It was reported earlier this week that The Other Guys co-stars Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg will reunite for Turkey Bowl, a comedy about that revolves around the annual Thanksgiving neighborhood football game. Somehow left out of that report was Alec Baldwin, the man who co-inspired the project. Producer Adam McKay explains:
“The idea was originally conceived for Mark Wahlberg and Alec Baldwin. Owen Burke, who’s a producer at Gary Sanchez, and I were talking about how crazily funny Wahlberg and Baldwin were in The Departed — how, even though it’s not a comedy, we could just watch them all day long. Burke dropped this idea, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s a movie!’ Then Will heard it and he wanted in.”
McKay revealed more about the project, including a more detailed plot synopsis, why they have to rename the movie (the tentative title is Three Mississippi), and how Jeremy Renner might be involved. Read what he had to say after the jump.
McKay outlined the story to EW:
“It’s about these two rival families from — we’re thinking Philadelphia but we need to check in with Wahlberg and Ferrell and see what kind of accents they want to do. [Laughs] Alec Baldwin is the patriarch of one of the families, and Wahlberg is his son. He saw the Kennedys playing football on their front lawn at Thanksgiving, and boom, that’s it: ‘Anything the Kennedys do, we’re doing.’ His family starts playing the other family that lives across the park from them. Over the years, Baldwin’s family hasn’t done too well — they own a crappy little bar in town — while the other family, which Will’s character eventually becomes the patriarch of, becomes really successful. The game gets nastier and nastier as the years go on, and Ferrell’s family starts just destroying the other family. After a massive heart attack, Baldwin’s character’s dying wish is that his estranged son, Mark, take over the game and finally win one. So Wahlberg has to put this ramshackle, convict, gambling-addict family back together again and beat the richies.”
This movie sounds a) hilarious, and b) designed to not sell overseas. One of the reasons that Anchorman 2 struggled to secure a green light was the poor international prospects of comedies in general. In particular, every Ferrell comedy has earned more domestically than abroad. (Talladega Nights grossed $148 million domestic, $15 million international.) Throw in the fact that the movie centers on a football game played during Thanksgiving, and this movie is basically just for us and Canada.
McKay and Warner Bros. may counteract the insular effect with sufficient starpower. The idea is to load the teams with cameo appearances:
“The whole spirit of it is that it’s just a giant, fun ensemble comedy. We want to populate it with people we love. There’s a funny subplot with Rob Riggle where he’s a gay cousin that Wahlberg’s family sort of turned their backs on but he played football at Fresno State and they need him. We’re going to try to get Jeremy Renner to play an ex-con. The idea is to bring in, like, 15 people that we love in and just do a big, funny holiday movie.”
Renner is a very busy franchise man these days, appearing in The Bourne Legacy, The Avengers, and Mission: Impossible 4 among many others. It’ll be tricky to find a hole in his schedule, but a quick production could allow Renner and McKay (otherwise occupied by his comic adaptation The Boys ) to participate. When asked if he planned on directing, McKay responded,
“I don’t think so. I mean, I always like to reserve that right, since it’s our company. I have this other project [The Boys], but you never know. If we could shoot this thing next spring, with a tight post-production, we could roll it out for that following Thanksgiving. That would be the optimistic, everything-goes-well schedule, which we think we have a chance to hit, given what a fun idea this is.”
The initial title of the pitch by Scott Silveri (Perfect Couples) and Robert Carlock (30 Rock) was titled Turkey Bowl, but McKay found out the hard way that moniker is spoken for:
“There’s an indie film that just sold a week or two ago called Turkey Bowl. We’ve had this thing in the works for seven months and we saw that and we’re like, ‘Fuck, they’ve got our title!’ We’re tentatively calling it Three Mississippi, as a working title.”