Will Arnett and Amy Poehler are undoubtedly one of the funniest couples in Hollywood and they teamed up together in Paramount Pictures’ hilarious new comedy Blades of Glory. In the film, Stranz (Arnett) and Fairchild (Poehler) are the proud reigning champions in pairs’ figure skating, that is until Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) and Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) join their category and create some serious competition for the brother and sister team. While Michaels and MacElroy aren’t as experienced as the leading victors, they cause enough rivalry to where everyone is forced to step up their game and it’s an all out war for winning the gold.
ComingSoon.net caught up with Arnett and Poehler in Los Angeles recently and quickly discovered that their off screen chemistry is just as comical and entertaining as it is on camera.
Comingsoon.net: Have you worked together before? Amy Poehler: We did briefly on “Arrested Development,” I did a couple of episodes of that, Will’s show on Fox, but no, not really other than this film we’ve done a few other little things here and there, but nothing in this capacity. We’ve never played brother and sister before, I’ll tell you that.
CS: He could skate and you can’t? Poehler: That’s right, I couldn’t.
CS: Did you help her or did you just let her fall down? Will Arnett: I think I helped. I tried to be a positive influence as much as I could. Poehler: Yup, there’s a lot of trash talking going on between us and Ferrell and Heder, so we had to stay a team. Arnett: We let our skating do the talking, right? Poehler: Right, yeah, sure. If that’s the case then I have a terrible speech impediment. Arnett: That’s not true. Amy learned to skate basically, you’d skated a few times before, but essentially learned how to skate for the movie and did a really good job. Poehler: Thank you.
CS: Did you guys get this together, or did one of you get on first and then the other? Poehler: We came in pretty much the same time. We woke up one morning and there was a tap at our window… Arnett: A really lonely tap… Poehler: Yup, it was a really quiet, lonely tap, and we looked out at Will Ferrell in his bathrobe crying… Arnett: Streaming, holding the script. Poehler: And he said, “If you don’t do this, it isn’t going to happen.” Arnett: Please, yeah, please. Begged us to do the movie, and we said, “We’re going to need three weeks. We need three weeks to think about this.” Poehler: Our salary came out of his pocket. Arnett: We demanded that, we wanted him to really feel it.
CS: What was it like meeting Scott Hamilton? Poehler: It was exciting. Arnett: It was very exciting. Poehler: I grew up watching skating all the time in the Olympic stuff, and he’s a delight. Have you guys met him? He’s a delight. Arnett: He really is, and he also lends an air of legitimacy to what we do, potentially he’s a piece of insurance that will prevent us from being assassinated by the skating community. Poehler: Yes, I will put Hamilton up against anybody, any day. Arnett: Well, we shouldn’t be putting him up against anybody. Poehler: But I would love to watch him fight someone. Arnett: Okay, we don’t need to have some sort of fight pit with Scott Hamilton. Poehler: It’s a good idea.
CS: Did you guys base your characters on anybody you might have seen in the skating world? Poehler: We did actually, we kind of based our I know I based the character of Fairchild on like those really put together, almost like prima ballerinas or gymnasts, like really focused gymnasts, or like the ladies on the top of cakes.
CS: What about those costumes? Poehler: Aren’t they insane?
CS: Did they feel just ridiculous or did your character think they were wonderful? Poehler: Always, our characters in this film always think that they’re on, always think that someone’s watching, hoping someone’s watching. Arnett: Even at home. Poehler: Yup, even at home. And so every time we put one of those on, including our hip-hop outfits, really off the mark, we thought they were hip-hop, they were really off the mark, so they always believed that they looked pretty good.
CS: Did you have spandex fittings? Poehler: The gentlemen had more spandex in many ways than the ladies, which is a nice twist, isn’t it? Usually the ladies have the spandex. We did a lot of fittings and I had costumes that plugged in and jingled and jangled. Arnett: The costuming on the movie was very elaborate and at a certain stage when we were getting ready, before we started shooting, they were doing camera tests and things like that, and we realized after having watched the Olympics that you can’t go too far in this area. Nothing is over the top. Poehler: We had to pump it up… Arnett: It really needed to be pumped up, and that’s how we ended up going to the place with the so called hip-hop outfits or the Marilyn and JFK. Poehler: And Julie Weiss, the costume designer, she’s amazing, she’s also worked on such amazing stuff as Brazil, and she gives you an example of actually out there… Arnett: Truly just eccentric and really thinks outside of whatever the box is in, it’s outside of that.
