PARENTAL GUIDANCE ADVISED
On set with Ferrell and Wahlberg... and their new dads
IT’S MAY 2017 and Empire has come to Lanes & Games, a cavernous bowling alley just outside Boston. It’s seen plenty of strikes over its 75 years, but with its doors about to close for the final time it’s saving the best for last. On the upstairs level Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell and Mel Gibson are showing off their tenpin skills for Daddy’s Home 2. Wahlberg, as the macho Dusty, has a smooth and powerful style. Strike. Gibson, as Dusty’s dad Kurt, is more direct and imposing. Also, a strike. Ferrell, as the kinder, gentler Brad, has a style that somehow incorporates a delicate hop and skip. Not a strike.
Their contrasting styles sum up the conflict at the heart of the movie, which is, in case you hadn’t guessed, the sequel to 2015’s Daddy’s Home. That movie pitted Ferrell’s stepdad against the more abrasive Wahlberg, as the real father of Ferrell’s children, and it was a quick-greenlightthe-sequel hit. And with the film ending with Dusty and Brad as pals, the obvious next step was to bring in reinforcements. In Daddy’s Home 2, there are daddies all over the shop, with Gibson and John Lithgow as Dusty and Brad’s progenitors.
“Once Dusty realises Kurt is coming to town, everything is going to get ripped to shreds,” says Wahlberg. “Kurt can do and say anything at any time.” Today’s scene illustrates the point. As Dusty and Brad try to teach their joint son, Dylan, how to bowl, in swaggers Kurt with bad advice. “Kurt is the small brushfire that leads to the big blaze amongst us all,” laughs Ferrell.
But Ferrell is conscious of the dangers of simply repeating the beats of the first movie. The paterfamilias’ patter isn’t going to be too familiar, it seems. “Not everything is as it appears,” he cautions. “Everyone learns from each other in a way. John learns that it’s okay to put his grown son in a headlock every now and again.” Sounds like we could have another strike on our hands.