“Of all the things you can win an Oscar for, how surprised are you that you won one for acting?” Zach Galifianakis asks Matthew McConaughey with a deadpan gaze. Between Two Ferns is back...and Galifianakis’s mock talk show is bigger and more insulting than ever.
The film version of the hit Funny or Die video series, in which the Hangover alum plays a small-town public-access TV-show host who asks celebrity guests obnoxious questions, debuts on Netflix Friday. This time around, there’s a new premise, new cast members, and new celeb interviews, as well as a few old favorites back for more punishment.
Rather than filming in the confines of Galifianakis’s fern-stacked studio this go-round, he and the show’s crew (a tiny, but fierce new squad of three — producer Lauren Lapkus, boom operator Jiavani Linayao, and cameraman Ryan Gaul) hit the road to round up celeb interviews around the country after disaster strikes at the station and they stand to lose their show for good.
At the premiere for the mockumentary at ArcLight Studios in Hollywood, Calif. Monday, we got the lowdown on five things know before you Netflix and chill with the hilarious 88-minute film this weekend.
1. Will Ferrell returns
In the Funny or Die series, Ferrell sits down for an interview with Galifianakis as himself (it’s touted as one of the show’s best moments), but in the film, Ferrell plays a flashy, semi-evil Funny or Die head honcho with a thing for cocaine and putting down Galifianakis. Post-disaster at the TV station, Ferrell and Galifianakis strike a deal: If Galifianakis can interview 10 celebs in two weeks, he’ll not only get to keep his program, but he’ll also land his own network talk show — his childhood dream.
2. Chrissy Teigen has a steamy scene...and it’s not with John Legend
The husband-and-wife duo were all smiles as they hit the premiere's red carpet hand-in-hand, with Teigen stunning in a bejeweled Vitor Zerbinato dress with a coordinating blazer and metallic stilettos. But their on-screen relationship was a totally different story. Both make cameos in the film, but things take an unexpected turn when the model mom of two pops up in a bar without Legend by her side, just as Galifianakis and Lapkus spot her sipping a cocktail. A steamy scene follows that Legend isn’t in.
3. There are several celeb interviews in the film, and the cast didn’t know who they were shooting with ahead of time
Although Galifianakis was only required to turn in 10 interviews to Ferrell, there were many more celebs who went head to head with the host. Hailee Steinfeld, Keanu Reeves, Brie Larson, Thompson, McConaughey, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jon Hamm, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott, Tiffany Haddish, Chance the Rapper, Peter Dinklage, Legend, and David Letterman all make appearances for sit downs on Galifianakis’s public access show (and, spoiler alert: one of them drowns).
In regards to the star-studded guest line-up, Linayo said they had no idea who was going to show up until the day that they shot the interview. “As the person was walking in, they'd be like, oh, today is so and so. And that was fun,” she said with a laugh. “It's just like, oh, there's John Legend.”
4. There was only a “bare bones” script
The film's script was brought to life with improvisation, which is one of the reasons why improv pros Lapkus Linayao and Ryan Gaul play the leads of the film. “There were the bones of a script and then we got to play around a lot which was nice,” Linayao told InStyle. For the interviewees, though, there was little to go on. “We basically invited them there, no script, let Zach, Scott [Aukerman], and all of the talent kind of do their thing,” producer Caitlin Daley told us. “They just kind of expressed how they felt, and we were ready on a dime to do whatever they came up with.”
Tessa Thompson had quite a bit of fun with that, particularly with Linayao. “We're improvising and my character gets hit on by celebrities a lot and she likes to turn them down,” Linayao said. “We hadn't told Tessa Thompson about that. She made eyes at me during [her] scene and I totally froze. That's what's supposed to happen to my character, but because I wasn't expecting it and because it was Tessa Thompson, I was like...I short circuited,” she continued with a laugh. "I had nothing to say. I think I just walked away.”
5. There is even more comedy after the film ends
Stick around. There are outtakes as the credits roll, which show Galifianakis struggling to contain his laughter as he cracks jokes at Larsen, McConaughey, and more. It had nearly the whole premiere theater laughing out loud.
Don’t miss Between Two Ferns: The Movie when it premieres on Netflix this Friday.