Step Brothers: 15 Behind-The-Scenes Facts
Step Brothers is at the apex of comedies that are so stupid, they’re genius. A blend of heavy improv and swearing like middle schoolers who haven't quite figured it out yet combined to create a modern comedy classic. Here are 15 behind-the-scenes facts to make you appreciate the film even more than your drum set.
McKay Got The Idea For Step Brothers Before Talladega Nights Was Finished
When asked how McKay came up with the idea for the film, he responded, “We met and had dinner. We had like 60 ideas for movies and none of them were quite right. I went to the editing room the next day for Talladega and someone said bunk beds and I was like, ‘wait, what if they’re adult step brothers’ and I called them up and they’re like, ‘I love it.’"
Aside from Ferrell and Reilly, the bunk beds are the biggest stars of the film.
The Drumset Fight Was Based On Reilly’s Brother
According to Reilly, the storyline of Dale not wanting anyone to touch his drum set came from his own brother. Reilly says, “One of my brothers had a drum set and was sensitive about anyone touching it. Still haven’t talked to him about it, by the way. I better make that call.”
Ferrell And Reilly Really Played Their Instruments
John C. Reilly has a broad musical background on Broadway and the folk scene, leading him to play all the drum scenes himself in the movie. Ferrell is no slouch either, as he sang the operatic finale himself with no voice double, according to McKay.
Adam Scott Had A Vocal Double
While everyone else in the film uses their own voices for their singing, McKay wanted Derek to sound unbelievably angelic. Adam Scott lip-synced live to a professional singer standing outside of his windshield in the “Sweet Child O' Mine” car scene.
Related: Adam Scott: 15 Now-You-Know Facts
Brennan’s Testicles Cost More Than Your Car
According to the Step Brother’s director's commentary, the prosthetic testicles used by Will Ferrell to rub on Dale’s drum set cost $25,000 dollars to create. Ferrell, Reilly, and McKay go on to say how at a dinner party prior to shooting, everyone's wives passed around the testicles to see how real they felt.
Allison Jones Was In Charge Of Casting
Allison Jones handled the casting for Step Brothers which is not surprising, as her other casting history includes The Office, Freaks and Geeks, Superbad, Parks and Rec, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Learn more about her clairvoyant casting choices here.
Adam McKay Recycled His Old High School Name For The Movie
Brennan’s heartbreaking origin story took place at the Great Valley High School talent show when Derek convinced the whole school to interrupt his pirate song and dance. This was a reference to McKay's real-life high school alma mater, Malvern, Pennsylvania’s Great Valley High.
The Director’s Commentary Is An Improvised Musical
Jon Brion, the composer of the film, joined Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, and John C. Reilly to create the first completely improvised musical director’s commentary. The commentary features songs about the film like “That Was Green Screen” and “You Need Some Balls To Make Some Balls.” I have been a huge fan of this commentary for a decade, and can not emphasize how much you need to go listen to it right now.
Richard Jenkins Needed A Tetanus Shot
In an interview, Richard Jenkins revealed that he had been bitten on the butt by a small dog on set. He added that he asked McKay if he should be limping in the next scene, to which McKay replied they probably weren’t going to end up using it in the movie. Jenkins got a tetanus shot just to be safe after his injury. This is just another classic case of getting bitten in the butt by a small dog for nothing!
NFL Analyst Cris Collinsworth Refused To Swear On Camera
Adam McKay told Coming Soon “Cris Collinsworth the wide receiver, the guy who does NFL Today. He came on and he was playing Will’s boss just for two lines and I kept giving him dirty things to say because it was Cris Collinsworth. It was a bit of joke casting for us. An inside joke to Will. He would not curse. He kept changing it every time. So that will happen sometimes or the phrasing is so strange the person can’t say it, but 98% of the time they always say it.”
I’ve always said Cris Collinsworth is a square and I finally have proof!
The Catalina Wine Mixer Did Not Take Place On Catalina Island
Ferrell came up with the idea of the finale wine mixer taking place at Catalina Island when writing the script, and McKay agreed, not being very familiar with Catalina. McKay says they went on a scout day to look at Catalina Island and he described the island as “not great with a lot of shirtless tourists drinking margaritas and chainsmoking.” They decided to keep the name but change the location to the Trump National Golf Course.
They Shot 1.5 Million Feet Of Film
The first version of the film ran around 5 hours long, because they had shot over 1.5 million feet of film, a full half-million more than Talladega Nights. They managed to cut it down to 98 minutes for the theatrical release, which is good for some but sad for me.
A Step Brothers Rap Album Was Nearly Released
McKay began working with the music producer of “Boats ‘N Hoes” to release a full Dale and Brennan rap album for fans. McKay said “We actually wrote four or five raps, roughs of them, and were going to release the ‘Step Brothers’ rap album and I can’t remember what happened, but right in the middle of it we suddenly got super busy and everyone had to walk away, and it’s never been revived. We actually were halfway through writing it.”
Perhaps it’s still not too late?
Jon Hamm Almost Played Derek
The three finalists to be Derek came down to RENO 911’s Thomas Lennon, Mad Men’s John Hamm, and Adam Scott.
I say we Multiverse of Madness the film and see the alternate version where they cast Hamm and compare.
Related: Adam Scott: 15 Now-You-Know Facts
The Playground Fight Was Based On A True Story
During the writing phase, Adam McKay wanted to work in a scene with kids beating up adults because, as he recounts, “I remembered a story from when I grew up where a kid on our block threatened a grown-up. Then the grown-up backed off. I remember being 12 years old, and being like, ‘Wow! Our friend Pat just threatened a grown-up and then the grown-up backed off!’ We wanted that in there.”
Who knew that horrific scene could come from such a real place?
For exclusive ComedyNerd content and more, subscribe to our spiffy newsletter:
Top Image: Columbia Pictures