The stars of Daddy's Home 2 converged Sunday afternoon at Westwood's Regency Village Theatre for the film's premiere. Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson, John Lithgow and John Cena celebrated the release of the sequel to 2015 hit Daddy's Home, which followed Wahlberg and Ferrell's characters in a battle between dad and step-dad, respectively, for their children's affection. The second film follows up that story with a Christmas narrative about the blended families, and throws in Lithgow as Ferrell's father and Gibson as Wahlberg's.
"As you see in this dysfunctional family, we all have a lot of differences but we all come together for the better of the kids," Wahlberg told The Hollywood Reporter at the pic's premiere. "It’s interesting how many things could go wrong, especially around the holidays. Everyone can identify with that, but ultimately it’s about spending time together and sharing that."
For Wahlberg, who was also an executive producer on Daddy's Home 2, much of the draw for returning to the sequel was reuniting with Ferrell and getting to enjoy the comedic atmosphere.
"It’s not work, because you’re having so much fun. The only thing that you can kind of categorize it as work is that you have to leave your family for an extended amount of time," he said. "Other than that, it’s a bunch of really talented people being very creative and having fun."
In the film, Wahlberg plays the tough, cool father, contrasting with Ferrell's gentle, nervous stepfather. Their own fathers largely mirror these characters, with Gibson as an unattached womanizer and Lithgow as the very affectionate and doting grandfather.
Lithgow, who was not in the first film, said he loved walking into an established franchise with people who had figured out the comedy already. He praised director Sean Anders, who co-wrote the script with John Morris: "They have great vision, I thought the script was good, but there was an awful lot that I thought, 'Whoa, is this going to come off? Is this going to work?' Every one of those moments works like gangbusters — it’s like there’s no gag that fails in the whole film. You just feel like you’re in good hands."
Lithgow added that Anders "is such a terrific director of physical comedy, and these big comedy sequences that just kind of build and build and build and kind of explode. It’s like working with an expert action director on a big action thriller, except instead of a great big breathtaking scare, you get a gigantic, explosive laugh."
Anders told the audience prior to the screening that working on Daddy's Home 2 was the most fun he's ever had making a movie.
Daddy's Home 2 opens nationwide Friday.