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Why Will Ferrell turned on the waterworks for gambling comedy The House

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Glen Wilson/Warner Bros.

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The new Amy Poehler-Will Ferrell comedy The House (due out June 30) features debaucherous gambling, back-room shake-downs and even an all-girl fight club  — all scenes that Ferrell is certain audiences will exit the theater talking about.

“It turns into the fall of Rome,” he says.

Yet his favorite scene had nothing to do with gambling. Rather, it had everything to do with the emotional moment his character Scott Johansen and his wife Kate (Poehler) drop their daughter Alex, played by Ryan Simpkins (A Single Man) off at college.

“We take a hard right turn when we drop our daughter off at college,” Ferrell says. “We hit the breaks and have this really emotional scene where we say goodbye to her — it’s one of my favorite scenes I’ve ever gotten to do.”

In that moment, Poehler and Ferrell face their fears about letting their only child go off to college, while they are left at home grappling with all the emotions that accompany empty-nest syndrome.

“We have this moment where we realize we are each others best friend,” he adds. “We played that very real, and we are both crying. I don’t think I could have done a scene like that without kids and without being married for 17 years. It was nice to be able to draw upon those experiences for something like that.”

It also helped for Ferrell to imagine his oldest son, Magnus, who is now 13, going off to college.

“I put myself in that situation and just imagining that day… He probably won’t let us [drop him off] but I’ll be crying like a baby at some point. The whole scene was definitely enhanced by having my own family.”

Directed by Andrew Jay Cohen, The House also stars Jason Mantzoukas and Andrea Savage. You can see a new photo from the film above.