Branded “racist as f***” by an audience member at a recent screening, Will Ferrell has been forced to defend Get Hard, his latest comedy which co-stars Kevin Hart.
The criticism came after a screening at SXSW, and director Etan Cohen is said to have been surprised by the backlash. In an interview in Radar magazine, Ferrell has said the joke is on his character, not the black co-star.
The film follows James King (played by Ferrell), a wealthy stock trader who is convicted of fraud and given 30 days to put his affairs in order before going to a maximum security prison to serve his time. In desperation, he hires Darnell (Hart) on the assumption that he must have been in prison on account of his skin colour.
Clearly the film plays on stereotypes, but Ferrell has stated how he sees his role:
“As much as my character knows about financial dealings and how to make a lot of money, he really is completely ignorant about how the rest of the world works. The truth was that was a really delicate balance. We wanted to think about this stuff and think about the stereotypes but not go too far where comedy doesn’t deserve to go.”
Read our review here, and decide for yourself when the film opens on 27 March.