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Beyond his wildest dreams

Will Ferrell just wants to be taken seriously.

Will Ferrell just wants to be taken seriously. The comic actor, who got his start on Saturday Night Live and has gone on to become one of the biggest comedy stars in Hollywood, loves making films like this week’s Land of the Lost, don’t get him wrong. But what he’s really looking for is another Stranger Than Fiction, his critically acclaimed 2006 foray into more dramatic work.

“They’re more difficult to find for me,” Ferrell says of projects like Stranger Than Fiction. “I’m still not thought of in that way. I’m still thought of more as just comedy.” And with good reason. Ferrell’s penchant for playing blowhards and self-important buffoons has led to some major box office successes.

And he hopes to add to that list with Land of the Lost, based on the popular Saturday morning kids’ show by Sid and Marty Kroft. The film gives him a chance to work with one of his new favourite cohorts, Danny McBride. And both Ferrell and McBride are known for their improvisational skills.

“I shouldn’t say this, but there’s really no trick to it,” Ferrell says of improv. “You just film, and if it works great, and if it doesn’t you don’t use it.” Still, though he has such a strong improv background, Ferrell doesn’t automatically turn to it. “I’m the first person in support of doing the scene as written. Even though we love doing this, I’m always in fear that we’re skipping past the written scene too quickly to get to the improv.”

For all his hit comedies, including Anchorman and Talladega Nights, the actor has so far eschewed sequels or creating franchises, something producers and studios certainly aren’t thrilled about. But Ferrell says it’s less about not wanting to appear to be cashing in and more about not repeating himself. “There are tons of original stories and brand-new characters to try as opposed to just automatically doing a sequel,” Ferrell says.

Still, it’s not out of the question. “We’ve just started playing around with the idea of Anchorman as a sequel,” Ferrell admits. “That’s really found a foothold in the comedy cult world. It would be a lark to do that.”

One character that he did recently revisit was George W. Bush, an impersonation he made famous back on SNL. Ferrell recently received an Emmy nomination for his limited-run Broadway show lampooning the former president, You’re Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush.

“There’s this image that I’ve been doing a Bush impersonation every weekend somewhere around the country for five years now,” Ferrell says, though he stopped playing bush when he left SNL in 2002. “It was a fun thing to revisit and also put to bed at the same time.”

“It was one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve had. And dare I say patriotic,” he says of the show. “I think Obama’s got a tough job right now fixing a lot of what’s happened. Hopefully people will be reminded from time to time that that was a tough eight years we just went through.”

 
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