Chris Kattan Says Will Ferrell Stopped Taking His Calls After "A Night at the Roxbury" (2024)

Long before they co-starred in the movie adapted from their Saturday Night Live characters,A Night at the Roxbury, Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan were buddies who developed sketches together as part of the Groundlings improv troop in the early '90s and even teamed up for a stint as a mall Santa and his elf. Sadly, their longtime bond did not survive filming of the 1998 comedy about the head-bobbing Butabi brothers. In his 2019 memoir, Kattan revealed that Ferrell stopped returning his phone calls after the movie wrapped. Read on to find out about the backstage machinations that Kattan claimed led to the cult comedy's co-stars' falling out.

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Kattan claims Lorne Michaels pressured him to date the director.

Chris Kattan Says Will Ferrell Stopped Taking His Calls After "A Night at the Roxbury" (1)

In his 2019 memoir Baby, Don't Hurt Me: Stories and Scars from Saturday Night Live, Kattan recounted that Amy Heckerling, the then-43-year-old director of Clueless and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, was initially attached to direct A Night at the Roxbury. One day after a casting session, she offered to drive Ferrell and Kattan home and after dropping off Ferrell, allegedly asked the 27-year-old Kattan if they were going to have sex. He wrote that he awkwardly responded, "I don't know…I can't believe you just said that."

He went on to claim that he received a call from a "furious" Lorne Michaels, who was producing the film, telling him that Heckerling was considering dropping out. Shouting that Paramount would only make the film if she directed it, the legendarySNLcreator allegedly pressured Kattan to "keep Amy happy" and not involve Ferrell, adding, "Chris, I'm not saying you have to [expletive] her, but it wouldn't hurt." (A spokesperson for SNL denied that this happened, while Heckerling refused to comment other than calling Kattan "a nut" in an interview with The Daily Beast.)

Ferrell didn't like how Kattan broke up with his girlfriend.

Chris Kattan Says Will Ferrell Stopped Taking His Calls After "A Night at the Roxbury" (2)

Heckerling ultimately signed on to co-produce the film with Michaels, leaving directing to frequent Clueless TV show spinoff director and alumnus of Michaels' Broadway Video production company, John Fortenberry.Although Kattan was living with girlfriend Jennifer Coolidge at the time, he wrote that Heckerling continued to pursue him as production ramped up, inviting him to a party without other members of the production and kissing him afterwards. Coolidge, who plays a cop in A Night at the Roxbury, had already raised the subject of breaking up, and Kattan soon initiated it, writing that he later learned that "the way [he] handled it was seen as insensitive and [expetive]-ish by a lot of Groundling friends, especially Will."

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Kattan was distressed by the affair.

Chris Kattan Says Will Ferrell Stopped Taking His Calls After "A Night at the Roxbury" (3)

According to Kattan, Heckerling soon approached the newly single actor after a night of scene blocking on the Paramount lot, which led to the two hooking up on the so-called "casting couch" in her office. While the encounter was consensual, Kattan wrote in his book that he "was attracted to Amy, but at the same time very afraid of the power she and Lorne wielded over my career." He claimed that the stress began to affect him physically and that his hands broke out in "such intense eczema that the palms would often bleed."

Ferrell ended their friendship.

Chris Kattan Says Will Ferrell Stopped Taking His Calls After "A Night at the Roxbury" (4)

The secrecy also took its toll on his relationship with Ferrell, who Kattan said was quietly told about his relationship with Heckerling by "Lorne himself." He recounted noting a change in their dynamic, writing, "I stepped into the hair/makeup trailer as Will was having his wig fitted, and it seemed like the temperature between the two of us had changed." In the weeks after the film wrapped, Ferrell sat out much of its publicity tour and supposedly stopped returning Kattan's calls.

When the two returned to film the next season of SNL, Ferrell sat Kattan down for a talk. According to the memoir, he then ended the friendship, telling Kattan, "So, I got all your messages, but I didn't call you back because I didn't want to talk to you." The Elf star further explained, as recounted by Kattan, "I'm done…I don't want to be your friend anymore. I'm going to be professional and still work with you on the show, but that's it."

Kattan is still open to a sequel.

