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Will Ferrell reflects on career at A Life in Pictures BAFTA event

A Life In Pictures: Will Ferrell

Story by Jack Foley

WILL Ferrell had cinema-goers in London enthralled on Tuesday night (October 4, 2011) when the Vue Leicester Square hosted the BAFTA event A Life In Pictures: Will Ferrell followed by an advanced screening of his new film Everything Must Go (in cinemas October 14).

The live Q&A retrospective look at Will’s career was sent live via satellite to Vue cinemas across the country and looked back at his work from Saturday Night Live to Elf and Anchorman, right up to his latest film Everything Must Go.

Commenting on his latest, which marks a rare outing into more serious territory for the actor, he said: “Everything Must Go dares to be ambiguous leaving questions unanswered. So many films spell it out for the audience these days.

“It’s such a great script, I couldn’t help but wonder ‘why did they give it to me!’”

In the film, Ferrell plays Nick Porter, who sells “salesmanship” for a living, but whose days of being on top of his game are long gone. After delivering an inspiring presentation to his sales staff, Nick is summarily fired for falling off the wagon one last time.

He then returns home to discover his wife has left him, changed the locks on their suburban home and dumped all his possessions out on the front yard. Faced with his life imploding, Nick puts it all on the line, or more accurately, on the lawn.

But while certainly more dramatic, Everything Must Go also relies on his comedic ability, something Ferrell says he was keen to explore right from his days doing stand-up.

“I tried stand up but I knew I was a comedic actor. I need a dramatic context. I make people laugh through character,” he explained, before revealing that he learned his comedy skills by joining college improv group The Groundlings.

“It was my training ground for Saturday Night Live.”

Analysing his particular brand of comedy still further, Ferrell told audiences: “An important part of comedy is danger. I like adding extra layers and juxtapositions that you might not notice on a first viewing.”

That said, he credits UK viewers with embracing Anchorman and Ron Burgundy more quickly than his US followers, saying: “It confirmed we had made something unique and special.”

Turning to another of his favourites, Elf, he said: “When I was running around in an elf costume I thought, ‘is my career over?’ But people really took it to their hearts.”

View photos from the BAFTA event