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STRANGER THAN FICTION

Will Ferrell Meets Harold Crick
"It's not schizophrenia…It's just a voice in my head. I mean the voice isn't telling me to do anything, it's telling me what I've already done. Accurately, and with a better vocabulary.” -- Harold Crick

Harold Crick is the foundation on which the entire structure of STRANGER THAN FICTION is built, and that rare comedic character whose story involves an almost spiritual quest. So, from the beginning, the filmmakers of STRANGER THAN FICTION knew that the casting of Harold Crick was of paramount importance to the success of the film. Harold is the kind of anonymous guy you might pass on the street without noticing, but underneath his almost drab exterior is a soul bursting with emotional colors and desires and dreams that he has never allowed himself to face – and quite likely never would have faced were it not for the strange sequence of events that befall him.

Enter Will Ferrell, the former "Saturday Night Live” star who has transformed himself into a top-flight comedic leading man in such motion pictures as ELF, OLD SCHOOL, ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY and TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY. Ferrell had never tackled anything remotely like STRANGER THAN FICTION before, but after the filmmakers met with him, they couldn't imagine anyone else in the role.

"When I met Will Ferrell, I sensed a man who was very humble, very smart, very down-to-earth and very introverted – and I instantly knew he was Harold Crick,” says Forster. "I felt very lucky because Will brought the very same vision of Harold I had in my head fully to life. He has a natural gift that allows him to do things in this film that no one has seen him do before — subtle comedy and equally subtle drama. He approached the role soulfully and yet made Harold feel like a real human being, not just a screen character. I don't believe there is anyone who could have brought all those nuances to the role.”

Adds Doran: "You had to have an actor in this role you'd really believe as an IRS agent, a charismatic actor who didn't feel too much like a glamorous movie star. What's wonderful about Will is that he's so completely believable in this world. In spite of all the extroversion we've seen in his other films, he really is this shy, self-effacing character, and he makes Harold so funny and so moving.”

Though Ferrell's life would seem to have little in common with the regimented, colorless life of a tax auditor, the actor says he felt an immediate sense of kinship to Harold Crick. "There is something about Harold's quiet solitude and the way he has to step outside of that to really live his life for the first time that completely resonated with me, because I have that kind of quiet side, too, and I need that kind of impetus to step out of it.”

Also, Ferrell admits, he relished the challenge of transforming himself into the mild-mannered Harold Crick. "Almost everything I've done so far has been out- and-out straight comedy. This was a big change, not to mention that it's one of the best scripts I'd ever read. It examines big themes with beautiful touches of humanity and humor.”

To achieve the out-of-the-ordinary experience of being Harold Crick, Ferrell traced the evolution of the feelings the character might undergo upon discovering that he is "being followed by a woman's voice” – from comic shock to deep despair to a determination to try to change his fate. "I think, at the start, Harold is generally freaked out by the whole thing,” laughs Ferrell. "He's worried, upset and doesn't know what to think, because he's not sure if what's happening to him is real or not. His reactions are typical of those most of us would have. The comedy comes from his attempts to maintain his composure so no one thinks he's crazy.”

On set, Ferrell was able to literally re-create the experience of having a vo

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