Kevin Farley wants to make you laugh. And when you live and work with some of the funniest people in show business, you’re bound to see a lot of people holding their bellies, wiping their tears, and laughing, yes, out loud.
Kevin Farley is a comedian and has been making people laugh his whole life. In the mid-80s, Kevin pursued his passion by moving to Hollywood to bring laughter to the masses. Surrounded by talented comedians, actors and Saturday Night Live (SNL) alum, Kevin quickly found his new family and began working in film and television comedies alongside fellow comedians David Spade,Tom Arnold, John Lithgow, Jane Curtin, Ashton Kutcher, Dennis Miller, Rob Schneider, and Lenny Clarke.
Early in his career, Kevin worked with comedian and actor Adam Sandler in The Waterboy, had roles in the comedic films Black Sheep and Beverly Hills Ninja, and had multiple appearances on television comedies 3rd Rock from the Sun, The Tom Show and That 70s Show. In demand as a comedic actor, Kevin soon held recurring roles in the television series 2gether, Just Shoot Me (with David Spade), and Joey (with Matt LeBlanc).
Also in 2008, Kevin co-wrote and co-directed his first film, Hollywood & Wine. A unique cast of comedians, the film stars SNL alum Chris Kattan and Hollywood up-and-comer Nicky Whelan. While Australian audiences may recognize Nicky Whelan from her role as Pepper Steiger on the long-running drama series Neighbours, Hollywood has its first look at Whelan as she takes on a dual role alongside Kattan. Kevin says that audiences ‘are going to fall in love with her’! The cast also includes Kevin Farley, John Farley, Norm MacDonald, Chazz Palminteri, David Spade, Horatio Sanz, Chris Parnell, Pam Anderson and Vivica Fox.
This year, Kevin takes the riding..err..writing reins again for his new comedy Back in the Saddle. A comedy western close to his heart, Back in the Saddle is scheduled to begin filming in Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming in September. While the cast hasn’t yet been finalized, Kevin hopes to have Chris Kattan, Norm MacDonald, Fred Willard, and Kelsey Grammar as part of his posse.
As if two films aren’t enough to keep Kevin Farley busy, Kevin is also working with partner Fay Byrd, developing a hip and cool clothing line, American Regal by Farley, for ‘bigger’ guys.
Interview with Kevin Farley
Last week I had the privilege to speak with Kevin Farley about his current projects, including Hollywood & Wine, Back in the Saddle, and American Regal by Farley, his clothing line with Fay Byrd. I’d like to thank Kevin for the time he spent speaking with me. Kevin is a true talent, a funny man, and a genuinely nice guy, and it was a pleasure speaking with him!
Hollywood & Wine – Interview with Kevin Farley
Betsy: Let’s talk about Hollywood & Wine. Do you want to tell me about the movie?
Kevin: It’s basically about two people that are going out in Hollywood. One manages a restaurant , and that’s Chris Kattan’s character. And the other one is Nicky Whelan’s character, and she is a struggling actress in town and she looks exactly like a famous movie star who is kind of a train wreck, and she’s having trouble with her career. Basically what happens is that Chris Kattan’s character gets in the trouble with the mob and she has to go undercover to get him out of trouble, as the famous actress. So she plays a double role.
Betsy: Was it a lot of fun?
Kevin: It was a blast to do. Chris Kattan was wonderful. We have Chazz Palminteri, we have John Farley, we have Kevin Farley, we have David Spade, Pam Anderson and, Vivica Fox. We have a lot of great people: Norm MacDonald.
Betsy: It sounds like a great cast!
Kevin: I just think it’s a wonderful cast. Nicky Whelan, is an Australian who is really going to take off. She’s really a big find for us and we’re really excited about that.
Betsy: How did you find her?
Kevin: A friend. She’s came in and we auditioned her. She’s a friend of mine. And people just fall in love with her when you see this film. You realize how beautiful she is and really a great actress.
It’s a great cast and it should be out in the fall. We’re getting the sound mix in right now. We’re really looking forward to this film. It’s going to be a really funny film. I wrote it along with Matt Berman, John Farley and Jennifer Farley, and I co-directed it with Matt Berman.
