On set with Fer­rell and Wahlberg... and their new dads

Empire (Australasia) - - Pre­view - WORDS CHRIS HE­WITT

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.

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