We ask the cast of ''Talladega Nights'' what inspired them on the set. Making the world of NASCAR funny required some championship source material
Credit: Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly: Lester Cohen/WireImage.com

Will Ferrell (Ricky Bobby): ”We just kind of recognized that NASCAR was incredibly popular, and that no one was taking advantage of it in terms of doing a comedy set in that world. That’s how we started. It just came up one day when we were thinking about something else to write about. Then we started watching it, studying the people, going to the races, and interviewing people. It kind of happened backward. But the more I talked to people, the more inspired I felt to write. They had such a love for the sport and we met a lot of characters along the way. It made it very fun to create the Ricky Bobby character. I had a lot of fun embracing my inner redneck. I feel more comfortable at Applebee’s than Spago, or at Wal-Mart rather than Saks.”

John C. Reilly (Cal Naughton, Jr.): ”I was inspired to play Cal mostly because I wanted to work with Will. But I continued to be inspired because he and [director Adam McKay] were so welcoming on the set. They really encouraged everyone to ad lib and improv and listened to your thoughts on scenes or on your character. When it feels like a collaboration, you are more eager to go to work and put in the long days and nights. The character itself is based on an amalgamation of people I knew, stereotypes and clichés about Southerners or NASCAR drivers.”

Leslie Bibb (Carley Bobby): ”I knew who she was from the minute I read the script. But I picked up affectations and quirks and physical traits for her from women I saw at Neiman Marcus, from people that I grew up with as a child, from ladies I saw in Virginia. Also, she is a trophy wife and what better place to study trophy wives than in Beverly Hills? There were a lot of doctor’s wives and lawyer’s wives walking around Rodeo Drive in the afternoon that I grabbed some bits from.”

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
  • Movie
  • 105 minutes