In 1974, Sid and Marty Krofft’s Land of the Lost was a popular Saturday morning children’s show. Now it’s a PG-13 Will Ferrell comedy.
The actor portrays has-been scientist Dr Rick Marshall, who is sucked into a Space-Time vortex with is assistant Holly (Anna Friel), and a redneck amusement park manager, Will, where they discover dinosaurs, a primate called Chaka and reptiles known as Sleestaks.
I spoke with Will Ferrell again – see our set visit interview – in the Champagne Room at the Hollywood Palladium at a press conference.
The film is pretty edgy, how young an audience do you anticipate that this is for?
I don’t know. We obviously didn’t want it to be a Disney film; we wanted the humor to be cool and kind of pushing that PG-13 [envelope]. But kids are pretty sophisticated. I’m going to say I think this movie’s appropriate for a sophisticated 11-year-old.
I’m proud about this movie in the sense that it is a more family movie than I’ve done in awhile, and yet it has got some original, sophisticated jokes that you’re not going to find in a movie in a similar kind of vein.
Was it difficult to get the comedy to come with this much CGI?
It was hard at times, yeah, because you’re obviously running from point A to point B. I found in watching the movie I saw moments after the fact where I was like, ‘Oh, we could have made a joke there.’
That was a little difficult, but for the most part the script was pretty well set going into it.
Kids either loved or hated Chaka – did you like him as a child, because I loved Rick Marshall’s remark in the movie about wanting to eat him?
I think I was pretty enamored with the fact that this early man-creature became friends with the kids in the show, even though I remember thinking, ‘God he looks freaky.’
Was Rick Marshall always going to go on the Today Show and be interviewed by Matt Lauer?
I think in the original draft he was on with Charlie Rose and a panel of Al Gore and Stephen Hawking. And Hawking starts to go after me and discredit me and then we get in this fight, I actually try to lunge at Stephen Hawking, which is really funny, great idea on paper, and then you start to make the phone calls and people are like, ‘No, we’re unavailable.’
Then it became the Today Show, and Matt was totally game, so that became the Plan B, which worked beautifully.
Was the scene ad-libbed where he was interviewing you?
In the first scene there were a couple of little moments, but for the most part it was scripted. We were so impressed, because he was so at ease at snapping into being himself, and when I did little things, like I keep showing my book, he’s like, ‘Stop it, okay?’ He would just throw those things in.
The ending scene where he tackles me, he said, ‘You know what? Let’s do one more take,’ and then he did that, and I was trying not to laugh because I was so surprised; that was brilliant. He totally faked us out, he said, ‘I think I messed up that line,’ and the next thing I know he was tackling me.