Will Forte is still waiting for 'MacGruber' to explode

To understand the duality of Will Forte , consider the following: Last July, Forte, the actor, writer and alumnus of “Saturday Night Liv...

To understand the duality of Will Forte, consider the following: Last July, Forte, the actor, writer and alumnus of “Saturday Night Live,” married his wife, Olivia Modling, in an intimate weekend ceremony they hosted , in part, to surprise Forte’s parents, who happened to be visiting them.

The following Monday, Forte was back on set at “Mac Gruber”, his new Peacock series based on his recurring “SNL” sketches about a reckless adventurer, filming a scene that required him to be completely naked.

Despite his efforts to get in shape for this scene, Forte said, “I think I gained seven pounds from Friday to Sunday. I certainly had a little water retention. It was just the right amount of daddy-bod.

By all accounts Forte, 51, is a gentle, soft-spoken person – caring for her family, caring for her 9-month-old daughter, Zoe, and excited about something as simple as a pair of socks. unusual.

Yet something transformative happens to him when he takes on the role of MacGruber, a shamelessly rude action hero who has survived multiple explosions as well as a bombshell from a movie, “Mac Gruber” (2010), who attempted to extend comedy shorts to feature length.

Now – to Forte’s amazement as much as anyone else – MacGruber is back in a decade-long streaming series in the works, which picks up where the film left off.

The “MacGruber” series, due out December 16, once again allows Forte to show off fictional combat skills, eviscerate bad guys, and deliver some of the most vulgar dialogue he and his co-writers could imagine.

The arrival of the series also provides a moment for the button-down Forte and some of his most trusted collaborators to wonder why he connects so fully to this weird character.

This is a question Forte has said he has sometimes reflected on a career spent doing what he called “smarter things covered in dumb stuff”, and which he doesn’t come any closer to answering. .

“I am not completely ill,” he said in a video interview last week. “But I’m pretty insensitive to everything. I’ve been living in myself for a long time, so I don’t think I’m particularly kinky. Maybe I’m just used to myself.

MacGruber started out on “SNL” in the early 2000s, where writer Jorma Taccone (who originally pitched the character as a role for guest host Lance Armstrong) envisioned him as the rude, goofy stepbrother of MacGyver, the inventive TV hero performed for the first time by Richard Dean Anderson.

Forte instead played the character, in recurrent sketch aired between 2007 and 2010 and which he wrote with Taccone and John Solomon. In almost every segment, the character has been shown trying – and failing – to disarm an incendiary device before the time runs out.

“It always ended with an explosion, but the journey to get to the explosion was different enough,” Forte said. Still, he was surprised that the character recurred on “SNL” as often as he did: “Every step of the way, it seemed like, oh, that’s the end of the way for that,” he said. he declared.

Instead, MacGruber was featured in a Pepsi ad which aired during the Super Bowl in 2009. The following year, Forte starred in a movie “MacGruber” which he wrote with Taccone and Solomon, and which Taccone directed.

The film went beyond the imitative origins of the character “MacGyver” and made him more of a one-man army in the style of 1980s action protagonists like Rambo and John McClane. He also took full advantage of his R rating, using a colorful vocabulary that would never fly on “SNL” and, in a sustainable scene, asking MacGruber to distract his enemies by strutting around naked with a stalk of celery sticking out from between his buttocks.

Ryan Philippe, who co-starred in the movie as Lieutenant Dixon Piper, a friend and ally of MacGruber, recalled the experience of attending its premiere at the South by Southwest Festival in March 2010.

“The response has been overwhelming,” said Phillippe. “People were hooting and clapping. I thought we had a hit on our hands. Maybe not “The Hangover”, but a modest hit. “

But when it opened that May, “MacGruber” was a flop, receiving wild reviews and grossing just over $ 9 million worldwide. Forte said he and his collaborators were taken aback at first, but remained “strangely proud of our disgusting little film.” He found it significant that the film’s creators stick to their own odd sensibility to what they find funny.

“Oh, I have the bombshell experience – that’s no ‘MacGruber’ pun,” Forte said. “I’ve been a part of things where you change things to try to make them more accessible to people and they keep bombing, and that’s the hardest part. It was a more manageable shellack.

He added: “We certainly had a few weeks where we questioned every decision we made. After two weeks we realized, you know what? We wouldn’t have changed anything.

