A Chat with the Cast and Crew of “Casa de mi Padre” – Will Ferrell, Diego Luna, Génesis Rodríguez, Nick Offerman and writer Andrew Steele

Be sure to check out our 5 Questions interview with the beautiful and talented Génesis Rodríguez to read how she learned to cry on command!

Everyone in show business knows that comedy is hard. Apparently, however, it’s not hard enough for Will Ferrell. The SNL-bred all around comic superstar decided sometime ago he wanted to make a film in Spanish. He didn’t know what the movie would be about, but one thing was clear, the far from fluent Farrell would need to learn his part semi-phonetically, which by all accounts is every bit as difficult to do as you might imagine.

With the help of writer Andrew Steele and first-time feature director Matt Piedmont, that movie evolved into “Casa de mi Padre” (“House of My Father”). A broad but reasonably affectionate and detail-oriented spoof of telenovelas and Mexican and American exploitation movies, the film stars Farrell in one of his best performances yet as the 100% virtuous Armando Alvarez. Armando’s unwavering good guy nature is tested by the disrespect of his wealthy patriarch dad (the late Pedro Armendáriz Jr.) as well as the fact that his beloved brother, Raul (Diego Luna), has become a powerful narco at war with the ultra villainous La Onza (Gael García Bernal). Even more challenging is the increasingly melodramatic mutual attraction betwixt Armando and Raul’s fiercely stunning fiancée, Sonia (Génesis Rodríguez).

Bullz-Eye was fortunate enough to meet with several members of the cast and crew one day earlier this month. Along with comedy superstar Ferrell, we met with Latin-American heart-throb and respected U.S. actor Diego Luna, who may still be best known stateside for co-starring in 2001′s hyper-sexual “Y Tu Mamá También” with real-life lifelong best pal and “Casa” co-narco Gael García Bernal. Also along for the ride was fast rising comic actor Nick Offerman of “Parks and Recreation,” who portrays a bigoted DEA Agent. To discuss behind-the-camera matters we also spoke with screenwriter Andrew Steele (“The Ladies Man”). Also present at the event was the beguiling Génesis Rodríguez, who is the subject of a separate “5 Questions” feature.

Below are some highlights of the rather freewheeling discussions.

Will Ferrell on how “Casa de mi Padre” came to be.

I had always thought that it could be interesting to put myself in the middle of a Spanish language movie and fully commit to speaking Spanish. That heightened world of the telenovela meets the bad Mexican spaghetti western — all of that seemed like it could be a recipe for a type of movie you hadn’t seen before.

Diego Luna on his opinion of Will Ferrell’s Spanish.

He sounds perfect. You understand everything, basically. I was very worried. Forty days before we started shooting, I sat down in a bar with him and the director and he knew no Spanish at all. He couldn’t speak it.

He said, “Yeah, well, I’m gonna try.” Thirty days later he gave this two-minute monologue and, in fact, he makes sense. He understands what he’s saying. That was impressive, and [it was also] very impressive that two weeks after he forgot everything.

Will Ferrell on learning his lines in Spanish

Patrick Perez, who translated the script from English into Spanish, I kind of got to know him and he said, “Hey, I’m willing to work with you on your Spanish if you want.” I said “That’d be great.” We just started working about a month to six weeks out in front of the movie, meeting three or four times a week. Once we started filming, we would drive to the set every day and drive home every day. In the morning, [we'd] work on the scene or scenes for that day. On the way home, [we'd] start to work on the next day, to try to just embed it into my brain.

Every day I finished I felt like I’d wrapped an entire movie. It was just “Groundhog Day.” Diego and I laugh about because he improvised every take and I had no idea. “Okay, he’s finished? Now, I go.”

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The Man Who Would Be Edgar Pudwacker: Matt Damon’s 15 Funniest Appearances

On March 12th, Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass will be together again in theaters for their latest action thriller, “Green Zone,” a film set in the chaotic early days of the Iraqi War when no one could be trusted and every decision could detonate unforeseen consequences. Damon and Greengrass have clearly proven that they’ve got chemistry, what with their work together on “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum,” and we’re obviously looking forward to checking it out, but…well, here’s the thing: Damon’s a great action hero, but he can be pretty hilarious, too, and “Green Zone” doesn’t exactly look like what you’d call a laff riot.

To help cleanse your palate either before or after you’ve seen the film, however, we’ve compiled 15 of our favorite occasions when Matt Damon made with the funny. Your personal mileage may vary, but we’re guessing that, at the very least, you’ll get more laughs out of these clips than you will from “Green Zone.”

(Plus, don’t forget to head over to our “Green Zone” contest, where we’re giving away an Xbox 360!)

1. Glory Daze (1996): Okay, we’ll be honest with you: Damon’s barely in this film. It’s really a vehicle for his longtime buddy, Ben Affleck, who sports some seriously douche-tastic facial hair throughout the film. Although the remarkable number of recognizable faces to be found within the cast make it worth checking out (Sam Rockwell, Alyssa Milano, Matthew McConaughey, John Rhys-Davies, Kristin Bauer, French Stewart, Brendan Fraser, Leah Remini, Meredith Salinger, Mary Woronov, and Spaulding Gray all make appearances), the predominant reason we’ve included “Glory Daze” – which is, for the record, explores the hesitation all college graduates experience before entering the real world – is because no matter how many films he may eventually have to his credit, Matt Damon should never be allowed to escape the fact that, even though it was only for a few fleeting moments, he once played a character named Edward Pudwacker.

2. Dogma (1999): Kevin Smith movies aren’t generally where one goes to find eyebrow-raising theological discourse, but there are moments within this epic comedy that do indeed inspire such a reaction. Here, Damon – playing a fallen angel named Loki – proceeds to take a leisurely stroll through an airport and, in one brief conversation, casually destroy everything this poor nun has ever believed in. Why? “I just love to fuck with the clergy,” he says. “I love to keep those guys on their toes.”

3. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001): It’s not quite on the level of Buck Henry pitching a sequel to “The Graduate,” but watching Gus Van Sant counting his money as he makes “Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season” is still pretty funny.

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