Tag Archives: Will Ferrell

Fred Armisen is Amazing at Accents

 

Sometimes a comedian comes around that just takes you by surprise. For me, that happened with Fred Armisen. Now, to be fair, Fred has been around as a comedian and a musician for a long time, but for some reason, he was not on my radar…he doesn’t seem to jump out at you like some of the other people that have come from Saturday Night Live. Whereas, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy would be the Hot Dog– Fred Armisen would be the condiment, to use a metaphor from my favorite food…for most people, Fred would be the mustard. He just makes the Hot Dog that much better.

My first experience with Fred was very very recent. It was while watching the Netflix special, Fred Armisen: Stand Up For Drummers…and I was mildly entertained for the first 15 minutes or so…quietly enjoying the fact that he’s so unassuming. He comes across as very comfortable and nice and amusing. And then he got to the part where he explains accents and dialects from all around the United States while pointing to a blue map of the US…and he blew me away! He is a MASTER at accents from all around the world, really, I was to learn later. I haven’t ever seen anything quite like it.

Not only can he nail any accent, but he does it down to the city or even suburb… even describing the slight differences in regions of the same place…it’s amazing.  what I love most is that these are not parodies of the accents…but the actual understated minute-detailed versions of the accents. I saw a couple of Interviews pulled from Youtube later that showed when an accent got to be from a certain place that was very big or showy– that he would get uncomfortable doing the accent as it would come across as racist or rude…like when he’s asked to do a Jamaican or Vietnamese accent.

He reminds me of Peter Sellers in his ability to do just about any accent as if it was his natural accent. And it becomes that much more hilarious– because the accent is so real instead of outrageously phony. My train of thought brought me back to the old Pink Panther and the Inspector cartoons of the sixties and I remember the Inspector’s sidekick being a Spanish gendarme who does not comprehend the intricacies of the French language… a Sergeant Deux-Deux, who is diminutive, soft-spoken, timid yet low-key and seldom wide-eyed. Now, I wish Fred was around when the Pink Panther movies were being shot, because they could have easily slipped Fred in as Sergeant Deux-Deux.

Stuntman Spotlight: Allan Graf

 

Often called “Coach” by his crew on any given set, because he works on so many sports films coordinating stunts or second unit direction. After playing football with USC during their remarkable undefeated season in 1972 and then briefly for the Los Angeles Rams in the early 70’s, he got his start in the movies as a stuntman on the Walt Disney sports film, Gus (1976) doubling Dick Butkis and he never looked back. For the next 40 years he moved from stuntman to stunt coordinator and then to second unit director on some of Hollywood’s biggest films.allan-graf-red-heat

You may recognize Allan as he often casts himself in roles for realism and safety when he coordinates stunts on a film or is the 2nd Unit Director. A great example of this is during Walter Hill’s Another 48 Hours (1990) with Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte, where he was the stunt coordinator and he cast himself as the bus driver in the incredible bus flip. He performs a “cannon-roll” using the prison bus at speed, lifting the bus 17 feet (5.2 m) in the air with dynamite, and rolling it down the highway for 285 feet (87 m). Very cool stunt indeed, here’s the clip, judge for yourself:

For a successful football player to organize and coordinate some of the biggest football movies over the past 40 years makes sense. Like Necessary Roughness (1991), The Program (1993), Jerry Maquire (1996), The Waterboy (1998), Any Given Sunday (1999), The Replacements (2000), Friday Night Lights (2004), Gridiron Gang (2006), The Express (2008) and When the Game Stands Tall (2014).

Here’s his football reel I found on IMDB:  http://www.imdb.com/video/demo_reel/vi3445660697

But what is equally impressive is his list of stunts, stunt coordinator and/or 2nd unit director work he’s done on such non-sports related movies, which includes: The Cannonball Run (1981), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Robocop (1987), Total Recall (1990), Wayne’s World (1992), Broken Arrow (1996), Independence Day (1996), We Were Soldiers (2002),  Due Date (2010), The Hangover II (2011), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and The House (2017) which comes out next year with Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler. And that’s just to name a few, trust me this guy’s a machine!

Here’s his full reel, I found on YouTube: