If The Cutting Edge is cinema’s ode to the talent and style of determine skating, Blades of Glory the story of two disgraced rivals who staff up, is a tribute to the game’s inherent absurdity. Starring Will Ferrell because the overly-macho intercourse addict Chazz Michael Michaels, and Jon Heder as his arch enemy, the fragile and spoiled Jimmy MacElroy; the film requested what would occur if two flashy, well-coifed rivals disrupted the inflexible, conventional world of elite determine skating.
To learn how this idea from two Hollywood unknowns turned a giant price range movie with a few of the largest stars in comedy, we talked to the movie’s screenwriters, brothers Craig and Jeff Cox, together with Will Ferrell himself, for an oral historical past concerning the movie. From the way it acquired made, what they love about it, how the determine skating world responded, and its legacy, right here is the historical past of Blades Of Glory, in their very own phrases, edited for readability.
AN UNLIKELY IDEA BECOMES A MOVIE THANKS TO BEN STILLER
Craig Cox: We shared story credit score with Busy Philipps who’s a good friend of ours. We grew up collectively in Arizona. She and I had been watching a determine skating competitors on TV and he or she was the one that originally stated, “Oh, that may be humorous, like a narrative about rival determine skaters.” Then Jeff and I sort of got here up with the twist of, “Really it could be humorous if these rivals needed to staff up and be the primary male determine skating pair.” It got here in a short time. It simply appeared humorous whereas watching this on TV.
Jeff Cox: It was positively pre-YouTube and also you couldn’t simply get on the pc and watch determine skating. I keep in mind we went to love a Borders or one thing and acquired a determine skating guide that had a bunch of the technical stuff. We’d use that as a reference.
Craig Cox: We watched the Olympics with our household rising up. We had been at all times actually into it, so we knew the broad strokes. That guide was actually useful. Then truthfully we sort of watched The Reducing Edge and took some structural cues from that. On the time, we hadn’t established ourselves as screenwriters, and this was simply one thing we had been doing in our spare time. We had our day jobs. We didn’t have brokers or something, so we didn’t actually have entry to professionals. We had been simply sort of flying blind.
Jeff Cox: I gave the script to a good friend who had a supervisor. Finally his supervisor learn it, requested what we needed to do with it, and we needed to take it to Ben Stiller. That’s what we did.
Craig Cox: Yeah, he was capable of get it to Ben Stiller who favored it, and [his studio] got here on board as producers. It was fairly superior.
Jeff Cox: I feel one in every of our managers known as us and advised us that he learn it and actually favored it and needed to provide it. That was the best second.
Craig Cox: The dream come true.
Will Ferrell: I used to be taking pictures Talladega Nights in Charlotte and I had been despatched the script via Ben Stiller, and there was a second in time the place Ben was going to do the film and couldn’t for no matter purpose. After studying the script it was a type of issues: “Nicely okay, how are we going to tug off the ice skating and all these items?” And I used to be like yeah I’ll go forward and leap in and do it.
Jeff Cox: It’s sort of bizarre, however we truthfully [envisioned] Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller.
Craig Cox: These had been the important thing guys we had been writing to. The opposite half that’s wonderful is that we additionally envisioned Amy Poehler and Will Arnett because the rival pair, an they ended up being in it. The forged that got here collectively was remarkably near what we had been envisioning once we had been writing it.
Will Ferrell: The world the film was having enjoyable with, I used to be a minimum of a fan of. I used to be a fan of watching it, and appreciating it concurrently mocking it. There’s a proportion of the viewers who likes it as pure sport, however there are lots of people who’re like, “Wow have a look at that outfit,” or, “Look how severe they’re as they skate to this track.” I used to be most likely extra drawn to it on pure spectacle greater than anything.
Jeff Cox: Simply as a little bit of trivia, we had Will Ferrell in thoughts for Jimmy [Jon Heder’s role].
Will Ferrell: I assumed that character was nice too. That will have been enjoyable. I do should say to get to play the not-innocent man who’s overly macho and has been so cocksure on a regular basis was actually enjoyable. And but a minimum of a thoroughbred. That’s what these athletes are–they’re thoroughbreds.
“John Heder broke his ankle early within the coaching.” – Craig Cox, Screenwriter
Craig Cox: [Knowing how to skate] wasn’t crucial. That is the primary script we wrote collectively and offered, and we didn’t take into consideration any sort of manufacturing considerations or something like that. They really needed to discover ways to do that stuff. Jon Heder broke his ankle early on within the coaching. It was sort of a scary second as a result of like, “Oh God, are they even going to have the ability to movie this?” Clearly it labored out, however these guys didn’t have a lot expertise in any respect. Possibly Will Ferrell did?