CS: Did you have a favorite? Poehler: I don’t know, I kind of liked my hip-hop outfit the best just because it was disgusting. Arnett: I liked the JFK and Marilyn stuff too though. Poehler: Yeah, and you got to wear a little JFK skirt, didn’t you? Arnett: I did, JFK was a one piece, except for in order to achieve the bottom of the suit jacket, I had to wear essentially what amounted to skirt that I clipped around as the last piece. Poehler: So every morning before he’d start working you’d clip on your skirt, like you guys do, you clip on your skirt and you started your day. Arnett: It’s not emasculating at all.
CS: Was there a full routine for JFK and Marilyn? Poehler: Yes, there was, and I’m hoping that it will be on the DVD as an extra.
CS: You shot the whole routine? Arnett: We shot bigger pieces than ended up in the movie. Poehler: And then we’re going to tour with it too. The studio doesn’t know that yet. Arnett: We’re here promoting the tour as well. How many nations are there 185 or something, we’re doing all of them, we’re doing every country.
CS: Did anyone get hurt, were there any injuries? Poehler: No, no injuries, except for some bruised egos. Arnett: Oh man, that is juicy Poehler: Just some broken hearts and bruised egos. No, luckily, knock on wood.
CS: With a film like this there is usually a lot of stuff that gets edited out, besides the dance sequence was there a sequence that you were heartbroken that it was cut out? Poehler: We did get to do a lot of stuff, a lot of stuff that I remember being genius, do you? But we got to play around a lot, we improvised a lot of stuff too so that was fun. Arnett: There are always going to be things that you do that when you see the final cut of the movie that you miss, and “Blades of Glory” is not about our journey, so… Poehler: Speak for yourself. Arnett: Obviously it is, but I have to say that. Poehler: Every time that we’d do something funny Ferrell would accidentally like hit the camera or lose the film. Arnett: Hot coffee all over everything.
CS: Amy, how do you like taking over the update desk? Poehler: I’ve loved it. You know, I took it over two years ago, if you can believe it. When I came in with Tina, I guess that was two years ago, and then, yeah, and then she left, when was it, last year and it’s such a daze. But it’s been really fun this year with Seth Meyers and we’ve been having a really great time. I think it’s been a great season.
CS: What’s it like when you have a host that is there more for ratings than for comedy. Poehler: Who are these hosts who are there for ratings?
CS: Let’s just say Paris Hilton, for example. Is there a difference when you guys are preparing the show? Poehler: You know there isn’t because we have such a short amount of time to do the show, it really is old school variety show, about a week to prepare and get it up, and so it’s its own kind of force that show that carries you along whether you’re ready for it or not. No, the show really isn’t any different, I like to think of the show is also about the cast as well as the host, and I think that the cast and the writers are really amazing, so it’s not really different.
CS: Was there any time when you were doing this film that you just couldn’t get through a scene because you couldn’t stop laughing? Arnett: Not once. Poehler: [Laughs] Arnett: I have to be honest with you. Poehler: We did a scene, the scene where we’re all in this room when we’re giving our sister advice. Ferrell was off camera doing the other side of the phone call. Arnett: He’d clearly been drinking. Poehler: Clearly, and it was early. Arnett: Yeah, it was early. Poehler: It was like 8AM. Arnett: No, seriously, he was there on the other side of the room. Poehler: So that was really fun because we got to improvise together and get ready for whatever because they hadn’t shot his side yet.
CS: Was there a lot of improv? Poehler: There was. Arnett: There was. Yeah. Poehler: There was a good amount, yeah, and Will is such a great improviser. Will and I would just come to set, we’d take the script, we’d throw it up in the air. [Laughs] Arnett: [Laughs] Yeah, they’d arrive on set, they’d hand you the script, and I’d say, “No thank you.” Poehler: I’ve got it all right here. [Laughs] Arnett: Yeah.
CS: Was that kiss your idea? Poehler: Those were doubles. Those were kiss doubles. Arnett: Those were doubles we used. We don’t kiss on film. Poehler: We don’t kiss on film. We just keep it for at home. But our doubles did a really good job. Arnett: Really good. Believable. Poehler: Yeah, they did a really good job.
CS: Are you also doing the voice of Snow White? Poehler: Yes, in “Shrek” and I’m playing her very bossy.
