Will Ferrell Talks Improv and Gory Fight Scenes at 'The House' Premiere
Amy Poehler also stars in the movie, featuring appearances by Jeremy Renner and Mariah Carey, the latter of whom requested stuffed animals be brought into her trailer while she was shooting her cameo (which ultimately got cut).
Hollywood's TCL Chinese Theatre was transformed into a casino on Monday night for the premiere of Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler's new comedy, The House.
Slot machines and a red neon sign reading "The House" decorated the entrance to the theater for the premiere of the film, which finds Ferrell and Poehler playing a couple who, after losing their daughter's (Ryan Simpkins) college fund, start an illegal casino in their basement to earn back the cash.
On the red carpet, Ferrell told The Hollywood Reporter that some of what made it into the film was improvised.
"We had a lot of actors in this cast that were comfortable with improvising, so we started messing around with the script a lot. Many of our jokes made the movie," he said.
Allison Tolman said that Andrew Jay Cohen, who directed and co-wrote the film with Brendan O'Brien, "encouraged the improv."
"He would yell out new lines to us from behind the camera, and we would go along with whatever he just came up with,” she told THR.
Cohen said he not only wanted the movie to be full of funny improvisation, but he also tried to push the envelope in terms of making the comedy darker and more gory, which can be seen in a fight between Andrea Savage and Lennon Parham.
"It couldn't be a dumb 'cat fight.' It needed to kick some ass — MMA-inspired, like bloody, beat-you-to-a-pulp kind of thing," Cohen said.
The scene also happened to be one of Ferrell's favorites.
"I love the ... fight. I was so impressed that Andrea and Lennon learned how to do that and did 80 percent of it themselves. It looked amazing," said Ferrell.
Cohen, meanwhile, praised Poehler and Ferrell for making his first experience directing a feature film less nerve-racking.
"They were so awesome, they really made it so much easier for me to pretend to know what I was doing," he said. "They are so brave and willing to try things that even I didn’t know if it was going to work."
Simpkins also praised her onscreen parents: "They are so supportive; I learned a lot as an actor and especially as an improviser."
The movie also features Jeremy Renner in a comedic turn as a neighborhood mobster. Mariah Carey shot a cameo that ended up getting cut, but while on set, she made an unusual request, according to Nick Kroll: "She requested stuffed lambs to be brought into her trailer." (Carey's reps deny this happened.)
The afterparty was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt, where the Tropicana outdoor bar was transformed into an exact replica of the movie's homemade casino. The hotel also featured the same neon signs reading "Club Ooze" and "Place Your Bets" from the movie, a pool with colorful, tropical floaties and decorated with colorful string lights and metallic streamers.