Will Ferrell & Jon Heder
Blades of Glory Their Crotch Project
At the 2002 World Figure Skating Championships, rival world-class men's singles skaters Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) disgraced their sport with an all-out brawl. Consequently, they were both banned from the men's singles competition for the rest of their lives. After four long, arduous years away from the sport they love, they attempt to put aside their differences and team-up in an effort to exploit a loophole in their suspension. It turns out that there is one category in which they can both still compete – pairs figure skating. Of course, that event is usually reserved for opposite-sex couples and the duo is sure to find fierce competition from rivals far more experienced at the art. Stranz (Will Arnett) and Fairchild (Amy Poehler) Van Waldenberg, the uncompromisingly competitive reigning pairs champions, comprise one such team.
Wild About Movies had the chance to sit with the two stars, Will Ferrell and Jon Heder at a Beverly Hills hotel recently and find out what the two had to say about their roles in the slapstick comedy "Blades of Glory."
WAM: We have to talk about crotch proximity 'cause you guys got very close to each other. Did you have to set any boundaries?
Jon Heder: The contract said, "No less than 2 centimeters."
Will Ferrell: I had a restraining order against his crotch. We really didn't talk about it, did we?
Jon Heder: I think, all in all, it ended up being mostly effects.
Will Ferrell: That was a stunt crotch. I don't think I touched his crotch.
Jon Heder: I even think the upside legs were actually fake. It wasn't even someone else's.
Will Ferrell: Oh, really?
Jon Heder: Remember?
Will Ferrell: Movie magic.
WAM: Which was harder to negotiate, the crotch proximity or the boob grabbing with Jenna Fischer?
Will Ferrell: Well, the boob grabbing. That was ad-libbed. I just thought, ''This will be fun, I'm just going to do it,' and 80 takes later. I had to get it right. And, it remained in the movie.
Jon Heder: As soon as you did the first establishing shot, you had to match that.
WAM: Did you know each other beforehand? You have such a great rapport. Did that happen as soon as you guys met?
Will Ferrell: It was instantaneous, wasn't it?
Jon Heder: I was just... When we first met, it was on the ice and we were on level playing ground. All bets were off.
Will Ferrell: Right, right.
Jon Heder: I think we were just scared.
Will Ferrell: Yeah. We met in the parking lot of Pickwick Ice Rink in Burbank. It was like, "Hey, nice to meet you." "Yeah, you too." "This should be fun, right?" "It's going to be hard, huh?" "You don't know how to skate, do you?" "No." "I don't either." "Okay, I'll see you later." That was kind of it.
Jon Heder: I was like, "I've got to lift you?"
Will Ferrell: "No, I think I will be doing the lifting. I have to lift you."
WAM: Now that you did learn to skate, who loves it and who hates it?
Jon Heder: I love it.
Will Ferrell: He does. He loves it. I don't hate it.
Jon Heder: He doesn't hate anything.
Will Ferrell: But, yeah, I haven't skated since the movie. But, he's only skated once.
Jon Heder: I've gone only once since because I've been busy.
Will Ferrell: He's a big talker. He was like, "I'm going to skate all the time."
Jon Heder: And, I am. I'm going to. And, by all the time, I mean that I'm going to try to make it a regular, once a month to semi-annual thing.
WAM: Will, can you tell us something about Jon that we would not know? And, Jon can you tell us something about Will?
Will Ferrell: Let me see ...Jon has a twin brother. Did you know that?
WAM: I did.
Will Ferrell: Oh, shoot.
Jon Heder: Everybody knows that.
Will Ferrell: Well, his twin brother is really mean. Jon's nice, but this guy -- he scares me.
Jon Heder: He's the evil one.
Will Ferrell: He's the evil one. And, he would come to set and he wouldn't even talk to me. He'd just sit across the room and go 'ha roar ha'. I was like, "What is he doing?," and Jon was like, "That's just my evil twin brother, don't worry about it."
