The Christmas movie calendar is now just as competitive as the summer blockbuster season, just in a much smaller period.
While “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” kicked things off last week, the likes of “Molly’s Game,” “I, Tonya,” and Daniel Day Lewis in “Phantom Thread” have also been released in a bid to be Oscar contenders.
Then there’s “Father Figures,” a comedy starring Ed Helms and Owen Wilson as they trek across America trying to find their real dad, who might just be J.K. Simmons. Or Terry Bradshaw. I recently had the chance to speak to Helms, Wilson, and Simmons, and they insisted that “Father Figures” is actually the perfect holiday film.
“I think it is really the perfect holiday movie because it is really damn funny, it kind of goes down easy, but then it sneaks up on you and tugs your heart strings a little bit, and reminds you how important it is to accept your family for all of its flaws,” Ed Helms explained.
“And that’s a pretty good holiday message I think. I don’t know if ‘Star Wars’ is telling you that this holiday season.”
“If you like an underdog, then go see this movie,” Wilson insisted, to which Helms added, “If you’re pro Death Star then go see ‘Star Wars,’ if you’re pro Jedi go see ‘Father Figures’.”
It was at this point that Wilson noted, “'Star Wars' moved off of our date. So I think we have them a little nervous,” before Helms really threw down the gauntlet with, “And they should be, because we are coming for them.”
The combination of Helms and Wilson was one of the main reasons why J.K Simmons signed up for “Father Figures,” as was the opportunity to play someone truly reprehensible.
“What I am drawn to is going up and down and sideways and trying to do different characters. I honestly don’t remember what I did the movie or two before ‘Father Figures.’ But I was drawn to it because he was different to what I had just done.”
“Plus I got to be improvisational alongside Owen and Ed, and just have fun doing it. It’s always fun to play an unrelenting b**tard, too. The cuddly parts I was able to leave to others in this case.”
Meanwhile, for Wilson, “Father Figures” presented the chance to portray a different kind of comedic character.
“It has changed for me just in the sense of being a father and at 49 it would be odd for me to be in the films I was in in my early 30s. So the characters change, just in the nature of what you are suitable to play. As great an actor as Daniel Day Lewis is I don’t think he could pull off playing Otter from ‘Animal House’.”
Wilson also insisted that the subject matter caught his attention, too, especially since it allowed him to nearly live out his childhood dream.
“We talk a lot in the movie about the universe, and maybe that was the universe’s way of evening the score because they knew that they owed me a debt because I had always dreamed of being Terry Bradshaw. But instead this allowed me to become friends and throw the football with him.”
You can see if Bradshaw still has it, and if Wilson was able to go toe to toe with the football legend, when “Father Figures” is released on December 22.