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“It’s the most insane comedy that anyone will have seen in a couple of years,” director Richie Keen told The Hollywood Reporter. “Let’s put it this way: The last 25 minutes of this movie are crazy. I can’t believe the studio let me keep it the way I wanted to keep it. I have the most epic fistfight in American cinema.”
While set in a high school, the film strays from being a traditional “high school/teen” movie. Instead of centering on students, the plot focuses on two teachers (Cube and Day) anticipating an after-school fistfight to settle their differences. The film could be a fun alternative of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, yet highlighting that those that are a school’s most trustworthy figures are the ones that are ready to rebel the most.
“I always remember fights after school being like the most exciting thing. What if it were two teachers instead of students? It’s a really good idea, and a bunch of other people thought it was a good idea,” producer and story creator Max Greenfield told THR.
“I think that as soon as Max Greenfield came into my company with this idea, we knew that it was a big, clean, funny idea to have two teachers behaving like basically misguided students,” added producer Dan Cohen.
The film may be titled Fist Fight, but Cube assures there is a surprise element to the film that many wouldn’t expect. “I think our movie is really unpredictable. You think you know what it’s about. You think it’s just about a fistfight, but it’s so much more. So I think it’s full of surprises,” said Cube.
“My goal was to get the funniest people on the planet and put them next to the people you didn’t know were the funniest people on the planet,” said Keen.
His goal was met, as the film features a cast that JoAnna Garcia Swisher described as “iconic in their own way.” The cast includes Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley), Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) and, most notably, the return of Tracy Morgan.
“I think it was really special for me to be the one to have Tracy in his first movie back,” said Keen. “He was nervous. He knew he had to prove to everyone that he was still funny. The first day I put my hand on his shoulder and said, ‘Brother, I got you. You’re gonna be brilliant.’ He smiled and from then forward, he was the magic Tracy that everyone knows and loves.”
Although this film marks Morgan’s return to the big screen following his near-fatal accident, the cast said that he brought his A game to set and elicited nothing but joy. “Just to see him back and healthy and being his inappropriate self was pretty cool. I’m glad it’s his first movie that he’s back on the big screen with us; it’s only right,” said Cube.
Writers Van Robichaux and Evan Susser recalled their first day on set with Morgan, saying he gave them an “inspirational speech” reminding them that everyone on set was there because of them and their words.
“Nobody can not be happy when they see Tracy or hear Tracy so distinct in his comedic persona, and I just think he’s so kinda crowd pleasing and showcases what he can do in such a great way,” said Cohen.
Clearly humbled and grateful to be part of the film, Morgan implied that he owes Keen for giving him the chance that many many not have.
“Most people don’t deal with someone that just got hit by a semi, but Richie Keen came to me, and he believed in me and gave the love and support on set to be creative. He gave me the space to be creative,” said Morgan.
Fist Fight is set to hit theaters Feb. 17.
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