Anna Friel © Universal Pictures

British actress Anna Friel had never heard of Sid and Marty Krofft’s children series Land of the Lost, which helped her out at the audition because on the show the role of Holly was played by a 14 year old. Also to her advantage, the director of the movie Brad Silberling always imagined that her part would be played with an English accent.

In this re-imagining of the story, Holly is the assistant to Dr Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell), a discredit scientist who believes in Time travel. They, along with Will (Danny McBride), the redneck manager of a cheesy amusement park, are transported to a strange land where they encounter dinosaurs, the reptilian Sleestaks and the weird ape-boy Chaka.

It was pretty cool that you got to speak in your own accent in this.

Anna Friel © Universal Pictures
Anna Friel © Universal Pictures

I know, they wrote the character as a Brit from the very beginning. At my audition both Will and Brad said, ‘We want you to speak the way you do, because we like the sound of it, it gives a gruff, butch-ness to the character.’ Speaking in my own accent was quite scary to be honest, because I usually hide it, not hide it but it totally separates you from the character you’re playing because you don’t hear yourself, so at first it was quite vulnerable making, and then I settled into it and I found it quite liberating.

In this version Chaka is a little touchy-feely, did you have to slap him off of you?

Jorma [Taccone, who plays Chaka] introduced a lot more of it than was in the original script. It made me laugh, and I thought, ‘Well, okay, if I’m laughing at it and it’s my breast that’s being fondled then it’s alright.’ I think it’s a really funny part when Will tells Chaka to go f**k himself. It’s quite bold. I just like the idea of mixing Sid and Marty Krofft with Will Farrell.

When I visited the set you had hurt your ankle, were there a lot of injuries because of the stunts?

I did hurt my ankle when we were in the vines and they were swinging. That was about a week of being in harnesses. Will and I were having problems breathing, so we had to take a half an hour breaks because we thought we were going to have an aneurysm.

The movie is a lot more raunchy than the TV series.

Arrival... © Universal Pictures
Arrival... © Universal Pictures

They always told me that they wanted a PG-13, and knowing Will Ferrell comedies, it’s not that straight down the line all round family comedy. It’s got that naughtiness, which I think makes it fun and interesting. I love it when Will was dumping urine over his head. It just went on and on. I was like, ‘Right, it’s got to stop now,’ and he just kept doing it, and I thought, ‘Please, stop, because I’m going to piss in my pants with laughter. I’ll be able to help you out with the old urine in a minute, Will.’

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.