Jeffrey M. Anderson’s 400 Screens, 400 Blows — Will’s Way

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I worry sometimes about Will Ferrell. His newest film, Blades of Glory (242 screens) was another critical and financial hit, so that's not the problem. He has also managed to concretely establish his own comic persona, one that seems remarkably adaptable to different kinds of movies, so that's not the problem either. The main problem is that he has made so many movies in so little time; since Old School and Elf in 2003, he has appeared in thirteen movies. To the public eye, he's refining his craft and expanding his repertoire, but in private I suspect he's panicking, or perhaps obsessively searching for something.

I met Ferrell once, and we had a very revealing talk. I'm not claiming to know him, but he told me something that I suspect most movie stars go through; they wonder if they really deserve this kind of treatment and success. They suspect that, at any moment, they'll be discovered and exposed. He could be afraid, if he stops working for even a short time, that someone will fire him from his job. But in just a few years, Ferrell's unique, irreplaceable comic persona has fully emerged. In our interview, he told me that he used to be a field goal kicker for his school football team, which required him to do one task extremely well; it took a serious amount of concentration. He said that he discovered a private place wherein he could retreat during his kicks that he more or less still uses today for his performances.

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