Q&A with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifinakis
The Campaign - Trailer
The Campaign is an upcoming comedy film starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, as two Southerners vying for a seat in Congress.
Last Friday Daily Life writer Georgia Clark went along to the Crosby Hotel in New York to sit down with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifinakis and discuss their new movie The Campaign.
Their responses were - predictably - hilarious.
Q: What was it like working together and was there a lot of improv?
Photos: 'The Campaign' premiere in New York
Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis attend "The Campaign" New York premiere at Landmark's Sunshine Cinema on July 25, 2012 in New York City. Photo: Stephen Lovekin
ZG: There was some improv that we did, just to keep it fresh. Obviously a lot of it was scripted. Working with Will was very, easy for me. He's a very open and giving performer and he has no ego, which is very, very helpful.
WF: I'm ego-less. In fact, I don't have a lot of self-esteem. Zach helped me with that as well. No, no – getting to work in New Orleans and getting to laugh every day on set was one of the most pleasurable experiences, I think for all of us.
Q: How competitive are you guys in real life?
ZG: It can be really tough to be competitive. You have to be helpful on set, and gracious to the other actors. For me, competitiveness doesn't work. Jay [Roach, director] really wanted to bring everyone into the fold and it was a very collaborative process. That's why the movie was such a fun movie to work on. Some movies are not like that. They're much more strict. This movie was not strict.
WF: I'm not trying to sound diplomatic, but I share the same view as Zach. I've never understood why you wouldn't want to entertain the best idea in the room, as opposed to keeping score. At the end of the day, you're all just trying to work for the funniest movie possible. If it's good, then everyone wins.
Q. They say never to work with kids or animals, and you've got snakes, dogs and foul-mouthed kids. What was the most challenging moment for?
ZG: There was a python I had to work with who chose to use me as a --
WF: A toilet.
ZG: A toilet. And then it tried to strangle me. That didn't make the movie.
Q: Will, your character Cam said some nice things about fire-fighters and teachers being the backbone of America, but aren't actors and comedians the backbone of America?
WF: I don't know, are they? It is funny that entertainment has become one of our biggest exports. We don't make a lot of things anymore in America, but we still make big movies and --
ZG: Pretend things.
WF: Pretend things, yeah.
Q: Did you draw inspiration from real-life politicians?
WF: Zach's guy is more of a civilian, and I'm more of the professional politician. So, we borrowed from a bunch of different characters out there. My hair is literally taken from John Edwards. I loved his hair and I wanted that specifically.
ZG: In the last couple years, people have been plucked out of obscurity – like Sarah Palin – and thrust into the limelight, and I think what happens is their ego gets in the way. They start believing their own hype. We can all point our fingers at those people but I bet if someone said to me, 'Hey do you want to be the Vice President?" I'd be like, 'Oh, okay', even though I'm not qualified whatsoever. I think ego gets in the way and I wanted that to be a part of Marty's rise.
WF: We were filming the movie right in the midst of the republican debate, so that was very entertaining to watch.
ZG: One thing that happened while we were filming is that Herman Cain's [former Republican candidate] affair came out and his poll numbers shot up, so we put that in the movie.
Q: Would you ever run for office yourselves?
WF: Zach, you often mentioned wanting to run for Comptroller, right?
ZG: Yeah Comptroller. It's a very sexy position. No, I think politics would be a very hard life, on your family. There are cameras everywhere. You can't get a hooker no more.
WF: Shame. Real shame.
Q: Why do you think modern politics has become so shameless?
ZG: I think it has a lot to do with money. I think people are paying attention to politics because it's now like professional wrestling. The intellect has come out of politics. It's all about the pageantry and the mud slinging. People are attracted to it for the wrong reasons. Even the media, you have the left media and the right media and you just have them yelling at each other. There's no great discourse. You have to turn to public radio in this country to get a calm story that's actually thoughtful.
WF: The 24 hour news cycle perpetuates all of that too. In the UK, they can only campaign for 90 days. If we put those sort of restrictions on politics, you'd only have a finite amount of time, you'd have to get to the issues right away. I think that the fact that you almost have to start campaigning almost two years out doesn't help the process at all.
Q: Politicians are known to go to extreme to get votes. If you ever ran for office, what is the craziest thing you'd do?
WF: I can't think of a crazier thing than the fact that Cam Brady stalked his opponent's wife, had sex with her, then turned it into a political ad and put it on TV. How do you beat that?
Q. What would your slogan be?
WF: "Keep the party going all night long."
ZG: "My anaconda don't want none unless you got buns, hun."
Q. Who do you think has the public's best interest at heart these days?
ZG: Maybe people when they're first running? They go to DC because they want to make a difference, but once they get to DC, does it change them? Is it the city itself, is it the culture that changes them? I think people do go with good intentions. Maybe it's something as simple as they start going to cocktail parties with the lobbiests, and the lobbyist says, 'Hey I can do this for you if you do this for me'. There are a lot of great people that could run for office, but you're put under such a microscope. You'd imagine the smartest and most qualified people wouldn’t want anything to do with that, because they wouldn't want to put themselves through that. We as a public, we demand we know everything, and some of this personal stuff doesn't make any difference when it comes to policy. The whole thing is a little messed up. And there are cameras everywhere, how can you not make a mistake?
WF: There are obviously a lot of really smart people on both sides that are really trying to make a difference, but it's like the machine gets a hold of everyone. It becomes about not voting for a thing because in two years I know I'm going to be for re-election and my opponent can say I voted for that thing.
Q: Do you agree with Zach that it's partly the public's responsibility in that we demand so much information about our politicians, and we want to know about the candidate's private lives?
WF: I don't think the public cares. I think it’s the media. We, of course, feed into it, but if the media made a concerted effort to be like, 'You know what? We're not going to cover this anymore', I don't think people would be like, 'Wait a minute! We miss that! We want to know!'. They'd be like, 'Oh, okay. Good, we don't have to hear about it.'
Q: If you were President, what would you focus on?
WF: One of the issues that Zach has been a strong proponent of, and it seems to be pretty popular whenever he or we mention it, is a campaign to allow people to turn left on red. It seems to strike a chord with people. We're all in a hurry, and we want that freedom to just make that left.
ZG: Will wants to make all Canadians go back to Canada.
WF: And I'm a big advocate of free healthcare…. for people over 97.
Q: What about gun control?
ZG: What's shocking to me is that no one wants to talk about it. If there's a problem, you talk about it first, you don't let some lobbying power roll over the whole country. It's a country; it's not run by a lobbyist. Well, maybe we are! I wish a dialogue would at least happen. I come from where there are hunters. They hunt on my land. They don't need certain guns to do that.
Q: The story you tell is pretty outrageous. Do you think it's that far away from reality?
WF: I don't. I think that's the role of satire. You laughing at it, thinking 'This is so outrageous!'. Then you leave the theatre and you're on your way home and you're laughing again, going, 'Gosh, we're not that far away from that actually happening.'
Q: There are so many political satires on television right now – Veep, Parks and Recreation – do you think the public will ever tire of them?
WF: I think they'll have an insatiable appetite for them that will then end when this movie leaves theatres. It is curious timing that this stuff is all happening. I don't know if it's unconscious or not.
Q: If you had to name one 'secret weapon' that Cam and Marty both had, what would it be?
WF: Cam demonstrated that he's an excellent trash talker. He sits around and thinks of horrible, vulgar things to say to people, so he's very skilled at that.
ZG: Marty is really skilled at his really interesting stories that he tells.
The Campaign opens in Australian cinemas on August 9.