It’s a formidable comedy match: Will Ferrell and Tina Fey, reunited for the first time since their years together at Saturday Night Live, each having graduated to movies and, in Fey's case, the Emmy-winning NBC comedy 30 Rock, which she created and stars in.
They find themselves gamely butting heads in Megamind, the animated satire in which Ferrell plays the titular super-villain, ordinarily hapless in his attempts to subdue Brad Pitt’s cocksure crime fighter, Metro Man. When one of Megamind's schemes actually pays off, leaving him without a worthy nemesis and Metro City vulnerable, the diabolical genius becomes the unlikely savior of a city in crisis.
“I started an Internet campaign to get us to work together again, but I did it on iVillage instead of Facebook, so it never gained much traction,” jokes Fey, 40, who plays Metro Man’s girlfriend Roxanne, whom Megamind repeatedly kidnaps.
“I wasn’t aware of it either, so that probably didn’t help,” deadpans Ferrell, 43, who lists Wonder Woman, Bill Bixby’s Incredible Hulk and Shazam as his superhero influences.
“It’s funny, because you hope to leave Saturday Night Live and work again, period. You get some momentum, and it’s very easy to stick to your own sphere as your career starts to take off. It’s funny to think it took us so long to reconnect.”
To that end, Ferrell says the former SNL players made a point of spending time together in the recording studio, “making eye contact” as they laid down their Megamind dialogue. Was Fey lucky enough to do the same with Pitt, her on-screen beau?
“I’m pretty sure we’re going to meet at some point,” says Fey. “I sent him over 100 letters and 100 chunks of my hair, and I don’t see how he could resist.”
“You also sent him over 100 Mylar balloons, too, and if that’s not a great gift, he’s crazy,” adds Ferrell. “But he doesn’t want to meet you. He told me that.”
Always ready to improvise and build off each others’ riffs, Fey and Ferrell share a natural comic rapport that works as seamlessly on-screen as in the context of a rapid-fire roundtable interview.
That said, they want to get serious about Megamind. Sort of.
“It’s visually stunning,” says Ferrell. “It’s one of the more adult-oriented DreamWorks has ever attempted, and I think that’s a good thing.”
“It’s also very homoerotic,” adds Fey. “In a safe-for-the-kids, fun-for-the-whole-family kind of way. In fact, forget I said that. I’m sorry I said that. But it is.”
Megamind is now playing at the AMC Loews Metreon, the Century 20 Daly City and the Regal Jack London in Oakland. For tickets and showtimes, click here.