CS: Are you doing the Disney version? Poehler: No, I thought the take on it for me would be that Snow White seems to have a lot of people under her that she’s in charge of, so I thought she would be a little Type A. She kinda tells it like it is and she bosses everybody around. And also the rest of the ladies are Maya Rudolph. I forget which character she is. Rapunzel, I think. And Cheri Oteri and Amy Sedaris and we all play the crazy princess friends. Yeah, it’ll be fun.
CS: Can you each tell us something shocking about each other that audiences would not know about you? And not necessarily true. Poehler: Yes, thank you. No, do you think I’m going to tell you the truth? Arnett: Amy can shoot a 3 point shot. She can sink it 9 times out of 10. Poehler: Yup. And Will has the ability to fly. Arnett: Yeah. Poehler: A lot of people don’t know and which you keep under wraps. Arnett: Well, because just for security and military reasons. I’ve done a lot of work with the military and I’m not really at liberty to talk about special ops stuff and I can’t really say where in the Middle East. And you woke up safe this morning. You’re welcome. That’s all I can say. This interview is over.
CS: Is it more fun to play the bad guys? Poehler: It is more fun. Arnett: It is. Poehler: It’s way more fun to be evil. What was fun about our stuff was that we had to look like from the outside that we were all sweet but inside we were rotten to the core. That was really fun to play. I think Fairchild is kind of mean to Stranz too during the film. It was really fun to play the bad guy because as a woman sometimes you don’t get to do that. Arnett: Nice. Poehler: Nice.
CS: When you came out on the ice in the stadium, what did that feel like? Poehler: It was really scary. We were nervous the night before. We were joking that it was the “Movie Olympics.” We have such respect for the real skaters because it is so terrifying. We couldn’t even imagine. Arnett: They’re incredible athletics. Poehler: Going out there and doing that and not being able to screw up and start again. I can’t even imagine. Arnett: And as a kid who grew up in Canada, coming out into an arena on skates was just so awesome. It’s like a dream come true. Every day I got to go work at a rink. Poehler: We did have a little thing the night before. We were like “We can do this. It’s going to be really great tomorrow”. We had to psych ourselves up a little bit for it. Arnett: Yeah. And we sacrificed a goat. Poehler: And we did. Ten. But it was a Saturday. Arnett: It was a cute goat. Poehler: It was a Saturday. Arnett: It was so cute. Poehler: We always do that on Saturdays.
CS: How was it spending all day working together and then going home? Poehler: Well, when we got home, [laughs] we’d just go through a very intense ritual of cleansing ourselves of our characters. Arnett: Yeah. Poehler: And every day Will and I would go into different decompression chambers until we worked it out. Arnett: Well we sleep in decompression chambers at our house. Poehler: Uh huh. Arnett: It was fun for us because Amy works on her show and for the last few years I’ve been working on “Arrested Development,” and then a year ago or whenever it was that we started shooting this movie, we had the opportunity to work for much, much more. Poehler: I think we started shooting this movie ten years ago. Arnett: Ten years ago. Yeah. Ten years ago this April. We had the opportunity to work together every day so that was kind of great. Poehler: Creepy. Arnett: Creepy. Awesomely creepy. Poehler: Awesomely creepy. Arnett: Yes.
CS: Amy, are you looking for a full time movie career? Poehler: I thought you were going to say full time job. I am definitely looking for a full time job. Arnett: That would’ve been rude. Poehler: I’ve got one more year at SNL and I’m hopefully going to be doing some stuff this summer. Do you have a full time movie career that you’re offering me? Because I’ll take it. I have my resume [pretends to reach for resume].
CS: Can you talk about your Nickelodeon Show? Poehler: Yeah, it’s called the “Mighty B.” It’s about a little skateboarding girl in San Francisco and she’s a Girl Scout and she lives with her hippie single mom. When she dreams about being a superhero, she dreams about being this thing called the “Mighty B.” She’s part of the Honey Bees Troup so she dreams about turning into a superhero. It’s really, really great and I’ve got great people doing it. Nickelodeon is really excited about it and I think it’s excellent. The creators — myself, Cynthia True and Erik Wiese — worked on “SpongeBob” and “The Fairly Odd Parents” and a bunch of those shows so I’m very lucky to be working with them.
CS: Do you do the voiceover? Poehler: Yeah, I’m the voice of her. Her name is Bessie Higgenbottom and she’s really cute. Yeah, it’ been super fun. I just wanted to do something positive for girls that doesn’t involve being boy crazy or being mean to each other. It’s kind of the opposite of that.