The hilarious Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby was released over ten years ago. It was 2006 when the racing comedy directed by Adam McKay and starring Will Ferrell with a guest appearance from Sacha Baron Cohen came out in 2006. Wow, time sure flies.
Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) and his best friend and teammate Cal Naughton Jr. (John C. Reilly), or “Shake n’ Bake” as you may know them, introduced us to the wild and amazing world of NASCAR and we loved every second of it.
What better way to honor this wonderful comedy than to share some little-known facts, compiled by Diply, about the movie?
1. “Six words: Will Ferrell as a NASCAR driver.”
That is how Adam McKay explained the movie to the studios when he was pitching the idea. As simple as that, and somehow more than enough.
2. The reunion that never was
Will Ferrell wanted a reunion with Steve Carell after working with him on Anchorman, according to IMDB. Sadly, Carell’s busy schedule didn’t allow him to take part in this movie.
Source: Wikimedia Commons | Eva Rinaldi
3. The Tom Cruise reference
The scene where Ricky yells “Help me, Tom Cruise!” is actually a reference to both Cruise’s role in Days of Thunder (where he played a stock car driver who loses his ability to drive – just like Ricky Bobby) and his involvement in the Church of Scientology.
4. Molly Shannon’s matchmaking
Molly Shannon is the one who brought Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly together. Reilly said that he met Ferrell “through my friend Molly Shannon and we just hit it off right away. That friendship bled into the relationship in Talladega Nights.”
5. The Anchorman heartbreak
John C. Reilly wanted to work with Ferrell on Anchorman but couldn’t. “That was a real heartbreak for me because I thought that was the chance to work with Will and Adam,” said Reilly. “Lo and behold, they put this together and called me.”
6. A years-long dream
A NASCAR movie was something that McKay and Ferrell had wanted to do for several years. “Will and I talked about NASCAR racing while he was making Elf,” said McKay. “We weren’t even huge NASCAR fans at the time, but after we started going to the track, we got swept up in the phenomenon.”
7. Outdone by amateurs
Apparently, some really funny people work at NASCAR. “Some guy at NASCAR would pitch us a better joke than we had, and then we were embarrassed that they could ride cars at 150 miles per hour and be funnier than us,” said producer Judd Apatow.
8. The inspiration for Cal Naughton Jr.’s look
When he was coming up with the way Cal Naughton Jr. would look, John C. Reilly turned to drivers from the ’60s and ’70s for inspiration. “I looked at this book of the history of NASCAR, and I was looking more in the ’60s and ’70s, like, these are my people,” said Reilly. “Big muttonchops, sideburns, and crazy facial hair.”
9. A worthy goal
They really practiced racing. “We did about eight or nine laps following a pace car,” Ferrell revealed. “The three of us had only one goal: to beat Britney Spears, who had once gone 112 miles an hour. Fortunately, we all did.”
10. Not everyone enjoyed it
In fact, Sacha Baron Cohen hated it. “The first thing they do is have you ride shotgun with a real NASCAR driver at about 180 miles an hour around the track. It was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life,” said Baron Cohen.
11. From personal experience
The scene where Ricky thinks he is going a lot faster than he is was based on Will Ferrell’s own experience. “The scene where Ricky comes back and thinks he’s going fast, but he’s really only going 25 miles per hour, totally terrified. That was pretty much based on real-life experience,” said Ferrell.
12. An unpleasant response
A crowd of 20,000 racing fans at Talladega booed Sacha Baron Cohen when the actors were introduced as their characters because he was “French”. Lucky for them they weren’t at that rodeo in Borat…
Source: Basement Rejects
13. A goldmine of laughs
The knife-in-the-leg scene became a lot longer than anticipated because it got huge laughs. “The knife in the leg is a bit that in no way serves the story, but we thought it was funny,” said McKay.
14. The “Goodbye Cowboy” song
The song at the end of the movie was written and sung by Will Ferrell’s father. Roy Lee Ferrell was part of The Righteous Brothers’ band for almost twenty years where he played the saxophone and keyboards.
15. Fast-forward to the future
The hilarious DVD commentary supposedly takes place in 2031 and it celebrates the movie’s 25th anniversary. In the future, Adam McKay has been eaten by a hammerhead shark and John C. Reilly is a militia leader in the “island state” of Michigan.
Source: Things I’m Not Writing About
16. Surprise, surprise
Amy Adams thought Will Ferrell wasn’t a good kisser. But he surprised her by being a “fantastic kisser!”