Jon Heder: He'll mess with you, but it's not a big deal.
Will Ferrell: So, that's something about Jon.
Jon Heder: Will doesn't grow facial hair. It's all down here (pointing to Will's chest).
Will Ferrell: Yeah.
Jon Heder: It all goes there. He never had to shave.
Will Ferrell: For some reason, the beard follicles are actually right here, over my breasts, so I grow a chest beard. So, I have to shave that down. So, those are two things. Jon didn't know I was left-handed.
Jon Heder: That's true. Are you?
Will Ferrell: Yeah.
Jon Heder: I didn't know that, but neither did they.
WAM: Speaking of the chest beard, when you get a script, do you immediately try to find the scene where you get to take off as many of your clothes as you possibly can?
Will Ferrell: No. I actually hope that there isn't.
Jon Heder: He gave it to me.
Will Ferrell: Yeah, I gave it to Jon this time. But, yeah, in this one, I kind of do a version of it with the tattoo thing, which I thought was really funny that you reveal this stupid life story through tattoos. [Laughs] But, we got to make some crazy, funny tattoos. That was amazing. And, in fact, we were just laughing that Jimmy has no sense of the fact that there's this gross guy with his shirt off. He's just wrapped up in the story, like "Really, wow, cool. What's that one?"
Jon Heder: And then, Chazz gets the tattoo of Jimmy.
WAM: Were you tempted to keep that one for awhile?
Will Ferrell: I was. That was the funniest thing. The make-up tattoos are so real looking and they last for a good couple of days, so I would forget. On the weekends, I'd have these weird tattoos. My wife would be like, "Oh, gross, what is that?" "It's just a wolf. I'm the lone wolf."
WAM:So, the spandex skater costumes versus the elf suit. Compare and contrast.
Will Ferrell: Well, they were very similar. The elfin tights were actually quite functional. A lot of times, in that movie, it was very cold where we were filming, so I was actually thankful to have them. The lycra suits, I was thankful to have them in a different sense, just for the character, 'cause they were funny looking.
Jon Heder: It took some help to get into. But, you didn't have to wear a dancer's belt in elf, did you?
Will Ferrell: No, I did.
Jon Heder: You did?
Will Ferrell: Yeah. I had already experienced it, yeah.
Jon Heder: So, he was totally just being nice to me when I had to wear a dancer's belt for the first time. You were obviously trying to make me feel better by saying, "Yeah, these really suck, don't they?" You were used to them.
Will Ferrell: I didn't want you to feel left out.
WAM: Did you want to draw the line with the fluffy thing on the butt of the peacock costume?
Jon Heder: I remember seeing it in the design, but I always forgot about it because it's so light, and I never saw it. People would say something and I'd be like, "Oh, that's right, I've got feathers back there." So, no, I did not draw the line.
WAM: How much input did you guys have on your costumes?
Will Ferrell: We had a little bit. Julie Weiss, who's the wardrobe designer, is kind of a mad genius, in a way. She'd be like, "I found this leather jacket in the hatchback of my neighbor's car. Try it on." You'd be like, "Oh, it's perfect." "I knew it! You're going to wear that today." She really designed these amazing costumes. She would call me on the phone and ask me things like, "What would your character keep in a duffle bag?" "I don't know yet. I haven't even thought about it." She was like, "I see you as a cross between Steven Tyler and . . ." this person or that person. But, yeah, in terms of the skater stuff, she totally designed all that.
Jon Heder: The peacock outfit was kind of my idea because we had seen clips and footage of other skaters, just to study and research, and Johnny Weir had this swan outfit. It was kind of a famous routine. It was very serious, but the glove was a swan, and I was like, "That would be funny to do, but do it as a peacock." Skaters are very much like peacocks. It was amazing. I just remember throwing that idea out, and then, the next thing I knew, she had this bejeweled glove and the eye, and everything. It was like, wow!
