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Step Brothers in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Step Brothers

Will Ferrell • John C Reilly • Richard Jenkins • Mary Steenburgen

Brennan Huff (Will Ferrell), Brennan THE CONCEPT:
Brennan Huff (Ferrell) is a sporadically employed 39- year-old who lives with his mother, Nancy (Steenburgen). Dale Doback (Reilly) is a terminally unemployed 40 year old who lives with his father, Robert (Jenkins). When Robert and Nancy marry and move in together, Brennan and Dale are forced to live with each other, and their narcissism, laziness and dislike for each other threatens to tear the ‘new’ family apart.

U.S. RELEASE: July 25 2008, Nationwide • Rated: R


Will Ferrell & John C Reilly take the plunge“John, Adam and I had such fun working on Talladega Nights and we made a blood pact to work on something else together, and I think it was John who was the catalyst and said, ‘Let’s really make a concerted effort.’ So we really made a point to sit down and meet, and I think we had a couple of dinners where we threw out a bunch of different ideas and had some really good ones. And it was Adam who called both of us the next day, and said, ‘What if you guys are two 40-year-old guys who live with your single parent. They meet each other, get married and you’re forced to be step brothers.’ We both were like, that’s it!”

Adam McKay“Then we looked into it and found there’s a real dynamic going on, the increase of adult children living at home has gone up drastically in the last 10 years, so that made it a little bit more legitimate.”

Sleeping partners? No!“I was officially allowed to leave home when I was 18. But I had a part-time job when I was 12. I was a dishwasher at this restaurant in Chicago, and they would wait for me to get there after school, and the whole kitchen would be full of dishes. I was like their little slave.”

Happy family? No!“I left home for college, and then I immediately moved back home, and lived at home for three years, so I guess that part is taken from my life. I think kids should move out of the house when they feel ready. For some, that’s a 5-year-old child, for others it’s a 52-year-old man!”

“Mary and I tried to deal with what was going on all round us and tried to do it in as real a way as we could. Improv is not something I do, and I was really nervous about it going in. But Adam McKay and Will and John were so generous, so easy to work with, and you didn’t feel that you’d made a mistake, you always felt that you could keep going, and it was fun. It was a learning experience for me.”

“I was nervous at the very beginning because it felt like, in terms of improvization, getting in the ring with two [Mohammad] Ali’s. Will and John are pretty amazing in this. But I realized I was there for some reason too and I shouldn’t sell myself short. It was the most freeing, fun, wonderful experience.”

“I think it gives the whole premise validity that you have two great actors like Mary and Richard who just want to be together and these guys won’t let it happen. It’s their story in the end. They learn to accept it.”

“I think the reason this part was pretty easy for me to relate to is that we [she and husband Ted Danson] have four kids and I crave their attention. Thankfully by some miracle I have well adjusted children that actually wanted to leave me and did, so I didn’t have this problem. But I can understand it in a way, there’ a little part of me that finds this a dream situation, believe it or not.”

“It wasn’t like we were deliberately trying to be R-rated. We just didn’t want to have constraints. We know how creative it gets when you start improvising and coming up with ideas. We just wanted to feel like it could be anything we wanted it to be.”

“When we started writing, we came up with crazy scenarios from every kind of brotherly fight we could think of, and any adolescent scenarios that made us laugh, but as we continued, we really started identifying with the parents.”

“With these characters, there’s a fine line between them complementing each other and enabling each other. They really should never have met each other – but somehow it works out.”

Happy ending…?

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #699, August 2008 cover

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