BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. — In “Get Hard” (opening Friday), Will Ferrell plays an allegedly crooked hedge fund jillionaire who turns to a local car detailer (Kevin Hart) — assuming (because he’s black) he can help him prepare for a stretch of “hard time” in the federal pen.
In truth, Hart’s character knows nothing about the world of crime or prisons, but in fact is a hard-working, aspirational guy looking to build his business and raise his family the right way.
Ferrell recently attended baseball spring training in Arizona, briefly playing for all the Major League teams in the Cactus League, including the Sox and Cubs. “The White Sox have the better, sexier uniform,” he said, “but I know that my brief time with the Cubs will go a long way toward breaking the curse, and will inspire them to finally make it to the World Series this year.”
Since Chicago is also famous for spawning a lot of politicians who have ended up behind bars, I asked Hart and Ferrell what advice they might share with Our Town’s next prison-bound pols.
“Don’t bend over in the shower,” quipped Ferrell, who quickly added, “But that’s kind of unnecessary. Unlike in our movie, those politicians tend to end up in federal prison country clubs. I think I’d tell them to bone up on their golf skills!”
“Yeah,” chimed in Hart. “I think a lot of guys who are not even in prison but simply living in the ‘hood would trade their lives for those country club prisons — in a second! However, for those politicians, tell them to go see this movie. I don’t know about getting any tips, but at least I think it will make them laugh at some of the situations we show in the film.”
According to Ferrell, the germ of the idea for “Get Hard” started with his longtime comedy partner, iO and Second City alum Adam McKay. “He had wanted to do something with this concept for a long time. We started thinking as it got closer to actually becoming a film, ‘Who would be great to play opposite this aristocratic character I was going to play?’ We thought Kevin would be perfect.”
For Hart, it had long been a goal to work with Ferrell, but he also thought, “The idea was a good one. Something where I felt I could bring something to the table that would be special and could add to the mix.”
Both actors said they like making these kinds of films because of the physical comedy that generally goes along with the territory.
Asked about being “bench-pressed” by Ferrell in one of the scenes, Hart quipped, “That was the best part.”
But where did he grab you?
“Now THAT was really the best part — or should I say parts. That upper thigh is where it’s all about,” added Hart, as Ferrell chimed in, “We had to make it real!”
Ferrell did want to remind me that he was way more in touch with African-American fashion sense than was the costume designer on the movie — a comment that made Hart burst out laughing.
“Well, I mean I’m very hip to black culture,” Ferrell said. “I actually told the costume designer not only what I should wear when I’m supposed to look like Li’l Wayne, but frankly what the entire cast should be wearing for that scene. She had it all wrong at first. My pants were way too high, and the jewelry was all too tame. Luckily I righted the ship.”