Will Ferrell: The first time I saw him in his outfit, I was really jealous. I was like, "Aw, you're a peacock. Of course. You get a gloved hand and everything. I'm only fire."
Jon Heder: But, he had fire coming out of his hand. That was pretty cool.
WAM: How was the chase on dry land?
Will Ferrell: That was really hard. We were saying in the other room, that was the first two days of filming, all of that chase and we hadn't really worked out being on those skates at all.
Jon Heder: Did you have covers at all or was it just straight metal blade?
Will Ferrell: No, it was like a piece of wood that was painted silver on the side so it looked like a blade but it was still only about that much thickness that we were running around on. And it was the craziest way to begin a movie I've ever- - you felt really beat up after those first few days of all that physical stuff, but it was fun.
WAM: How important is the hair of the character?
Jon Heder: I loved it. I love hair. It's very important.
Will Ferrell: I would say the same thing.
WAM: How does it help you find the essence?
Jon Heder: I think so much of the look, obviously including wardrobe, but the hair is a huge thing because it's basically the frame for your eyes and that's the window to your soul is what they say.
Will Ferrell: I'm about to cry right now.
Jon Heder: I always love messing with my own hair. As much as I can, I don't normally like to wear wigs. If it's just scheduling reasons, but yeah, we did extensions and played around and it's always fun getting into that character that way.
Will Ferrell: Plus, really very few of us have a job where you can get paid to come up with a crazy hairstyle. So it's always fun if you can add that extra dimension to your look and hair is a huge part of that.
WAM: What about Jon and Jenna's kiss?
Jon Heder: Well, in the script, it was like a sweet innocent kiss, I think from what I remember. But we were just talking about the characters and how they both have never had experience with the opposite sex, for good reasons. So when they get together, we just thought neither of them would know what they're doing and we should just make it like the most awkward kiss ever, where she's a little bit more excited, she gets into it a little bit more. Jimmy is still trying to go by what he watches on Backstreet Boys videos. Like simple, beautiful and yeah, we didn't really rehearse it. But when we shot it, it was like all right, let's just kind of go for it and see what happens. It was really weird. There were a couple where she was like making moans like "Ahh ahh."
WAM: What is it like performing in the stadium with crowds, and how much did you really do?
Jon Heder: Well, the first part, I was kind of nervous. I'm used to it now. I started getting used to like, being in front of the camera is fine. In front of other people, there's always a small cast but this is the first movie where actually- - I remember the first time when we started shooting the skating stuff, to be out there where we have our routines planned, we know the routine but then you have all these extras. And it was like the real deal. I got up, I was nervous, I was like...
Will Ferrell: You don't want to mess up.
JH: I didn't want to mess up and like...I mean once you start going it's fine.
WF: We worked with this woman, Sarah Kawahara and she's like the big time skating choreographer, to the point where some of the other coaches who were former pros, actually you could see them get nervous around her. She does all the Disney on Ice, everything. You have these coaches who really wanted us to...in your mind, you'd be like, "I nailed that" and they were like, "better."
Jon Heder: It was like real time coaches.
Will Ferrell: "You're gonna get there. Yeah."
Jon Heder: They were like real coaches. The directors say, "Oh, great job. Now do it this way." And they were like, "Yeah, okay."
Will Ferrell: "Make sure you point your toe." And the director would be like, "Looks fine." They were almost like, "Don't tell them that." But it was intense.
Jon Heder: And I tried to do as much skating as I could. Obviously, we had doubles to do the really cool spins and the jumps.
WAM: Any wires?
Jon Heder: We got on some wires, yeah, we got on some wires. For any of the flying sequences. There were a few. But yeah, I really- -
Will Ferrell: I flew at the end.
Jon Heder: That was wirework.
Will Ferrell: But that actually was insane. We were like 100 feet up in the air above all these people. I was like, "I hope these don't break."
WAM: Did you see the Korean film?
Will Ferrell: We never got to see it. It wasn't mocked up so we just had to react to what we thought it would look like.
