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LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Will Ferrell has explored the worlds of TV anchormen, race car drivers, elves and step brothers -- all to great comic effect. Now, the popular comedian has set his sights on dinosaurs.
In his new comedy, "Land of the Lost," a big budget reboot of the classic 1970s sci-fi TV series, Ferrell stars as has-been scientist Dr. Rick Marshall, who can build a time travel machine but has little idea of how to survive in an alternate universe full of marauding dinosaurs and aliens.
Ferrell talked to Reuters about making the film, which co-stars Anna Friel and Danny McBride, kissing his co-stars and wearing his groovy zipper boots.
Q: Were you a big fan of the TV show?
A: "I loved it! It was arguably one of my favorites as a kid, because in the noise of Saturday morning cartoons there was this live-action show with this family stuck in this world of dinosaurs, and it was played for real. So it had danger, and you were scared, but at the same time you saw zippers up the backs of the Sleestaks, so it was kind of cheesy too. And that mix of danger and kitsch gave us the impetus to redo it -- although with very real effects, and make it a comedy."
Q: How much of you is there in Dr. Marshall?
A: "Let's see. We both like wearing Florsheim zipper boots. I think he's a lot smarter than I am, even though he's fumbling and bumbling. He's misunderstood. He's actually right when everyone thinks he's wrong."
Q: How difficult was it persuading Matt Lauer to do a fake "Today" show interview with you?
A: "He was really up for it and he was really comfortable at being himself, and convincing you he wasn't acting. He was so good that we actually went back to him and added the whole second sequence. He was awesome!"
Q: You have some tough kissing scenes with Anna.
A: "Poor Anna. It can't have been easy for her."
Q: In fact, you end up kissing nearly all the cast.
A: "That's true, in the stoner scene. I had so much fun, even when we were out in the desert shooting in 120 degrees. I don't think there's any film I've made where it felt like work. You lucky dog!"
Q: Is there some line you'd never cross in terms of embarrassing or humiliating yourself just for a great laugh?
A: "I know there is, and there's been times when I've said, 'Nah, I'm not going to do that,' but it's rare. I just feel, if you're in comedy, that's your purpose -- to do stuff other people wouldn't dare do."
Q: You don't seem dark and troubled like a lot of comedians. We never hear about the Will Ferrell sex scandals or drug addiction. What's the matter with you?
A: "Oh believe me, it's going on! But I have a great team who keep that stuff out of the tabloids. No, I have my moments, for sure. You gotta. Everyone does. I remember seeing "Borat" for the first time and going, 'Oh no! I'm so glad "Talledega Nights" comes out first.' I was so jealous of it! But even in my darkest moments of doubt, I always wake up the next day going, 'Oh well, it'll be fine.'"
Editing by Bob Tourtellotte and Patricia Reaney