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Semi-serious
Will Ferrell more than a good sport when it comes to making comedies

By Brandy McDonnell Modified: February 29, 2008 at 6:02 am •  Published: February 29, 2008
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/> "I might start wearing neckerchiefs now in my personal life. I think that's a nice piece of accoutrement,” the straight-faced Ferrell said.

"It's beautiful, man,” Arnett said.

"And it covers the neck,” Harrelson added.

"It does,” Ferrell said. "So, if you have any unsightly blemishes or a weird Adam's apple.”

But he wasn't a fan of the short shorts favored by '70s hoopsters, which created some concerns on set.

"I think Andre and I had the shortest shorts, which a lot of our fellow teammates refused to wear,” Ferrell said.

"And they kept pulling them down,” Benjamin said. "Actually we had to do two weeks of basketball training, so I went ahead and got it over with, so I wore my shorts during the two weeks of practice ...”

"That's how dedicated Andre was,” Ferrell said.

".So I wouldn't be self-conscious the day of shooting. ... (My character) Clarence didn't care about the shorts, so you know, why should I?” Benjamin finished.

"I did have to wear a special pair of underwear, because when I went into a defensive stance, there was a potential for things to happen,” Ferrell said.

"And sometimes it did. Yeah, not pretty,” Alterman said.

For his directorial debut, Alterman had the unenviable task of riding herd on the merry comedians.

"We did have a lot of fun, but we were also doing a production, so there were times where we had to find that delicate balance point between having too much fun and getting irresponsible. But I think we did it pretty well,” he said.

"You've got 10 guys on a basketball court and about 1,800 extras, and every time he yelled cut, we'd want to just start shooting the ball around and running around and doing bits at the scoring table. So, yeah, it was tough,” Ferrell said.

Despite their hyperactive tendencies, Alterman said the actors were consummate professionals, able to find humor even when they weren't on their A game.

"It's safe to say that when you show up some days and you don't feel great, and you're surrounded by the other guys who are kind of having a good time, you usually end up feeding off it and you have a good time,” Arnett said.

"That's what happened to me today,” Harrelson said.

Travel and accommodations provided by New Line Cinema.

Podcast: Will Ferrell on 'Semi-Pro'


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