Will Ferrell

Old School

Interviewed by Alana Lee

Will Ferrell is a household face in America thanks to his numerous performances in TV institution Saturday Night Live. He's now trying to make it in the movies. You may have seen his wonderfully over-the-top fashion designer Jacobin Mugatu in "Zoolander", and you'll see a whole lot more of him in campus comedy "Old School"...

What can you tell us about your character in "Old School"?

Frank is a guy who's fighting against where he thinks he belongs. He's a little bit of a lost soul who, in a weird way, finds a home with this thing, this fraternity, they start. I think his main thing is his friendship with Beanie [Vince Vaughn] and Mitch [Luke Wilson].

Your predecessor on Saturday Night Live, John Belushi, starred in "Animal House", which is a minor classic. How do you feel about comparisons between the two movies?

The one thing about "Animal House" is that you actually believe those characters exist, and that's one of the main things we wanted to establish with this film. We wanted you to really believe that these guys are friends, rather than just characters set up as a conduit to a series of funny things that happen. It's what attracted the three of us to the material in the first place, that there was a little more behind the characters than just going from one funny scene to the other.

How much of the movie was improvised?

We had a lot of improvisation between us. That was kind of the dynamic we had going between the three of us, and I think that translates well on the screen. I was the only one who was actually in a fraternity, so obviously I had lived some form or variation of what you see. I had also run naked before, sadly enough. I was able to draw on that sort of thing.

So you didn't mind being naked on screen?

You might not believe this, but I really don't believe in doing something if it's just for the sake of doing it. This character streaking was the result of falling off the wagon. The fact that it made sense was the reason I was really into doing it, and why I was able to commit on that level. If it was just for the sake of doing a crazy shot, then I don't think it makes sense. With that being said, I've always been somewhat fearless and I don't why. I just always have.