Aug 1, 2009
I have to admit, the first time I saw Step Brothers, my reaction was this: “Eh….”
But like all Will Ferrell movies, Step Brothers eventually wormed its way into my brain and now I love it. I felt the same way about Anchorman when I first saw it, and I really disliked Talladega Nights the first time around. Citizen Kane it’s not, but Step Brothers definitely makes me grin. Enjoy the trivia, and let me know what you think about the movie in the comments. Did you hate it or love it?
• The Director of Photography shot the Bourne films, so this is quite a departure for him, I would think.
• The driving scenes were all green screen so the actors would be free to improvise more.
• Richard Jenkins (he plays Dale’s dad) met John C. Reilly when he was only about four. He worked for Reilly’s dad when they both lived in Chicago. The “C” is for Christopher, by the way.
• The commentary was largely musical, which was weird.
• Pablo Cruise offered to play at the premiere when they saw that Will Ferrell was wearing a Pablo Cruise t-shirt in one of the trailers. Honestly, I didn’t even know that Pablo Cruise was a real band. They had a few fits in the ’70s, including “Whatcha Gonna Do?” and “Love Will Find a Way.”
• Writer/director Adam McKay says they shot something like 12 hours of the scene where the new family eats their first dinner together. Both actors commented on how sick they were of chicken nuggets and salty fast food afterward.
• Mary Steenburgen and Richard Jenkins both improvised lots of different backstories for Brennan and Dale. Neither of them were really improv pros before, even though Steenburgen is on Larry David’s unscripted Curb Your Enthusiasm on a regular basis. Steenburgen said that even though Curb is unscripted, it was actually a lot harder shooting Step Brothers. With Curb, she said, although there was no script, there was a loose plot line. Step Brothers would veer so far off of script sometimes that the plot line would take a completely different direction.
• You’d never know it to look at them, but the prosthetic testicles Will Ferrell rubs on Dale’s drums were worth $25,000. Will got to keep them as a present when the movie wrapped.
• There’s a sign for Hugalo’s Pizza in Dale’s bedroom, which is the pizza joint Ricky Bobby (played by Will Ferrell) worked at in Talladega Nights.
• The drumset obsession was based on something that really happened to John C. Reilly – one of his brothers was apparently insanely possessive over his drum set when they were growing up and Reilly (I feel like I need to call him John C. Reilly at all times) used to sneak in and use them.
• John was not supposed to throw the glasses at the windows in the kitchen scene when the stepbrothers are sleepwalking, but Adam McKay encouraged him to when the set designers weren’t listening. When he threw glasses, he actually broke real windows because they weren’t made of breakaway glass since the set wasn’t planned for that purpose. The set designers were not pleased with them.
• John C. Reilly says he had to be careful not to choke on food when they were filming that scene. Will Ferrell accidentally ingested some coffee grounds (ew).
• The second dinner scene when Brennan’s jerk brother Derek is there took about seven hours to shoot. When Derek falls out of the treehouse after Dale punches him, the actor really got hurt: everyone was under the impression that there was a pad on the ground, but there wasn’t. No one was seriously hurt, though, and shooting continued.
• Right before Derek comes up to the clubhouse, the guys are in the clubhouse looking at porn and were holding a real “popular pornographic magazine” (Adam McKay referred to it as such) but later found out that they didn’t get clearance to use the brand in the movie, so they spent a lot of money to go back and add a fake cover to the magazines they were holding. I’m kind of curious about this myself, because at the end of the movie, they brothers hold up a bunch of Hustlers. So if they had the clearance for Hustler, why didn’t they just use those magazines earlier in the film? Hmmm.
• The scene where Brennan tries to bury Dale in the backyard was one of the first scenes they shot.
• If you’ve seen the movie, no doubt you’ve noticed the huge array of logo and band t-shirts the brothers wear in the movie. I’m partial to the Judds baseball tee, myself. Adam McKay said the costume designer found hundreds of suitable t-shirts and then he, Will and John would take turns removing 10 until the shirts got down to a manageable level.
• The Catalina Wine Mixer scene wasn’t actually filmed on Catalina Island. They scouted it out for location but didn’t care for the way things looked; however, you can actually see it in the background of the scene because they ended up shooting on the shore facing the island.
• Coincidentally, Will Ferrell sings Por Ti Volare at the end of the film, which is the song he and Jon Heder skate to in Blades of Glory. Will does his own singing in the movie, by the way, and John C. Reilly does his own drumming.
• At one point during the commentary, Baron Davis, point guard for the Clippers, randomly comes in and starts chatting with Adam McKay, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. A good 30 minutes of non-movie related basketball talk ensues, in which I discovered that Baron feels Shaq is the scariest dude to encounter on the court in the NBA. He also does some commentary even though he wasn’t there and had never seen the movie. He refers to John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell as “Adult Cabbage Patch Kids”. Also, Baron did not have bunk beds growing up; he slept on the floor in the living room. You know, just FYI.