Will Ferrell, Jon Heder learn figure skating
Creating The path to glory is a road paved with excessive makeup, hair extensions and lycra.
No, it’s not a fashion show — although Will Ferrell oozed machismo in leather and Jon Heder was fabulous in feathers — it’s professional figure skating, the occasionally bizarre hybrid of sport, art and frilly clothing. On ice.
The ice part is what tripped up Ferrell and Heder for their roles in Blades Of Glory, a gag-filled gig for two actors famous for physical comedy and deadpan delivery in the most absurd of situations.
Ferrell laced up as Chazz Michael Michaels, the lady-lovin’ loose cannon of the figure skating world. Heder slipped into a slinky peacock suit as Jimmy MacElroy, a finely tuned child prodigy. Together, they make up the first man-on-man pairs figure skating team. But neither had ever been on the ice.
“If you’ve even just tried ice skating for fun, you know it’s the most foreign feeling thing you can do,” Ferrell says.
“You are not in control. I thought, who was the weird guy from Holland or wherever who invented this in the first place? And why?”
“My faith was shattered,” Heder joins in, after noting he also shattered his ankle while preparing for the role. “I remember we were both thinking, I don’t know how this is going to work out. It’s a comedy, so it doesn’t have to be so serious, but we had to get to an area of believability. That was our trainer’s goal — to make us look somewhat natural getting on and off the ice, but we had doubles to do the really fancy stuff.”
Despite the broken limb, costars said Heder took to the sport quite naturally and he even admits, “I fell in love with it.”
“It was like math class, like learning another language,” he says.
“As soon as you get it right, it feels so good. It is kind of like riding a bike, a really hard and difficult bike.”
“With 20 wheels and no handlebars,” Ferrell quips. “Or pedals.”
Ultimately, they both say, their efforts were well worth the embarrassment, pain and silly suits. All in the name of good belly laughs.
“I think Jon and I are similar in that committing to the character is the whole point of doing comedy,” Ferrell says.
“Not so much joke telling, but attitude and behaviour.”
“When you make it that tangible person, that’s when people believe,” Heder adds. “And that’s when comedy happens.”
- Blades Of Glory opens today