Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly explain how they dug deep to portray the love-hate-murder nuances of the mixed family sibling relationship for ''Step Brothers,'' their new Judd Apatow-produced comedy
John C. Reilly, Will Ferrell
Credit: Eric Charbonneau/Le Studio/Wireimage

It’s Shake ‘n Bake: the Sequel, baby. Columbia Pictures heralded the return of Talladega Nights‘ successful screen team, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, with a star- and star-sibling-studded premiere of Step Brothers in Los Angeles on July 15. Before the duo could party like the man-children they portray so precisely at the post-screening cereal bar and Pablo Cruise concert, they re-paired to walk the red carpet and dish about their second team-up, montages, and The Man From Atlantis.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Will, you got a little more dressed up than usual tonight.
WILL FERRELL: I resent that implication. I do not think I have worn a t-shirt to a premiere since becoming a major star of the film world.
JOHN C. REILLY: I don’t know, man. You do make me feel really dressed up sometimes. I called him to check this time because I didn’t want to show up in a suit and then have him come in the Pablo Cruise t-shirt. That wouldn’t have been good. We wouldn’t have been on the same page, and it would be hard for the crowd to establish the vibe of the evening.
FERRELL: There was some talk of the Pablo Cruise t-shirt, but I don’t know where it is. That shirt has really caused a commotion. I think we brought the band back together. We wrangled them into playing tonight.

For people who live under a rock, tell us the basics about Step Brothers.
FERRELL: It is [about] two single loser 40-year-olds who still live at home. Their parents marry each other and we move in together and there are some growing pains. We hate each other, then we like each other, then we try to bury each other. It isn’t that different than what all mixed families go through, I suspect.

Do you have a favorite scene?
REILLY: I like the montage scenes where we do karate and beat kids up because they are all action. There were no lines to memorize.
FERRELL: I liked any scene that involved John wearing short shorts or colored underwear. I think the audience will agree with me.

NEXT PAGE: Reilly makes Ferrell uncomfortable by revealing how the two would ”amuse themselves” on the set.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Were you excited to work together again? Was it as good as the first time? Better?
WILL FERRELL: That is how this whole thing came to be. We had so much fun doing Talladega Nights together. We immediately started talking about what we were going to do next. The three of us — Adam [McKay, director], John, and I — have a certain chemistry that is hard to find. We just continued the same jubilation of the first time over to this set.
JOHN C. REILLY: Yeah it still feels like the first time. Just like the song says. It still felt good and right. Actually, I can’t say that. I wish I could.
FERRELL: Now I’m embarrassed. Maybe I exaggerated. REILLY: I wish I could say that. For me, it was more like I met them on Talladega and it was successful, so I’m like, ”Oh brother, they think I’m loving it. Now I’m going to be stuck with these two barnacles forever.” No, it’s actually a great working relationship. It is a rare and special thing just to find one person that thinks the same things are funny.

Do you put pressure on yourselves to outdo your last film together? Do you think there is more pressure from outside sources since Talladega did so well?
REILLY: Oh yeah. There’s a lot of money on the line.
FERRELL: Yeah, a lot of money on the line, a lot of jobs at stake. If this fails, I think Judd Apatow’s career is over, for instance.

[To Reilly] Would Will make a good stepbrother?
REILLY: Yeah. We find the same stuff amusing and he is a great guy. It was harder to pretend that I didn’t like him than it was to do the scenes where we got along. We would just come to set and amuse ourselves.
FERRELL: I just want to clarify that he doesn’t mean that kind of ”amuse ourselves.” I know what kind of dirty-minded people read Entertainment Weekly. This is a family film.

If you could choose any grown man to be your stepbrother who would it be?
REILLY: I think I’m gonna go with Patrick Duffy, Man from Atlantis.

Dare we ask why?
FERRELL: Do you even need to ask why? He said Patrick Duffy. Self-explanatory.

So would you do it again? Will there be another Ferrell-Reilly co-production?
REILLY: In a Chicago minute, which is a little slower than a New York one, but still pretty fast.
FERRELL: Yeah. Like he said before, he is stuck with me and Adam now. We are doing everything in our power to make people forget he was once an Oscar-nominated actor.

Step Brothers
  • Movie
  • 95 minutes