About The Production
It's Step-Dad vs. Dad - and Will Ferrell vs. Mark Wahlberg - in this rollicking
holiday season family comedy about a mild-mannered radio executive who must take
on the ultimate "dad-versary" when his wife's motorcycle-riding, freewheeling,
secret operative ex breezes back into town. It's just one proud papa meeting
another - what could possibly go wrong? But what is supposed to be a first
get-to-know-you meeting turns into all-out warfare as the two polar opposites
attempt to out-dad each other, with hilarious and disastrous results. The stakes
keep rising - from puppies to ponies to Kobe - but can they both survive the
rivalry? Step-dad Brad just wants to be there for his new family, but he has no
idea just how much it's going to take to win their hearts when "Daddy's Home."
For the filmmakers, "Daddy's Home" was a chance to embrace a modern comic
sensibility while getting to the heart of what brings modern families together.
"What excited us is that this is a comedy dynamic we haven't seen on screen
before: a biological dad who comes along and messes with the life of a
step-dad," sums up star and producer Will Ferrell.
Ferrell continues: "There are so many blended families today that it's something
a lot of people will relate to and it was great fun to explore that comedically.
We also turn the tables on the clichÃ© of the 'evil step-dad.' My character,
Brad, is the sweetest guy ever and so into being a parent he just craves his
kids' approval - but then his wife's ex Dusty comes along and pushes every one
of Brad's buttons."
Paramount Pictures and Red Granite Pictures present a Gary Sanchez production of
"Daddy's Home," starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg and Linda Cardellini. The
film is directed by Sean Anders from a story by Brian Burns and a screenplay by
Brian Burns and Sean Anders & John Morris. The producers are Will Ferrell, Adam
McKay, Chris Henchy and John Morris and the executive producers are Riza Aziz,
Joey McFarland, David Koplan, Kevin Messick, Jessica Elbaum, Sean Anders and
"Daddy's Home" co-stars Hannibal Buress, Thomas Haden Church, Bobby Cannavale,
Paul Scheer, Bill Burr along with Scarlett Estevez and Owen Wilder Vacarro as
Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg's shared kids.
The behind-the-scenes team includes cinematographer Julio Macat ("Wedding
Crashers," "Horrible Bosses 2"), production designer Clayton Hartley ("Anchorman
2: The Legend of Ron Burgundy"), editors Eric Kissack ("The Dictator," "Horrible
Bosses 2") and Brad Wilhite, costume designer Carol Ramsay ("Meet the Fockers,"
"Horrible Bosses" and "Horrible Bosses 2") and music by Michael Andrews
("Bridesmaids," "Jeff Who Lives At Home").
There are certain intimidating meetings every person dreads- meeting the
in-laws, the boss, a blind date and perhaps the most stomach-knotting meeting of
all: getting acquainted with your spouse's ex, especially when he's the father
of the step-children you're trying your best to win over. This is taken to
turbo-charged proportions in "Daddy's Home," as determined-to-charm-the-children
stepdad Brad encounters his kids' biological father for the first time - and
discovers that he just happens to be the world's coolest dad who can seemingly
out-fight any foe, out-fix any household project and out-captivate any human
being, including the family that Brad will stop at nothing to keep.
Director and co-writer Sean Anders ("We're The Millers," "Horrible Bosses 2"),
says of the story: "'Daddy's Home' is about a doting, loving stepfather who
wants more than anything just to be a good dad to his stepchildren. When their
biological father re-enters the picture, this guy is any ordinary dad's worst
nightmare. Will Ferrell's character, Brad, is a great guy and Mark Wahlberg's
character, Dusty, is an unimaginably cool, slick and handsome badass. He's so
damned awesome that Brad immediately goes into a tailspin of insecurity.
Meanwhile, Dusty, sensing his anxiety, uses it to his advantage. Yet they both
really want the same thing: to win the love of their family."
