April 16, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Other Guys

Current Status
In Season
Wide Release Date
Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg
Adam McKay
Columbia Pictures
Chris Henchy, Adam McKay
Comedy, Action Adventure

STARRING Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg
WRITTEN BY Adam McKay, Chris Henchy

When director/co-writer Adam McKay was prepping this Will Ferrell — Mark Wahlberg buddy-cop comedy, he made sure to rewatch the classics of the genre, like The French Connection and All the President’s Men. Wait a second. No Lethal Weapon or 48 HRS.? ”When you do a comedy, it does no good to reference comedies,” says McKay. ”You want to treat it like a drama 80 percent of the way. Then, at the last 20 percent, you f — – it up.”

One look at McKay’s track record with Ferrell (Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers) and it’s clear he knows that last 20 percent. In The Other Guys, Ferrell and Wahlberg play B-level cops who run into trouble when they get a chance to crack a big-time financial fraud case. ”You have your star cops who have the car chases and the shoot-outs,” says McKay. ”These are the guys at the desks next to them.” After supporting parts in I [Heart] Huckabees and Date Night, Wahlberg is cautiously excited about his first starring role in a comedy. ”I’d been looking to do a comedy for quite some time,” says the actor. ”But coming from a dramatic background, if you don’t do the right thing [the first time], you don’t get too many other chances.”

Wahlberg was a natural playing off Ferrell’s improv-heavy style, says McKay, who let the cameras roll as both actors went off script, resulting in such gems as a Ferrell monologue about a tuna fighting a lion. ”I was just apologizing over and over again because I’d ruin a take by laughing,” admits Wahlberg. ”It’s so hard to keep a straight face looking at Will. And then he gets upset, and it’s really funny.”

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