Belfast Telegraph

Father Figures: 'There's this big lie at the centre of the family that gets exposed'

New comedy Father Figures sees Owen Wilson and Ed Helms play fraternal twins who discover their mother has lied to them about their allegedly deceased father. The duo talk about the film's message, their own relatives and working with superstar Glenn Close. By Georgia Humphreys

Growing pains: Ed Helms (left) and Owen Wilson in Father Figures
Growing pains: Ed Helms (left) and Owen Wilson in Father Figures
Glenn Close
Ed Helms (right) and Owen Wilson

Filming Father Figures became quite the family affair for Owen Wilson. The comedy sees the actor starring alongside Ed Helms as fraternal twins who find out that their mum has been lying to them about their father's death.

After discovering he did not, in fact, die of colon cancer before they were born, the brothers hit the road to find their biological dad - and a stop along the way sees Wilson's real-life brother, Andrew, do a funny scene in the movie.

"He's the quiet talker when we're checking into the motel," reveals 49-year-old Wilson, who also has another actor brother, Luke.

He adds: "It was good to discuss scenes with Andrew and get his perspective on stuff.

"He loved it as much as I did and so it was just fun for us to think of stuff that might be good for the movie."

Helms (44) agrees working with Andrew was fun: "It gave us a real bearing on brotherhood."

"And it was fun having your mom on set!" says Wilson with a grin as he turns to Helms.

"My kids came and we were in Atlanta - that feels like home to me because I've been there so many times, and it's actually Ed's place of origin," Wilson, who is Texas-born, adds enthusiastically.

With careers spanning over two decades, both Hollywood funnymen have huge blockbuster comedies under their belts.

For Wilson, the list of hits includes Zoolander, Wedding Crashers and Meet The Parents.

Meanwhile, one look at Helms and you're instantly reminded of his brilliant turn as Stuart Price in The Hangover Trilogy.

But Father Figures is the first time these two stars have teamed up as leads for a two-hander.

With Helms playing highly-strung doctor Peter (also a downbeat divorcee struggling to get on with his teenage son) and Wilson portraying Kyle, a beach bum who's been living a charmed life in Hawaii with his young wife, their characters couldn't be more different.

Add in Glenn Close as their eccentric mum Helen, and you've got some stellar casting.

"She is a wonderful actress," notes Wilson of the Fatal Attraction star. "And even more than that, just hanging around on set, and laughing, and going to dinner was fun."

Together, the three play out the crazy revelation that sets up the story: not only have they been misled by Helen for their entire lives, she admits she has no idea who actually fathered them.

And Helms says he loves the message of the movie, as he reckons it's something people can empathise with.

"There is this big lie at the centre of this family, that gets exposed and then it gets kind of reconciled," he elaborates.

"It's something that every family can relate to in one form or another. You just have to step back from conflict and get a little higher altitude and be like, 'Everybody's intentions are good and there is a foundation of love here, so can't we just get along?'"

Meanwhile, much of the film's comedy arises from the pair meeting a multitude of potential fathers.

You've got Oscar winner JK Simmons as a tattooed, reclusive con artist, Christopher Walken as a quirky veterinarian and former American footballer Terry Bradshaw as, well, himself.

As well as the laughs and the bickering, we also see how the quest leads to the brothers, who had grown distant over the years, having some nice bonding moments as they re-connect.

In terms of what the future holds for the actors, Helms has a show on Comedy Central called the Fake News with Ted Nelms.

"Ted Nelms being my news anchor alter ego", he explains, before a supportive Wilson quips, "A lot of people talk about fake news ... Ted Nelms delivers it."

And while Wilson consistently nabs a variety of impressive film roles - from romcoms to animated children's movies to more serious thrillers - one thing he would like to return to is screenplays.

His last writing credit was for 2001 comedy drama, The Royal Tenenbaums, and he jokes proba bly "acting has got in the way".

"I think sometimes it's fun just to act and writing can be a bit more like having a term paper," he says. "But when you get on a roll, it's great."

His writing skills have come in handy over the years.

"I didn't study acting and so one of the things that has always helped me is an ability to come up with stuff for something that I'm acting in - a way to maybe make a scene better," he says.

"And so you probably exercise that muscle a little bit even when you're acting, just going over the script and trying to come up with ideas."

He adds passionately of his writing: "It is always one of those things that I think I'm going to get back to - and I imagine I will."

Father Figures is out in cinemas now

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