June 24, 2020 / 5:40 PM / 12 days ago

With Eurovision canceled, Netflix offers fans a Will Ferrell comedy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - With the coronavirus pandemic forcing cancellation of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, actors Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams hope fans can get their fix by watching their madcap Netflix comedy about a duo from Iceland who compete in the event.

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga” is a “zany, unexpected, musical extravaganza,” McAdams told Reuters.

She and Ferrell play Sigrit Ericksdottir and Lars Erickssong, blond Scandinavian soulmates who bumble their way into being Iceland’s contest entrants, and find unlikely ways to keep advancing.

The Eurovision Song Contest is one of the world’s biggest annual television events, featuring colorful and often tongue-in-cheek and over-the-top performances. It was due to take place in Rotterdam in May after the Netherlands won the 2019 contest, but was canceled as the pandemic spread.

Pierce Brosnan said he only needed a quick look at the script to sign on for the role of Ferrell’s father and harshest critic, Erick Erickssong.

“I read it one morning and said yes to it by lunchtime,” Brosnan said, adding he “grew up with Eurovision living in London” and watched ABBA win in 1974.

Ferrell said Eurovision officials “totally got” his idea of a movie lampooning the contest.

“I said, ‘You know, we’re going to have some fun with it.’ And they’re like: ‘Oh, you should.’”

FILE PHOTO: Fans watch on a big screen the 2019 Eurovision song contest final in the fans zone by the beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, May 19, 2019. REUTERS/ Corinna Kern/File Photo

Ferrell said real past Eurovision performances were a key inspiration and gave them the idea, for instance, for a scene in which Ferrell sings while running on a giant hamster wheel.

“Andrew (Steele), our writer said, let’s just do the hamster wheel.” They got an “amazing team of British prop guys constructing this massive hamster wheel out of steel that would later be lowered, you know, 100 feet out of the air that I’m running on.”

Ferrell said he hopes the Netflix Inc movie can “show our love and gratitude for this kind of amazing, amazing contest that... 46 countries compete in every year. And it means so much to the community.”

Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Dave Gregorio; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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