Lorne Michaels, longtime “SNL” creator and executive producer, said “MacGruber” and the genre of comedy he represents were important to champion, even when the general public did not come for the ride.

“I think it’s really funny, but it’s not something that a legitimate reviewer is going to praise,” said Michaels, who also produces the “MacGruber” movie and TV series.

“It goes way beyond the acceptable,” he said. “It embraces stupidity in a way that most people are embarrassed to admit they like. People love well-mannered comedy, but comedy is disruptive and can be annoying. It’s liberating. Maybe it’s teenage stuff. It cannot be justified, so somebody has to talk about it. “

Over time, the film’s reputation had no choice but to increase. As Phillippe recalled, “I used to meet comedians and filmmakers who were like, ‘This is my favorite thing to watch when I’m depressed.’ I’ve heard that there are drinking games in college based on “MacGruber” – you take a picture every time someone says “Grubes”.

Forte went on to star in films like the comedy-drama “Nebraska” and on the Fox series “The last man on Earth” for which Solomon was a writer and producer. Taccone has directed films like “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” (with Akiva Schaffer) and television shows like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”.

Still, they never gave up on the idea of ​​a “MacGruber” sequel. “We had a ton of ideas on a Google doc that we had been adding for 11 years,” Taccone said. “Lots of entries like ‘Whoever smelled it, treated it’, a question mark, four asterisks.”

Although the writers were told the proposed follow-up was not financially viable as a film, a new window of opportunity opened when NBC introduced its streaming service Peacock, where “MacGruber” was picked up as a series of eight episodes.

Given this new lease of life, Taccone said, the goal of the creators of “MacGruber” was not to modify the character or correct perceived flaws in the film, but rather to deliver “the improved version” of the film – still violent and obscene, but otherwise played out as a straightforward thriller, never winking at audiences or acknowledging its own outrage.

“It’s part of the joke for us,” Taccone said. “We create a world of action movies and then destroy it, and the more real it is, the funnier it is that it has this incorrect track.”

The “MacGruber” series finds its hero once again drawn into dangerous situations with global implications and confronting a villain from his past. Its cast includes several veterans of other authentic, non-satirical adventure films, including Laurence Fishburne, Billy Zane and Sam Elliott, as well as franchise regulars like Phillippe and Kristen wiig.

Wiig, who played MacGruber’s love interest Vicki St. Elmo from the original sketches for “SNL,” said that whenever she worked with the show’s creative team, she felt the freedom to be as ridiculous as the hardware demands.

Often on comedy projects, Wiig said, “You tend to doubt yourself or ask yourself, is this going to be funny? I don’t have that with these guys. I trust them completely. What did you write? I will say it.

And no one embodies this spirit of exaggerated absurdity better than Forte himself. “There is just no self-awareness, in the best possible way,” Wiig said. “It’s just like, I’m going for this. And you say to yourself, what’s on the other side of your brain? “

Solomon, who has known Forte since they were students together at the University of California, Los Angeles, said playing MacGruber gave his friend a place for creative expressions that wouldn’t otherwise match his happy everyday life.

“It’s the perfect outlet for him to take it all out,” Solomon said. “Will really cares about listening to people and making them feel comfortable and being heard. There’s a lot of intense stuff going on in his brain and MacGruber opens a floodgate. He likes to engage and he feels comfortable with the positions MacGruber has to take.

Forte himself said he only identified with the character up to a point: “I try to be a kind and respectful person. I don’t cut the throat of anyone in my private life.

He added, “We do a lot of dirty things in this show, but believe it or not, we watch ourselves. There are times when we say, ‘No, that’s too gross, it’s definitely outdated. ‘ “

Forte said he looked forward to the release of the “MacGruber” series with some glee at how some of his hottest jokes would be received. But in perhaps the surest sign that he doesn’t share the character’s insensitivity, he also expressed concern about how the series might affect his mother’s social status.

“My mom had a few friends who went to see the movie in 2010, and they really gave up on her because of the movie, which is so crazy,” he said. “And there were some friends on the fence, and we got those friends back with ‘Nebraska.’ It’s going to cut him again. The ‘MacGruber’ series is going to get him in trouble.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Will Forte is still waiting for 'MacGruber' to explode
Will Forte is still waiting for 'MacGruber' to explode
Newsrust - US Top News
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