Betsy: When you have a co-director, how does that work?
Kevin: Well, you have to be pretty good friends because there are a lot of creative decisions that have to go into it. From how long people’s clothes are, to the color of the clothes, to the color of the sets. So you have to get along with the person pretty good, and me and Matt really do.
Betsy: Do you sit together doing the same scene, or do you split it up?
Kevin: We split it up depending on who feels better able to handle that one.
Betsy: So then as a writer, director, producer, how much involvement do you end up having in the film, with the editing, the scenery…
Kevin: A lot, a lot. For Hollywood & Wine, I was a writer, actor and director. So I had a lot to do with everything that went on with the film. Basically, anything that went on, I had a say in it. From music to the acting, to the casting, to the editing.
Betsy: Do you enjoy that process?
Kevin: Yeah, I do. I do, and I don’t cause it’s a lot more work than just acting. So I do, and I don’t.
Betsy: Who are the producers?
Kevin: Smithfield Street Productions in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Brian Hartman is the leader of that crowd, and his brother John Hartman too.
Betsy: So you had, about, what, four writers for the film?
Kevin: Yeah, four writers. John Farley, Kevin Farley, Jennifer Farley and Matt Berman.
Betsy: When you have that many people writing, what do you do when something just doesn’t work out? How do you resolve it?
Kevin: We gotta work it out or we don’t go home. You work it out. There’s no other way to do it. Things usually get worked out. And they usually get worked out any number of ways. You just have to get along with the people you are writing with. Otherwise it’s not gonna work.
Betsy: Regarding your casting, you have quite a few former SNL cast members in the movie. What are the advantages to working with people you know so well?
Kevin: The advantage is that you kind of have a second language. There’s always a period of getting to know someone first and then having to really get in and work with them is a difficult process if you don’t know them. You get to skip the getting to know each other part and we can get to go right into work, which is nice. Plus, you can go and have a beer with them and have fun with them afterwards.
Betsy: Do you think there are disadvantages as well?
Kevin: Honestly, no. I’d rather work with people I know. I like working with people I know
Betsy: When you work with actors that you know this well, do you find there is much collaboration throughout the process of filming or is it really a director/actor relationship?
Kevin: In any film, there is a collaboration. Everybody has to collaborate. So there was plenty of collaboration. And that goes with any film. No film is made by itself by one person. It’s just impossible. If you can’t collaborate with someone you’re never going to get your film made. So yeah, it’s a big exercise in collaboration. Any film is.
Betsy: Did your film play in Cannes?
Kevin: Yes. We were doing presales in Cannes and it did very well. We had a trailer in Cannes, but we’re not completely ready with the film.
Betsy: What type of audience do you expect the film to appeal to?
Kevin: I would imagine it would be a younger crowd. A younger demographic
Betsy: What will the rating be?
Kevin: PG-13. Maybe R. I don’t know yet.
Betsy: What do you think will be most surprising about the film?
Kevin: I just it will be surprising, the characters that are in the film. It will take people off guard cause it’s not your average kind of romantic comedy. There are some really unique characters. Norm MacDonald’s character is a very unique.
Betsy: On the scale of budget, where does this film fall?
Kevin: Oh it’s low budget film.
Betsy: With that in mind, what are the expectations?
Kevin: You know we just hope to get an audience, hope to go theatrical. I think we’re a good enough film to do that, and we just hope to gain an audience. Every goal is to just get as many people to like it as you can. That’s always the goal with any film. That’s our goal. Get as many people watching it and as many people liking it as possible.
Betsy: I would have to say that with the cast that you have, how could you not love it? Just the SNL cast alone, that’s awesome. I’m actually excited about it. I’m looking forward to it. Is there anything else you’d like to add about the film?
Kevin: I just think it’s a unique film that I think people are going to enjoy. It’s a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun with the film. And I think people are really going to like it. I can’t wait for it to come out.
Images courtesy Kevin Farley
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