrell as a NASCAR driver.” That’s all anyone needed to hear.
4. Diva Demands
The 2017 film The House was supposed to have a scene with a cameo from diva songstress Mariah Carey. Carey, however, arrived four hours late to set, refused to shoot the scene she agreed to do, and delayed production because she didn’t want to sing the chosen song. By the end of it all, her cameo was scratched, and she did not appear in the movie.
Though it has gone on to achieve cult status, A Night at the Roxbury was one of Ferrell’s worst received movies. It was panned by critics all around, and earned a Rotten Tomatoes score of only 11%. So not fresh.
2. Whose Language Is it Anyway?
Casa de mi padre has largely flown under the radar, which isn’t much of a surprise: the film is entirely in Spanish. For those of you who thought that was a joke—no, it’s not. Well okay, yes, it’s part of the joke, but the film is seriously entirely in Spanish, with Ferrell committing to his role in the “overly dramatic telenovela,” and even providing several songs in Spanish for the soundtrack. In case you were wondering, no, Ferrell doesn’t speak Spanish. He had to learn all of his lines phonetically.
1. We’re Going Streaking…For Real
To this day Ferrell can still remember the “shrieks of pure horror” that he caused on the set of Old School when he filmed the streaking scene. The planned route had him run past a 24-hour gym, and the patrons of the exercise mecca evidently didn’t respond very well to their unplanned viewing of Ferrell’s physique.