The idea behind "Daddy's Home" began, as many of the funniest ideas do, with a
real-life scenario from hell: producer and co-writer Brian Burns' first step-dad
adventures and encounter with his own wife's alarmingly alluring ex. The concept
of an ordinary but devoted step-dad waging a no-holds-battle against a daunting
super-dad for his family's affections struck an instant comedic nerve with
Anders and his long-time writing partner John Morris.
Known for such broadly appealing comic hits as "Hot Tub Time Machine," "Dumb and
Dumber To," "We're The Millers" and "Horrible Bosses 2," Anders and Morris,
joining with Burns, found themselves crafting scenes that kept cranking up the
comic stakes to outrageous proportions as the two men each vie to become the
most illustrious and flawless father imaginable, no holds barred.
But the project really took off with excitement as the filmmakers began
imagining the ultimate odd-couple pairing for the film's two dad-versaries.
When Gary Sanchez Productions - the company operated by Will Ferrell and Adam
McKay -came aboard, it became clear that Ferrell would take one ... or the other
... of the intriguingly slapstick roles. But who would be his foil? Minds reeled
at the possibilities, and then came an answer that had everyone grinning in
anticipation: two-time Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg, best known for a roster of
tough-talking and searingly intense characters in major dramas. Ferrell and
Wahlberg had previously starred together as NYPD partners in "The Other Guys";
but this film would do the opposite: pitting them against each other for the
first time, mano-a-mano, with all of Ferrell's bumbling likeability up against
Wahlberg's charisma and physical prowess.
Recalls Ferrell: "In the beginning, there were a lot of different discussions
about whether I would even play Dusty or Brad. But things really came to life
when Mark's name came up; and we knew instantly he was Dusty. Mark is just one
of those people who doesn't ever have to worry about looking or acting cool. He
was just born that way, while the rest of us have to spend our entire lives
trying to do what comes naturally to him. Mark brought all that to Dusty. He's
the man who has already has a perfectly faded leather jacket in his closet. It's
not something he bought at Banana Republic to try to look cool. And every
morning, Mark is already doing a 2-hour workout while I'm still in REM sleep."
Adds Wahlberg: "I jumped at the opportunity because there are not too many guys
out there like Will who are that uniquely funny and talented. We had an absolute
blast when we worked together before. Yet I also thought in this story, we could
have a very funny and different dynamic than hasn't been seen before. Will and I
love to throw as many curve balls as we can at each other so that was going to
work great for these guys taking their one-upping game to the nth degree."
The yin and yang of the Ferrell-Wahlberg chemistry not only played perfectly
into the epic antagonism of "Daddy's Home" - but also into its exploration of
what makes a great father, no matter what skills you have. "Will is like a
housecat while Mark is a lion," laughs Anders. "Yet those manly-men who drive
motorcycles aren't necessarily the world's greatest dads. They can be. But in
this case, you come to see that even though Dusty appears to be naturally cool
and good at everything ... in his heart, he's actually a little terrified of the
responsibility of being a father - and that's where Brad has him beat. Really,
both characters are motivated by wanting to be loved their children and I think
that's something everyone can relate to."
That larger-than-life but relatable comic chemistry was clear from the first
time the duo appeared in character together. "On the very first day that we did
camera tests, Mark and Will came in, stood next to each other and already
everybody was laughing," recalls Anders. "They inhabited these opposites so well
that we were off to a great start before we even rolled the cameras."
For Ferrell and Wahlberg, part of the draw was that neither dad or step-dad in
this case is an out-and-out villain - they're just competitors going to
unchecked extremes in every domestic duty imaginable to enrapture the family
they share in common.
"What I love is that, in the end, 'Daddy's Home' is not so much about one guy
winning," concludes Wahlberg. "It starts out that way but I think you kind of
come to hope that both these guys can find a way to be in their kids' lives. In
a way, they learn to bring out the best in each other."
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