Exclusive: Will Ferrell to Direct?

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A few weeks back, ComingSoon.net spoke with director Adam McKay and he told us about the HBO show he’s producing with Will Ferrell to star Danny McBride of The Foot Fist Way, which he’s doing with that movie’s co-creators Jody Hill and Ben Best. McKay mentioned that the title for the show was “Eastbound and Down” (which apparently is changing), but he didn’t mention that both he and Ferrell would be directing episodes, something ComingSoon.net learned when we sat down with McBride to talk about his two new action-comedies, Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder.

We wanted to find out a bit more about the show about the “epic downwards spiral” of a major league pitcher who loses his fastball from its star, but Ferrell making his directorial debut was the big shocker that McBride explained to us. “This is going to be the beginning for him. It’s going to be exciting, but him and McKay are going to tag team it. When they suggested that to him, I think a lot of people would be nervous, like, ‘Oh sh*t,’ but working with Will on ‘Land of the Lost,’ that dude has f*cking insane instincts, and he knows his sh*t. Will would come up with ideas in the scenes, and we’d be like, ‘God that’s such a great way to do that’ and I fully trust that he’ll be able to come in and knock it out.”

“We’re going to do a lot of improv; we did a lot on the pilot,” he continued, explaining the mindset of making the show, “We didn’t have any interest in selling it. We pitched this to all the networks, and everyone put a bid in on it, but we didn’t have any interest in making something that was twenty-four episodes or anything. We wanted to keep it small like the British comedies are, and actually on ‘Tropic Thunder’ talking to Steve Coogan about the show, his advice was to keep it small. That way you don’t have to turn the comedy into a formula, you don’t have to hire a big staff to translate what you do, and it just becomes stilted then. He said, “Keep it small, and just keep people wanting more.” And that’s really how we wanted to approach the TV show for HBO, just look at it as a chance for us to make a three-hour movie that’s going to just unfold over this many episodes, and if people like it, maybe we’ll get to make a sequel to it next season.”

McBride also told us that he’d be writing parts on the show for some of the comic stars he’s been working with in his last couple movies, which could include anyone from Ferrell to Ben Stiller to Steve Coogan to Jack Black and many others. Jody Hill directed the pilot and will do a couple more episodes, while McKay, Ferrell and Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green will be helming the rest.

In the meantime, you can see McBride in Seth Rogen’s Pineapple Express opening everywhere tomorrow, August 6, and in Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder, opening a week later on August 13, and of course, check back tomorrow for our full interview with McBride.