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Throughout his film career, Will Ferrell has delved into numerous roles that dwell in the absurd. In fact, upon reading the premise of his upcoming comedy, Tom’s Dad, involving a 1960’s nightclub act and circus animals, one might conclude that the comedic actor is breaking new topical ground in that arena. However, it seems that this movie could showcase a little more heart than usual.
According to a report from Deadline, Ferrell is set to star in Tom’s Dad, a period piece described as a comedy. According to the plot, Ferrell plays Arthur, the titular father to a 12-year-old named Tom. Arthur is a down-on-his luck nightclub performer in 1960’s Nevada who attempts to revive his dwindling career with an act involving circus animals. However, he will deviate from that to take advantage of a 3-week trip taken by his ex-wife, to connect with young Tom in an attempt to rekindle an estranged father-son relationship.
The film will be helmed by Lasse Hallström, the Swedish director known for lighthearted dramas like last year’s The Hundred-Foot Journey, along with Chocolat and The Cider House Rules. Consequently, it does seem rather clear that isn’t going to be one of the absurdly esoteric vehicles Ferrell typically pumps out, like this year’s Get Hard, or his numerous collaborations with Adam McKay, like the Anchorman films. This could be a movie with heart, which is actually something that we’ve sporadically seen from Ferrell in his comedy-dramas like 2010’s Everything Must Go and 2006’s Stranger than Fiction. We could even see similarly strained father-son relationship themes showcased last year with Ferrell’s role in The Lego Movie, in which he played a recalcitrant father, stifling his son’s Lego-inspired imagination, who manifested as the greedy Lord Business in his son’s fantasy world. His eventual regretful epiphany of his ways became the heart of the blockbuster mega-hit.
Yet, when you make a pitch that includes the words "nightclub act" and "circus animals," the film may not fixate too much on the somberness. Besides, anyone who remembers the last time Will Ferrell got involved with animals, specifically a bear, in front of the camera in 2008’s Semi-Pro could probably connect the dots that there might be a fair amount of zaniness scattered amongst the possible heartwarming drama. Barring the real-life tragedy that later occured involving that same bear, the scene, embedded below, remains a hilarious highlight from one his more underrated absurdist efforts.
Filming for Tom’s Dad is expected to start early in 2016 with further casting reportedly underway. Until then, Will Ferrell will tackle a string of other projects, including this year’s comedy, Daddy’s Home, which reunites him with his The Other Guys co-star, Mark Wahlberg. He will also reprise his role as the eccentric villainous fashion designer, Mugatu, in next year’s Zoolander 2. While it will certainly be interesting to see how Tom’ Dad ends up taking shape, there’s still quite a while to go before the results of this possible genre hybrid becomes clear.