Will Ferrell, king of the family friendly mid-oughts comedy, is about thirty years past the age of your typical esports player. It’s safe to assume that’s the gag in his newest movie, where Ferrell will star as a player on a pro gaming team, but details outside of that are sparse.
Ferrell’s films have centered around less-traditional sports in the past, such as figure skating (Blades of Glory) and NASCAR (Talladega Nights). Esports, you could argue, is a natural next step, especially with its rising prominence. But many esports fans I’ve spoken to aren’t exactly thrilled, and it’s hard to blame them.
Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to make fun of in the world of esports, but it’s not unreasonable to expect writers Michael Kvamme and Jordan Dunn, who are currently working on the script for the third Spongebob Squarepants movie, to reach for low-hanging fruit. Hollywood doesn’t have a very good track record as far as movies about videogames are concerned—one only has to turn to last year’s nihilistic, misanthropic and serially unfunny Adam Sandler movie, PIXELS, to be reminded of how wrong these can go.
If there’s something to take heart in, though, it’s that the team behind the movie does seem to be consulting the professionals. Esports organizations Fnatic and Evil Geniuses are both in talks to be involved in the film, but whether that role will be a cameo or something more advisory is unclear.
In 2014, Ferrell had a brief flirtation with the gaming world when he tried to raise money to fight cancer by offering to compete against top players for charity on Twitch. His IndieGoGo campaign failed to raise the minimum amount to host the event, though, which was set at 375,000 dollars. We can hope that his new venture into this space will be more successful, but until we know more, I wouldn’t hold your breath.