Chris Kattan Says Will Ferrell Stopped Taking His Calls After "A Night at the Roxbury" (5)

Although Kattan and Ferrell continued their professional relationship on SNL to create memorable sketches like "More Cowbell" through 2002, Kattan wrote that he never regained "the closest and most important friendship [he] ever had," adding sorrowfully, "I felt that we still loved each other. But some damage can't be undone."

WhileA Night at the Roxburyonly brought in about $30 million at the box office and was slammed by most critics, it has a cult following and plenty of fans who'd like to see Ferrell and Kattan's clubbing brothers return. Despite their falling out, Kattan told TMZ in 2022 he would love to join Ferrell for a Roxbury sequel. ​​"I haven't [talked to Ferrell about it], but so many people do talk to me and ask me about it. 'Is there going to be a Night at the Roxbury 2?' I think it would be fun, you know," he explained. "I think we'd see where we are at this point."

Ferrell long ago made his displeasure with the film known, however. In a 2003 interview with Moviehole, he said, "Let's just say I liked my part in The Ladies Man better than I liked the whole Roxbury movie. So no sequel, I've kind of done that."

As an enthusiast deeply immersed in the world of film, particularly the dynamics and behind-the-scenes intricacies of movie productions, I can provide valuable insights into the complexities of actor relationships, directorial influences, and the impact of personal experiences on professional collaborations. My passion for the subject is not just theoretical; it's backed by a wealth of knowledge and a keen understanding of the nuances within the entertainment industry.

Now, delving into the article about the strained friendship between Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan during the filming of "A Night at the Roxbury," let's break down the key concepts:

  1. Groundlings Improv Troop in the Early '90s:

    • The article mentions that Ferrell and Kattan were part of the Groundlings improv troop in the early '90s. The Groundlings is a renowned improvisational and sketch comedy troupe based in Los Angeles, known for nurturing talents in the entertainment industry.
  2. Development of Sketches and Saturday Night Live (SNL):

    • Ferrell and Kattan collaborated on sketches as part of the Groundlings and later translated their chemistry onto Saturday Night Live (SNL), showcasing their comedic talents on a national platform.
  3. Background of "A Night at the Roxbury" and Fallout:

    • The article discusses the movie "A Night at the Roxbury," adapted from their SNL characters, the Butabi brothers. It details the fallout of their friendship, with Kattan revealing in his 2019 memoir that Ferrell stopped returning his calls after the movie wrapped.
  4. Lorne Michaels' Involvement and Alleged Pressure:

    • Lorne Michaels, the legendary creator of SNL, is mentioned as a key figure. Kattan claims Michaels pressured him to date the director, Amy Heckerling, who was initially attached to direct the film. Michaels allegedly wanted Kattan to keep Heckerling happy for the sake of the film.
  5. Amy Heckerling's Role and Controversy:

    • Amy Heckerling, known for directing films like "Clueless" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," was initially set to direct "A Night at the Roxbury." Kattan claims in his memoir that Heckerling pursued him romantically during production, leading to a strained relationship with Ferrell.
  6. Impact on Kattan's Relationship with Ferrell:

    • The alleged affair with Heckerling and the subsequent secrecy took a toll on Kattan's friendship with Ferrell. The article outlines how Ferrell was informed about the relationship by Michaels, leading to a change in their dynamic, and ultimately resulting in the end of their friendship.
  7. Professional Relationship vs. Personal Fallout:

    • Despite the strained personal relationship, Ferrell and Kattan continued their professional collaboration on SNL until 2002. The article highlights the professional dynamics that persisted despite the personal fallout.
  8. Kattan's Desire for a Sequel:

    • Kattan expresses openness to a sequel of "A Night at the Roxbury" in 2022, despite the long-standing tension. He mentions in the article that he hasn't talked to Ferrell about it but would be interested in reprising their roles.
  9. Ferrell's Displeasure with the Film:

    • Will Ferrell has expressed his displeasure with "A Night at the Roxbury" in the past, stating in a 2003 interview that he preferred his part in "The Ladies Man" over the entire Roxbury movie. Ferrell indicated no interest in a sequel, citing his dissatisfaction with the original film.

This breakdown offers a comprehensive understanding of the intricate relationships, professional pressures, and personal challenges that unfolded during the production of "A Night at the Roxbury" and its aftermath, as revealed in Chris Kattan's memoir.

Chris Kattan Says Will Ferrell Stopped Taking His Calls After "A Night at the Roxbury" (2024)
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