Fans of Will Ferrell or Zach Galifianakis will be well aware that The Campaign is out on DVD and Blu-Ray in the United Kingdom in on January 21st. The film, which has received excellent reviews both sides of the pond follows two CEO’s in their bid to oust congressman Cam Brady. In order to do this, they by put up a rival candidate, their man is the naive Marty Huggins, director of the local Tourism Centre. The usual hilarity follows as one would expect from two comedy stars from such hit movies as Anchorman and The Hangover. Any students out there looking for a laugh to get them through the bleak winter are urged to check The Campaign out as soon as possible.
Young Academic managed to catch up with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis ahead of the release of The Campaign in the United Kingdom to pick their brains abour the film, its production and politics.
YA: Were you looking forward to working with Jay Roach again?
WILL FERRELL: Yes, because Zach and I hadn’t really worked with him during an entire film. His name came up as someone who would be great for this subject matter, as he had shot a couple of political movies.
YA: Was he hard to convince?
WILL FERRELL: No, because once we told him what it was about he answered, ‘I’m in,’ and I don’t believe that it is something he normally does, but I guess he kind of trusted it would be well written and funny.
YA: What appealed to you about this project?
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: Well, the timing seemed right for the subject matter, and I hadn’t really seen a film like this since Wag the Dog. Also, I got to work with Will Ferrell, who I believe is the best comedian ever. If Will had asked me to do a four-and-a-half-hour-long silent movie in which we play grasshoppers, I would have said, ‘OK!’
YA: That could be an interesting idea.
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: Yes, I think we may actually have to do it.
YA: What makes The Campaign different from other political satires?
WILL FERRELL: The idea of trying to do something satirical about politics has been done before, but they have been subtler. I don’t think there has ever been anything this broad, over-the-top and kind of vulgar.
YA: Who is Congressman Cam Brady?
WILL FERRELL: Cam is a charming person who has been able to rise to the top with the least amount of work. I think initially he wanted to make a difference, but then found it was easy to get re-elected and slacked in the job. And he is confident and has great hair! I believe he would sink to any depth to get reelected.
YA: And how do you see Marty Huggins?
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: I think Marty is a really sweet guy who gets swept up by human ego, even though he is innocent and down-to-earth. He comes from a political family and wants acceptance from his father, and this election is a way to achieve that. So, he is a fish out of water that kind of gets lost in the shuffle of the power of politics. We see him change, and that was fun to play. Marty is the black sheep of the family, and the need for recognition from his father is the motivation behind him. I don’t think he would have run without that need.
YA: What comedic opportunity did this political scenario give you?
WILL FERRELL: It gave us the opportunity to be really funny and appeal to a big audience.
YA: Jason Sudeikis plays Mitch, Congressman Cam Brady’s campaign manager and best friend. What can you tell me about him?
WILL FERRELL: Jason is so good and natural as this guy that has to clean up all of my character’s issues. He’s there for all Cam’s foibles and kind of keeps him on track. And Jason is a great improviser.
YA: Dylan McDermott plays the intense Tim Wattley, Marty Huggins’ advisor. Can you tell me about him?
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: Dylan McDermott is a pretty intense guy too, which helped. He was just perfect for that role. And I think Marty is willing to listen to anybody at that point. It’s only later that he starts questioning what’s going on.
YA: Brian Cox plays Marty’s father. What can you say about him?
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: There is also intensity to him, and he is really funny. Brian is an amazing stage actor, and when I was with him I would just constantly ask myself, ‘How am I here?’ Honestly!
WILL FERRELL: Yes, he is an intense and funny guy. In that father and son scene on the boat, I was wondering what was going through his head as Zach was improvising all this crazy stuff…
YA: Was there a lot of improvising on set?
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: There was quite a lot of improvising. Sometimes you just do it to keep things fresh and try to make the people around you laugh when they are not supposed to. But Will is a tough nut to break!
YA: And how does it feel to have villains of the calibre of Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow in your movie?
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: We were really very fortunate to get those guys!
YA: What was the director Jay Roach like to work with?
WILL FERRELL: He might be one of the nicest human beings on the planet. Jay confers with everyone and really makes sure everyone is feeling good and happy.
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: He always cares about the group and creates a really great atmosphere on set.
YA: The timing of this film seems perfect.
WILL FERRELL: Our idea was always to get it out before the presidential election, and I actually think we come out just before one of the conventions. So, it was a conscious choice.
YA: Do you believe that the political scenario could do with some healthy humour?
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: Yes, because politics is kind of like professional wrestling or reality TV these days.
WILL FERRELL: You would think this film could be a perfect antidote to everyone getting constantly bombarded with presidential politics and offer a nice departure from all that.
YA: Was The Campaign fun to shoot?
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: It’s exciting that it’s coming out because it was a really good work experience. You just hope that people get as much enjoyment out of watching it as we did making it.
WILL FERRELL: It was such a fun movie to work on, and I feel that we kind of had our finger on the pulse.
YA: Speaking of having your finger on the pulse, you use the term ‘insourcing’ in the movie.
WILL FERRELL: Yes, and the fact that it is also out there is exciting to me.
YA: What was it like to embrace the Southern accent?
WILL FERRELL: It was easy for Zach because he is from North Carolina. I was just trying to avoid sounding like George Bush all the time… So, I had to constantly work on mine.
YA: And here you are working with dogs again!
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS: Always! I like working with dogs.