Will Ferrell: No, under no circumstances, apart from a celebration in third grade that somebody would have had on the Ice Capades rink. Apart from dangerous sort of holding-on-to-the-side-rails ice skating, I actually couldn’t skate. We then began with the prep and we had been working with a skating coach. Then Jon Heder had a hairline fracture in his ankle, after which it was like, “Okay I assume we’re not doing the film.” Then they someway labored out this loopy schedule to shoot all of the performing stuff in a single chunk, shut the film down whereas Jon continued to heal, and 6 weeks later completed all of the skating stuff. Over the course of all that point, I used to be skating 3 times every week simply getting proficient sufficient to simply get on and off the ice and be capable to come to some kind of cease that seemed like an ice skater.
THE MAKING OF JIMMY AND CHAZZ
Craig Cox: Our imaginative and prescient of Jimmy was that he principally has identified nothing however skating his whole life, actually has no thought find out how to work together with individuals, has had no social life.
Jeff Cox: Johnny Weir, a minimum of by way of his model, turned kind of an inspiration for Jimmy.
Craig Cox: Chazz was essentially the most unrealistic determine skater, however I did have pictures in my thoughts of [three-time world champion skater] Elvis Stojko. I keep in mind as a child considering he was a bad-ass, and he may do these again flips. He simply appeared like sort of a nasty boy with the lengthy hair and all the things, so I had him in thoughts once we had been engaged on Chazz.
Will Ferrell: We additionally talked a few vibe of Jim Morrison meets Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, if Steven Tyler may determine skate. Chazz is macho and he’s into ladies, however he’s additionally jealous of Jimmy’s outfits on the identical time: “My god that’s a very good look.” That character mixes a bunch of gender issues with out us even understanding it.
Jeff Cox: It might have been Ben Stiller’s thought to make Chazz a intercourse addict. Initially he was only a Lothario, simply continually on the prowl, however that simply kind of crystallized it.
Craig Cox: I feel it most likely got here out of attempting to create an excessive. We thought Jimmy as a virgin, so what’s the polar reverse of that?
Craig Cox: [As far as their distinct styles,] we had no imaginative and prescient for the hair in any respect, truthfully. That simply sort of got here out in manufacturing conferences with the administrators, and whoever was doing hair and make-up.
Will Ferrell: For the hair, all of us got here up with that look collectively. By way of the costumes, a lot of that was [costume designer] Julie [Weiss], and each thought she had I used to be like, “That’s implausible.” You’ll be able to’t actually go too over-the-top with any of that stuff. We at all times talked about how in his private life, he appeared like a man who’d put on loads of leather-based and fringe jackets. The one factor I keep in mind particularly developing with was his particular hairbrush that was manufactured from whale bone. He simply had bizarre objects like that. After which they’d later use that to return to the floor within the ice after I’d punched via. It was a humiliation of riches with the costume decisions as a result of Julie was on prime of it from the get go.
“My spouse doesn’t let me cling my costume in the home. It’s within the storage, proper subsequent to one in every of my Ron Burgundy fits.” – Will Ferrell
Craig Cox: There have been loads of discussions about how a lot the costumes ought to recommend an animal versus being an outright Halloween costume. We had been at all times going backwards and forwards on how absurd to be with that.
Jeff Cox: For us it was at all times extra concerning the perspective, and we had been fairly descriptive within the motion and the vibe of the skaters. We had been fairly particular about their our bodies too.
Will Ferrell: The studio gave me one [costume] as a present framed with the gold medal. Sadly my spouse doesn’t permit me to hold it in the home. It’s within the storage. It’s proper subsequent to one in every of my Ron Burgundy fits, so it’s proper up there.
Craig Cox: Will Ferrell most likely got here up with the “Michael Michaels,” as a result of in our authentic script it was Chazz Lewis. He made it a lot funnier.
Will Ferrell: I can’t keep in mind who got here up with what. I do should say that’s at all times often a very good signal when individuals can’t keep in mind, as a result of it simply means everybody was throwing stuff out and nobody had an ego about conserving observe of who considered what.
REWRITES AND IMPROVISING
Jeff Cox: I don’t know who got here up with this, however the Iron Lotus transfer was fairly impressed with the pinnacle getting decapitated.
Craig Cox: In our authentic script the second act ended with the 2 of them being kidnapped by an murderer and brought to this cabin on this mountaintop to get them away from the video games. They handle to wriggle out of the ropes and escape down this mountain. It was simply this loopy motion set piece the place they had been principally doing each different Olympic occasion that wasn’t determine skating, doing all that stuff to flee this murderer who’s additionally chasing them down this mountain with a shotgun. It was nuts, and in the end Dreamworks was like that is un-filmable; we are able to’t afford this.
Jeff Cox: It was humorous how we by no means thought concerning the logic. Craig and I had by no means thought-about like, effectively couldn’t they simply kidnap one? They may simply kidnap one man and the routine couldn’t occur. We’re like, “Oh, proper.”
