Having an original comedic idea in Hollywood is as common as finding a natural blonde or a spoof on a superhero movie that’s actually decent. But leave it to Will Ferrell and his team to tap the idea of co-fathering and its complexities to awaken your funny bone. Now Ferrell could take all the credit, but we pull back the curtain and hit up his crew to find out what makes Ferrell so funny. We chat with Daddy’s Home writers Brian Burns and John Morris as well as the film’s director Sean Anders to find out how they made a father and a stepfather battling over their children’s affection so hilarious.
Brian Burns admits the main concept of the film was sparked by his own experiences as a new stepfather. He explains that he found himself stressed out and fearful of his new role of being a stepfather, but what he didn’t factor in was the relationship he would have to have with his kid’s other dad. “I was also going to have to a very close relationship with their real dad and right from the get go it was apparent that he and I were just complete total polar opposites,” describes Burns. “I would say to my wife ‘no part of me understands how you were married to both of these people.’ So that was sort of the beginning of it all.” But the real spark of inspiration for the film came from his daughter. “I was tucking my stepdaughter in and she was asking me who was going to take her to the daddy daughter dance, me or her real dad. I was really struck by that.”
Burns makes sure that Daddy’s Home‘s storyline went against typical movie archetypes. He claims he wanted a “movie where the stepdad isn’t the bad guy and that the real dad isn’t a s****y guy.” He acknowledges he wanted a story where “these two guys would be opposites and they certainly would have their differences, and I knew there was going to be a lot of fun in reducing them to children themselves and having them act like idiots, but ultimately getting to a place where they each realize that they need each other—that the two dads would be better than one.”
Burns concedes that he originally saw Will Ferrell in the role of badass biological dad, Dusty. However by the second draft of the script Burns says, “I think that had been discussed maybe he [Will] should be Brad,” the mild mannered stepdad desperate for his kids affection. He also, acknowledged that “Will was the one who suggested that Mark [Wahlberg] would be a good idea” for Dusty.
Fortunately, Director Sean Anders also seeks out original laughs. He declares, “we loved the idea of Will would feel insecure in wanting to be one of the guys on the motorcycle, but we knew that the audience is going to know the minute that Will gets on that motorcycle that he is going to wipe out [or] some crazy dumb thing is going to happen.” Faced with the challenge of originality, Anders says:
“We thought what are they [the audience] not going to know what is going to happen… and we ultimately came up with this idea of Will being stuck in the bathroom wall [and] not only the bathroom wall, but the upstairs bathroom wall.” Anders adds, “in every movie where somebody gets massively hurt and then they go he’s okay or I am okay [it works], but it’s funnier if he doesn’t say I am okay; No I’m hurt and I am scared [is better]. I got wildly insecure about the scene because it’s so ridiculous and I felt like I have to go and face Will Ferrell. [However.] Will said, oh…I was really looking forward to being stuck in the wall.”
The filmmakers can’t take all the credit. John Morris notes that Ferrell and Wahlberg just had magical comedic chemistry. Sean Anders repeats this sentiment saying, “Just the two of them sitting there in costume was already funny, so that we [had] such a huge relieve as a director to just see like OMG we don’t have to do anything. These guys just next to each other are already funny. So it was just a matter of getting out of their way and letting them be them.”
The guys also credit the funniest part of the film to Will Ferrell. Anders explains, “Will was the one who [found and] suggested Hangable” for the film.
Daddy’s Home is now playing in theaters.