Will Ferrell is doing many things to promote his big screen version of “Land of the Lost.” Most of them are pretty typical. He’s doing a junket. He’s doing the talk show circuit. He appeared on the MTV Movie Awards.
One promotional tactic that’s a bit less common, though, is Ferrell’s decision to spend several days in the Swedish tundra with “Man vs. Wild” host Bear Grylls for an episode set to air on Tuesday, June 2.
“That was… uh… It was fun, but it was one of those things that I knew I would be out there going, ‘Why did I do this?’ mixed with, at the same time, I couldn’t resist,” Ferrell says at the aforementioned “Land of the Lost” junket. “I couldn’t say no to it. We were 40 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Northern Sweden, just in the middle of nowhere, making snow-shoes out of birch branches and eating reindeer eyeballs and stuff like that. It was pretty intense.”
Ferrell tells reporters that he didn’t get the full “Man vs. Wild” experience, though whether his degree of difficulty was scaled down for his own well-being, for the well-being of a major Universal Pictures summer release or keep Grylls safe is unclear.
“It was 48 hours. They scaled it back for me,” Ferrell admits. “He’s usually out there an entire week or five days, but they made it really safe for me. They made sure that… I think I few more of the creature comforts that I don’t think he gets.”
Creature comforts like…
“Like, such as, warm clothes. Like, ‘Come over here and you can warm your hands.’ Like a base camp. Things like that.”
Ah. Those things.
How the blazes did one of our most popular comic stars come to be paired with one of TV’s most famous/notorious survivalists? Well, it’s one of those quintessential Hollywood stories where even the oddest of partnerships isn’t more than a degree of separation away.
“As far as I know, my manager, who also represents Sacha Baron Cohen is friends with the London manager, who represents Sacha, who also represents Bear Grylls,” Ferrell explains. “And they were having lunch in London one day, talking about various things, and the guy goes, ‘By the way, Bear Grylls is a huge Will Ferrell fan. Would he ever want to come on the show?’ And Jimmy, who I work with, who happens to be a huge ‘Man vs. Wild’ fan and he’s like, ‘That is a great idea. Let me talk to him.’ So then he pitched it to me. I hadn’t seen a lot of them, so I watched a bunch and I was like, ‘Oh God, this is too crazy to say ‘No’ to.’ So that’s kind how the whole thing and then then I think Universal loved it as a cross-promotional thing and it all added up in a way that seemed appealing to everyone.”
And in the immortal and eponymous battle of man versus wild, who won?
“Wild kicks Man’s ass and then Man ends up courageous at the end,” Ferrell teases. “Yeah.”
Will Ferrell’s “Man vs. Wild” episode airs on Tuesday night at 10 p.m. on Discovery.
“Land of the Lost” will be in theaters everywhere on Friday.