Jon Heder: Or the director going, "Now the head falls off."
Will Ferrell: So we both thought it was super funny when we got to see it. It was very crudely done, you know, but then the head comes off.
Jon Heder: And when we shot the scene where his character's practicing off a mannequin and his double actually nailed the head. There was one time where he nailed it perfectly just at the right -- because they had it rigged so it would fall, but he hit it instead like right off.
WAM: Did you talk to Helen Mirren after the Oscar bit?
Will Ferrell: No, I didn't get to.
Jon Heder: There wasn't any talking.
Will Ferrell: Not a lot of talking in my hotel suite.
Amy Poehler: Keep it down, we're trying to think out here (she says in the hallway, near the door of the hotel suite as she passes by.)
Will Ferrell: You are nothing but a dumb hillbilly.
Amy Poehler: Son of a bitch.
WAM: What's coming up?
Will Ferrell: I just started filming another sports comedy about the ABA, which was this league in the '70s, a competing league with the NBA. So it's a basketball comedy. Semi Pro.
WAM: Who's your character?
Will Ferrell: I'm this guy Jackie Moon. I'm the player/owner/coach of the Flint Michigan Tropics. And I was able to buy the team with the money from my single, my number one hit song 'Love Me Sexy.' The true story part of it is the NBA and the ABA merge and they only took four teams. So we're trying to play for fourth place to make it to the NBA.
WAM: What about you, Jon? What do you have coming up?
Jon Heder: Surf's Up and Mama's Boy. I don't know when that comes out but it's all done. I'm not working on anything right now.
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"Blades of Glory" Trivia:
Shooting was delayed for a small undetermined period of time when Jon Heder broke his ankle while doing a skating program for the movie.
According to the flags being raised, the four medalists at Worlds were from the United States, South Korea, and Sweden. South Korea has never medalled in men's singles at the World Championships, and Sweden has not medalled in that discipline since 1929.
All of the scenes at the World Figure Skating Championships were shot at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
Jimmy's peacock costume is modelled on Johnny Weir's The Swan costume from the 2005-2006 season, complete with glove. Weir says he is flattered by the parody.
Many of the lifts Chazz and Jimmy perform are dance lifts, not pairs lifts. These are not illegal in pairs competition and have been performed by many pairs skaters in international competition, and therefore would not be something Scott Hamilton had never seen before. (Unless Hamilton has never watched ice dance.)
"Blades of Glory" Factual Errors:
The so-called "loophole" does not exist. International Skating Union regulations state that a pair team on the senior (Olympic) level is made up of a man and a lady. (Note: Lady is the official terminology for a female skater.) While there are "similar pairs" (pairs made up of two men or two women), such pairs do not compete in ISU competitions. However, Chazz and Jimmy could have competed together in a synchronized skating team, or at a non-ISU event such as the Gay Games that includes similar pairs.
The lift Chazz and Jimmy are seen doing in competition, with Jimmy's ankles around Chazz's neck, is a real lift. However, it is an illegal lift to perform in competition. In legal lifts, the man must be holding the woman by her hands or by her hips.
The 2002 World Championships were held in Nagano, not Stockholm.
The music for competitive programs in singles and pairs may not have vocals.
Many jumps are misidentified by the commentators, most notably double jumps as triple jumps.
Skaters qualify for the United States Figure Skating Championships in one of two ways: through a bye or through earning their spot. If they do not receieve a bye, they must qualify through Regional and Sectional competitions. The top four teams from Sectionals advance to Nationals. Byes are awarded to 1) skaters/teams who placed in the top five at the senior level at the previous year's Nationals, 2) skaters/teams who qualify for the Junior Grand Prix Final, 3) skaters/teams who qualify for the senior Grand Prix Final, and 4) skaters/teams who had another competition at the same time that Regionals or Sectionals was going on, and therefore were unable to compete at Regionals or Sectionals.