Mike Farah has overseen a ton of comedy projects — check out his stocked IMDb page — so he knows a thing or two about both laughs and logistics. But the Funny Or Die president of production never really encountered an undertaking quite like HBO special “Ferrell Takes the Field.”
In one day, both as a doc shoot and a fundraising move, Funny Or Die co-founder Ferrell played every baseball position across 10 teams in five different spring training games. Executive producer Farah was there for all but one contest, as he needed to hang behind to coordinate the helicopter they traveled from stadium-to-stadium in.
Of course, such a public stunt doesn’t wait on post-production to be consumed in some capacity by the masses. But there’s more to the busy day than what we’ve seen on promos or ESPN “SportsCenter” highlights, Farah said.
“The whole point of the documentary is obviously [to] go beyond just the coverage that happened,” he told TheWrap. “Will really wanted it to be a very authentic capturing of the day, and I think we achieved that.”
“It was an amazing day and we were so fortunate to do it — but it was a ton of work, just the logistics,” he continued. “It was actually a pretty impressive athletic feat.”
Beyond just the arguable athleticism that high school baseball player Ferrell displayed, the actor stuck to what he does best: comedy. “There are just some very classic Will Ferrell-style runs that he does,” Farah told us of what to expect from the special.
Still, the “Step Brothers” star took the sporting task at hand seriously, training for “a while” before the shoot. After all, as Farah put it: “He’s not exactly a spring chicken.”
And no one took it easy on Ferrell — these were real games. So when he managed to foul a real pro pitcher’s offering off at one point, it made headlines — and Farah excited.
“We were pulling for him,” Farah said. “I think we were all just proud of him that he got contact.”
Still, no one involved would have been upset with a lucky seeing-eye single out of the aging comedian — or perhaps something even grander.
“In the Hollywood version of it, Will steps up and knocks out a homer,” Farah admitted, reiterating: “But this was a documentary. Nothing was staged.”
The Hollywood production may not have a Hollywood ending, but the combination of Funny Or Die and HBO could prove to be a real winner when “Ferrell Takes the Field” debuts on Saturday at 10 p.m.