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Will Ferrell

“Simon Cowell would be Ron Burgundy’s bitch”

Will Ferrell
Danielle de Wolfe
16 October 2011

The potential for misconceptions to attach themselves to Will Ferrell’s new film is rife. But Everything Must Go is not one of his trademark comedies — it doesn’t have lines you’ll be quoting for years to come, and has no cameos from his celebrity friends. And it’s not about the Manic Street Preachers. Rather, it’s the story of an alcoholic who loses his wife and job on the same day and is forced to sell all of his worldly possessions. Which prompts the question…

Have you ever had to sell anything you loved?

I have. In fact, I gave away my baseball card collection as a kid.

Was it valuable?

Probably not. But I have a problem giving away things. Growing up in a very modest lower-middle-class existence, with a single parent, we really didn’t go without, but you had to make clothes last. I developed a system. A rotation system. You know how you have a favourite piece of clothing? I made sure I’d wear everything evenly so as to not wear out that one thing. So now I have a thing where I get free stuff sent to me and I have a hard time throwing it out. I’ve got tons of shoes. I’m the Imelda Marcos of comedians.

Your character is an alcoholic, but if you were to turn to any substance for comfort, what would it be?

Probably just tubs of butter. I love eating butter with an ice-cream scooper. Just spread a little sugar on top [laughs]. No. What would I turn to?Probably drink. Some nice Irish whiskey. Irish whiskey and pancakes.

You’ve brought your mother on this trip to London. Do you like to take your family to work?

Usually, regardless of whether I’m working on location or in LA, my parents will come by for a visit. It’s become a bit of a tradition. Leaving Saturday Night Live was more difficult for my parents than it was for me. They’d come to probably five shows a year, so that’s five visits to New York. They’d usually bring friends, tour round the city and see the show. It was a fun thing they looked forward to as part of their social calendar, and when I said that I was thinking of leaving, they both said, independently, “Really? Do you think that’s a good decision?”

Is the Anchorman sequel happening? The world wants to know…

I wish I could say yes, and after being begged for years to entertain doing a sequel, the thought of it finally became really fun to us. We talked to Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, Christina Applegate and everybody was on board. So we went to Paramount and they kind of said, [sounding pessimistic] “Ehhuuuh.” I was like, “Didn’t you want us to do this?” and they were like, “We did… Do it at this amount.” The budget was so extremely low that we just couldn’t make it work. But we tried. We tried to bring up the point that it’s not just us who want it to happen —people ask me all the time. Sorry… [Laughs] No, we feel like there’s a real groundswell and that you’d have a good chance of a large audience for a sequel, but it doesn’t seem to matter to them.

Have you got a story in mind?

We don’t, but our feeling is, as it’s such a popular movie, why should we have to? Just trust that we’re gonna come up with something. I mean, quite frankly, for Talladega Nights, for Step Brothers, and for The Other Guys, they were two-sentence pitches.

What would Ron Burgundy be doing now? Maybe appearing on the US X Factor?

Playing a little jazz flute and singing Rock The Casbah? Yeah. Ron could easily handle Simon, too. He would make Simon Cowell his bitch.

You were nominated as ‘Favourite Buttkicker’ at the Kids’ Choice Awards, and won ‘Best Kiss’ with Sacha Baron Cohen in 2007. Which of the two do you think you’re better at?

Actually, what I do best is a combined action of beatingyou up and kissing you at the same time. But you wouldn’t realise either of them are happening [laughs].

You’re quite often mentioned as a Chelsea fan because you were once photographed wearing the shirt. How true is that?

It’s just a notion. They sent me a jersey, invited me to a game and the next thing I know I’m a fan. But I am a football fan. If you send me a T-shirt, I’ll wear it. Just make sure you get the right size. You can send me an Arsenal shirt if you like. They were the last game I went to. Although I have heard that they’re currently in the sh*tter.

Everything Must Go is at cinemas now and will be released on DVD on 31 October

Image: Allstar