In Will Ferrell’s new film “Everything Must Go,” the actor plays an alcoholic dealing with the fallout of his domestic life while living on his front lawn in full view of his neighbors. There are some physical gags and a few deadpan lines but they are simple in tone. This is the first feature film from writer-director Dan Rush, and is adapted from Raymond Carver‘s short story, “Why Don’t You Dance?”
The serious tone of Ferrell’s role in this film is only one deviation from the actor’s usual big budget movies. This film was shot in 23 days and a distribution deal was sought out at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it screened ahead of its official release date of May 13.
Ferrell says no audition was necessary for his role, because Rush already knew he wanted Ferrell for the part. “I just met with Dan. The fear was in casting a more conventional actor the material might seem even darker than it is. He felt I would give it a lightness and at the same time pull off those emotional moments with integrity. My wife’s reaction was, “This is a great script. Why do they want you?” And I agreed.”
While he enjoyed the opportunity to stretch his acting skills, Ferrell does not intend to give up his comedy roles and only focus on dramatic films, from now on. “It’s not so much a plan that in 3.7 years we’ll be able to do this or that. It’s more about taking advantage of these opportunities to do different things. I did “Stranger Than Fiction” and it wasn’t like the floodgates opened and I got sent a bunch of serious dramatic roles. I don’t think I got sent any. So that may happen again after this.”
Though known for his zany, goofy antics in film, Ferrell says he was guided by the story as it was written in the script. “There’s a reaction to watching me in a role like this where people think, “Oh, were your impulses to go crazy at some point?” It’s really easy: You read the script and you see that it doesn’t call for any of that. It was a pretty easy transition.”