The front of the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre was transformed into what looked to be the end of a political campaign trail for the Thursday premiere of The Campaign starring comedic heavyweights Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. The star arrivals were accented with red, white and blue balloons formed in arches over the red carpet, which stretched down the street at the Hollywood and Highland Center.
Audience members could even pick up pins and large foam thumbs featuring the names of Marty Huggins and Cam Brady, the two fictional political candidates of the Warner Bros. comedy directed by Jay Roach. The film was well received by a packed theater consistently laughing and applauding throughout.
The premiere and after-party drew the film’s stars, Galifianakis and Ferrell, along with co-stars Dylan McDermott, Jack McBrayer and John Lithgow. Other stars attended, as well, including Adam Scott, Molly Shannon, Lizzy Caplan and Harry Shum, Jr. of Glee.
The movie follows the rivalry campaign for congressman between candidates Brady and Huggins fittingly in a year that includes a real life presidential campaign. Director Roach noted the release of the film on this particular year was no mistake.
“We took a lot of what was happening in the presidential campaign and updated our script as we went along,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
Having helmed both HBO’s Recount (2008) and Game Change (2011), Roach is no stranger to sharp political commentary.
“I took the research from those movies to inform this one and put it to use in an obviously exaggerated way,” he said.
For Roach, the line between humor and politics is thin, and writers Chris Henchy and Shawn Harwell agreed the timing of the movie’s release was meant to not only tie in with but also poke fun at the presidential campaign currently underway. “Real life is crazy in politics right now,” Harwell noted.
Henchy is tied to the comedy video website, “Funny or Die,” created by Ferrell and Adam McKay (who has credit for The Campaign’s story), and told THR how getting Ferrell and Galifianakis in a major movie together was the next step in a natural progression considering their “Funny or Die” work.
“We said, we have to get these guys in a movie together,” Henchy said. “They’re both amazing and hilarious.”
Harwell of HBO’s Eastbound and Down said he felt like the freshman of the group with Henchy, Ferrell and McKay who all previously collaborated on the buddy cop comedy The Other Guys. He recalled working on the film as a great learning experience.
“It was about seeing which jokes were the best. (Will and Zach) are so generous, too, and were always open to new input.”
The Campaign opens in wide release on August 10.