Casa de mi Padre premiered at the SXSW film festival this week. Will Ferrell was not in Austin, TX with it but he spoke about it in Los Angeles the week before. The film’s dialogue, including Ferrell’s, is entirely in Spanish and subtitled.
“A gentleman by the name of Patrick Perez who translated the script from English to Spanish, we got to know him, a very nice guy and said, ‘I’m willing to be kind of your coach if you want.’” Ferrell said. “I said that’d be great. So we started working a month out from filming, probably meeting three of four times a week. And then he was there every day on set. And we would drive there together and drive home together, and we would work on that day’s lines, and then driving home, we would work on the next day’s lines. So it was just a continual bombardment.”
Ferrell still remembers how to curse en espanol. At least depending on which type of Spanish speakers he’s swearing at. “That’s what’s fascinating about Spanish, there’s Mexican and there’s Cuban Americans who worked for that company so you have all these different dialects and all these types of Spanish who would kind of throw their two cents in on our translation. Like, ‘That’s not the way you say it,’ and we kind of had to go, ‘Let’s just say it one way.’”
In the film, Ferrell plays a Mexican rancher’s son who has to save the farm and his brother’s girl from drug dealers. Ferrell got the idea flipping channels late one night and stumbling on a Telenovela. “I had been carrying it around probably for 5, 6, 7 years. And I heard that one of the studios was writing a Telanovela comedy movie, and I thought ugh. Because it would always happen to me on Saturday Night Live, that I would have an idea for a sketch. And I’d wait around to write it and sure enough, someone would inevitably land on the same idea. And I can’t write that, people beat me to the punch, and I thought, ‘Don’t let that happen on this.’ That’s when I started trying to get it going.”
The Latin sensibilities works well with Ferrell’s comedy. "We did one of these morning talk shows in Miami, Despierta America, which is like a big Good Morning America in Miami. You’re envious of how there’s a lot of freedom with Latinos. Here we are on this morning show and all of a sudden, the co-host is dancing. There’s relatively little inhibition, people are just free with themselves and that’s something I think is really cool.” Casa de Mi Padre opens Friday.