Will Forte on Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie: It Doesn’t Get Much Nuttier

Movieline caught up with Will Forte this week in Park City, where he was at Sundance to support Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s absurdist midnight offering Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie. In the film, Forte plays the uptight, moustachioed owner of a sword store in a mall that bumbling filmmakers Tim and Eric have taken over following the epic failure of their brush with Hollywood. Forte compared the more restricted sensibilities of his gig on Saturday Night Live to working within the madcap, surrealist stylings of the cult duo.

Forte, like Billion Dollar Movie co-stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, also appeared on Heidecker and Wareheim’s Adult Swim sketch show Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! He recalled his first time on the series, filming a bit called the Lazy Horse Mattress Ad.

“I just did exactly what Tim and Eric asked me to do -- that was the first time I ever worked with these guys, and it was the best experience,” Forte remembered. “It was so fun, because it’s this advertisement for a mattress store and in between there’s this crazy dream, and for the crazy dream part they just turned the camera on and said ‘Go nuts for a while!’”

“They’d turn the camera off for four or five minutes, say ‘Try this, do this here…’ They were so good about giving you direction but also giving you a ton of freedom. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had – it was so therapeutic to just be able to go nuts for a while. You don’t get to do that very often.”

His more famous gig on Saturday Night Live, on the other hand, is understandably a much different process. “I love SNL, but it’s different. It’s got to be structured because it’s a live show, so the director needs to know what you’re going to do so he can capture it best; you can go nuts on that show, but it’s a different type of nuts.”

As for Billion Dollar Movie, Forte is just one of a number of zany characters populating the first Tim and Eric feature, and while his part is plenty absurd, it’s nowhere near the most bizarre or random bit in the film. (Just wait ‘til you find out what shrim is, folks.) “I’ve always been a fan of the nuttier stuff,” Forte enthused, “and you don’t get much nuttier than Tim and Eric – I mean that as a major compliment.”

Sundance audiences didn’t quite know what to make of Billion Dollar Movie; even crew members admitted to Movieline that you’re either a Tim & Eric fan, or you may not get their brand of random, hyper-ridiculous comedy. Still, if the film is a success, Heidecker told me, they’d possibly explore a prequel – Tim and Eric’s Million Dollar Movie, perhaps?

[Photo: Getty Images]

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