Craig Cox: What got here out of these rewrites was good by way of an precise foot chase on ice skates, and getting caught on the escalator.
Will Ferrell: The slow-motion chase that Will Arnett and I had on skates all through that complete factor was a genius set piece. We had been making it look exhausting, but it surely was sort of loopy. Will and his JFK outfit and the bizarre little second once we’re caught on the escalator, and I’m like, “Wait what are you once more? Are you the man from The Twilight Zone? Are you Rod Serling?”
Jeff Cox: One of many largest adjustments from our authentic script was that the rival determine skating pair had no dialogue. They by no means spoke, and so they had a coach who was their mom. That was an insane character who we had been envisioning as like Gloria Swanson in Sundown Boulevard. She was this determine skater again within the day, and now she was this stage mother who was simply making her children do that factor collectively. That’s why they by no means spoke, as a result of they had been simply there to skate and be good and that’s it. As soon as that determine acquired taken away, possibly a few of these concepts acquired put into Jimmy’s backstory with the billionaire father.
Will Ferrell: I just like the smaller moments. I simply cherished Chazz backstage initially, about to should go and skate within the child’s present he’s now a part of–the second the place he’s alone having to place the helmet on and he’s so depressed. These contextual issues make me snicker greater than something.
Craig Cox: Once we noticed that first routine after they skate collectively for the primary time in entrance of a crowd, we had been each so enthusiastic about that. I give the administrators loads of credit score for this–as a result of tonally, it’s simply precisely what we envisioned. Even immediately, that’s one in every of my favourite scenes, as a result of it’s simply such an ideal embodiment of what we needed.
WE’RE GOING TO SKATE TO ONE SONG AND ONE SONG ONLY
Craig Cox: I really don’t know [how Fergie’s “My Humps” made it into the movie].
Jeff Cox: I don’t know if that was pure Will Ferrell. There wanted to be a track, however that was positively a game-time factor. It wasn’t one thing that was in our script.
Will Ferrell: I do keep in mind Jon was like, “It’s so bizarre nobody is aware of what it means.” It was all improvised. Then Kanye West ends up sampling that into his song. That’s so weird and peculiar.
Jeff Cox: The [lyrics] actually don’t make sense.
Will Ferrell: I’m going to imagine [it’s about] mammaries. It simply appeared like a very good track to do on the treadmill at the moment.
THE REAL WORLD OF FIGURE SKATING
Craig Cox: No determine skating fan has ever acquired on us about something, truthfully. That will be wonderful to run into somebody who actually took subject with it, however that’s by no means occurred.
Will Ferrell: Not one grievance. I feel the world of determine skating was more than pleased to have anybody take note of them. The truth is, I simply bumped into Dorothy Hamill out in Palm Springs and I feel skilled determine skaters assume that film is hilarious: “Thanks for making it, and I do know you guys try to be humorous but it surely’s really extra correct than you assume.”
Jeff Cox: Scott Hamilton’s in it, Nancy Kerrigan. It will have been wonderful to get Elvis Stojko as a result of he was any individual that was on our minds, however I used to be fairly pleased with who they acquired for the film, and it was cool assembly all these individuals.
“I simply bumped into Dorothy Hamill, and I feel skilled skaters assume that film is hilarious.” – Will Ferrell
Craig Cox: I actually loved watching skating within the Olympics, and I didn’t need to appear to be we had been simply crapping on it or one thing, so I used to be glad that it got here off goodhearted.
Will Ferrell: It’s actually exhausting to do–two little skinny blades of metal and you need to do these jumps and all the things, however I nonetheless snicker at it. I admire it, however I nonetheless snicker on the sort of “it’s only a world of peacocks.” That simply makes me snicker.
CHAZZ AND JIMMY TAKE OFF AS A TEAM
Craig Cox: There have been talks up till we had been into manufacturing of like, “What’s this ultimate second gonna be? How’s it gonna work?” Then Ben Stiller simply had that concept [of taking flight into the sky], I feel most likely like a day or two earlier than they even filmed it. So that basically got here out of the second.
Will Ferrell: The factor that I cherished that made the film, which was a giant debate on the finish, was the truth that we finish the film, and we simply fly out into the sky–that surreal ending. They put Jon and I on these wires and flew us to the roof of the sports activities area. It was simply this bizarre, summary ending and it was like, “Ought to we do it? Ought to we not?” And I used to be like why not–it’s so bizarre. And that really stayed within the film, and I don’t assume anybody questioned it. There have been those who stated “that’s simply bizarre—the place are they going?” I used to be like, “It’s sort of a metaphor that they reached their goals. Who is aware of, they’re simply flying out. It’s only a film, let’s do it.”
Pictures: Paramount Footage