Since its debut late last week, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's The Landlord has ridden the surefire blockbuster formula of mixing the world's biggest comedy star with a potty-mouthed, alcoholic baby to nearly 2.5 million views, an achievement of viral video dissemination not seen since Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake cut holes in a pair of boxes and then inserted their engorged genitals into said boxes. This explosive success has sent the media scrambling to figure out who or what is behind Funny Or Die, the video-sharing site that launched with the Ferrell clip. THR tracked down the shadowy puppetmaster behind the new web venture for comment:
Ferrell and McKay employed their alter ego, Gary Sanchez, to talk about their first foray into original Web content.
Sanchez, an enigmatic character described as a Paraguayan ex-NFL player who sounded on the phone awfully like McKay with a Spanish accent, said that video starring Hollywood heavyweights will appear regularly in the "featured" section of FunnyOrDie, but "the meat and cabbage of the site will be the real peoples."
He added that the site's principals will regularly scour the site to look for new talent who will then be whisked away and "put on a private jet to Paraguay."
Meanwhile, the LAT managed to get an out-of-character McKay on the record about the video, the streamlined online development process which allowed the project to go from "Hey, Will, wouldn't it be funny if my baby got drunk and threatened you?" pitch to completed production in under an hour, and address concerns about how the short's breakout child star handled the demands of the role.
Reached by phone, writer-director Adam McKay, Ferrell's longtime friend and collaborator (most recently they did "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" and "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby"), confessed to being behind the video and insisted there was no corporate entity involved. "It's just us," McKay said. "That's the fun — this isn't brought to you by GE or Viacom or whoever."
The video took about 45 minutes to make, McKay said. "Will and I were just screwing around and it was like, hey, that's a good idea, let's film that."
McKay plays Ferrell's friend in the short and is also the father of Pearl (it's her real name). [...]
As for his daughter playing the dissolute landlord, McKay said it was no big deal. "She's in that phase right now where you can repeat anything to her and she won't remember it."
With young Pearl at this sweet spot in her mental development, McKay and Ferrell should fast-track the inevitable sequel (in this brave new world, it could premiere later this afternoon) before The Landlord II's more demanding, Fanning-level material, in which the now crack-addicted baby-slumlord returns to collect the rent with a loaded firearm, can emotionally damage their in-house talent.