Will Ferrell Gets Revved Up

Will Ferrell has become one of the funniest actors in film. He has done everything from starring in "Elf" and "Anchorman" to cameo roles in "Wedding Crashers" and "Starsky & Hutch."

Ferrell stopped by The Early Show to talk with co-anchor Hannah Storm about his new movie, "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby."

In the film, Ferrell plays a NASCAR champion whose "win at all cost" approach has made him a national hero.

Ferrell has said that some people think he is actually a real driver. "There is a Ricky Bobby hauler now at all the races which looks so professional that people actually think there's a new driver out there until they see my face," he explains.

"And you're much taller than the average driver, we might notice. Much more buff and muscular," Storm jokes.

"Absolutely," Ferrell says.

Asked what attracted him to working on this project, Ferrell says: "You know, I really didn't know that much about NASCAR. But my writing partner, Adam McKay — we did 'Anchorman' together — and we recognized the sport was just booming and that no one seemed to be taking advantage of it as a platform for a comedy. That's how the whole thing got going."

Ferrell says his ignorance of the sport was useful in making the film.

"It just allowed us to think of these crazy things," he explains. "Then, later, we started meeting with drivers, going to races and kind of figuring out whether we were on the right track or not."

"The racing sequences are incredible. Really good stuff!" Storm notes.

"We're kind of shocked at how well they came out," says Ferrell. "But we wanted the comedy to be obviously funny. But we also wanted to be respectful of the racing because when you go to these races, you're just swept up with how cool the sport is. We wanted that to look authentic and exciting. We kind of have both."

For the film, Ferrell did take some driving training, taking a few laps around the track.

"We were driven around with a professional driver at around 170 miles an hour, just so you were properly scared," he says.

"I didn't want to drive by myself after doing that. We almost left," he jokes. "In fact, the driving instructors told us to stop talking about how scared we were. We were scaring the paying customers."

"Eventually, I went 135 miles an hour," Ferrell says.

In the film, there is a scene where Ferrell's character is running around in his underwear and kind of losing it.

"People love me in my underwear. They do," he jokes. "It's my public service to that out of shape guy right over there."

Ferrell jokes that when writing, he starts with the buff scene. "And then we expand from there. If I'm not in my underwear by page 50 on the script, I'm very unhappy."

Asked if there is a sequel to "Old School" in the works, Ferrell says "I honestly don't know anything about it. So, hopefully, they haven't started filming without me. Wouldn't that be a shame."

Ferrell and his wife, Viveca Paulin, already have a 2-year-old son, Magnus, and are expecting a second child.

Asked if Magnus is ready for a sibling, Ferrell jokes, "I don't think so, yeah. I keep telling him, 'You live it up while you can.' "
  • Daniel Schorn

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.