Jimmy Fallon talks about 'Fever Pitch'

The former "Saturday Night Live" star on his new movie with Drew Barrymore
Movie Picture

Jimmy Fallon romances Drew Barrymore in Fever Pitch


Drew Barrymore's latest romantic lead has several connections to her previous one. Not only did Jimmy Fallon come from Saturday Night Live just like Adam Sandler, but he also does a dead on impersonation of him. Fallon said he tested his impression out on Barrymore.

"I did it the first time she hosted actually," Fallon said. "I ended up doing it in the monologue, but we called Sandler that week and just asked him would he mind if I did it. That guy's the greatest guy ever. He's like, ‘Sure, go ahead.' But the first time I did it, I'll never forget. It was my third episode and I think it was my biggest episode on Saturday Night Live ever. It was my breakout for me. Ben Stiller was the host. He came, stayed all night writing with us. He's a great guy. And he was like, ‘Have you heard this kid, the new guy's Adam Sandler impression?' They're like, ‘Yeah, we know he does Adam Sandler but there's no movies coming up. There's no sense in doing it.' He's like, ‘No, it's great, we gotta do it.' And they're like ah, whatever. So we called Tim Herlihy, the head writer on the show at the time, he's Adam's writing partner. He called up Sandler and Adam's like, ‘How you doing, pal? Let me here it?' So I went [Sandler gibberish]. And he's like, ‘That's great. Do it, do it, man.' He loved it so then we just wrote it into jeopardy. Waterboy wasn't even out yet. We just did it and I'll never forget, Ben Stiller really fought for me to do that and then we did it on the same episode I played guitar on Update, so it was a breakout show for me."

In Fever Pitch, Fallon plays an obsessed Red Sox fan struggling to control his devotion when he meets his dream girl (Barrymore). While there are some comic high jinks whenever he has to miss a game, most of the comedy is based on the relationship dialogue.

"I think reality is key to me and less cutesy and more real. Or even just balance it out so you go, ‘Okay, I can believe this.' That was one great thing I think when I saw this movie. They really kept it subtle and real, the Farrelly Brothers did a great job. They didn't go too cutesy. It's actually about the situation. That's a conversation I could see me having in real life. But it doesn't mean I won't be doing romantic comedies where I'm going into outer space, dating an alien."

When it came time to get on one knee to present the opening game ticket, or have Barrymore run across Fenway Park, Fallon found other aspects of reality to get him through the cute moments. "You just try to do something different with it. The running across the field thing, that was the first scene we shot in the movie. We asked the audience to stay, we asked the crowd, ‘Ladies and gentleman, please stay for a scene from the movie Fever Pitch starring Drew Barrymore' and 37,000 people stayed. So that right there was cool. And they said, ‘Just yell whatever you would normally yell if there's a lunatic running across the field.' So they were yelling whatever. Johnny Damon was acting. It's good to see Johnny Damon in an acting role. And she was just running through it. It was just great. I'm telling you, these people were so psyched. The fans were so psyched that someone was doing a movie about a Boston fan that they were giving their all, they were all giving their support to the movie. I thought that was an experience that was mind blowing. And that's how we started the movie. That's the first scene. And we all went back, we had a drink that night because we all met up and we just had to sit and talk about, ‘That really happened and that was amazing, right? I'm not nuts, right? That was the greatest thing ever.' And everyone's like, ‘No, no, it was.' We were all shaking. Nancy Juvonen and all these different producers in the movie, that was probably one of the greatest first scenes I've ever shot. Cameramen were going, ‘I've shot so and so many movies, but this was like how cool is that?'"

Of course, like all romantic comedies, Fallon must go through the "boy loses girl" phase. In this film, it is his own doing as he vocally laments missing a big game despite the wonderful night he's had with her. "It's just real. It happens in real life. I think sometimes you'll say things. You don't think about them. Sometimes in a movie, the lines are so perfect you're like ‘Come on, you know you'd never say that.' You always think of the best comeback when you're in your car driving away. ‘Sh*t, I should've said that.' You only think of the best comeback when you leave. When you're there, you don't say the right words so sometimes you don't think, you just say stuff. Then you go, ‘Oh, I shouldn't have said that.' I think I had to work my way back after that scene. I think it's a shocker. I haven't seen it with a crowd yet but I heard people go like, ‘Oh, no, don't do this. Oh, dude, don't do this. Why are you doing this? Sh*t, oh man, you're f*cked. You're f*cked. You're really screwed. This is not good. You're not going to get back from this one. Oh god, it was going so well. This is bad for you, man. She's such a catch. You're really fucking this up for yourself. You had a great night. Don't ruin it.' But it happens in real life. I think the Farrelly's did it in such a great way and Drew is such a good actor that you want these people to be together where you watch it and you go, ‘Come on, somehow work it out. You can do this. You can work it out.' And I end up taking the parents out golfing and stuff."

For a real life romance, Fallon looks for "a sense of humor. I like intelligent, beautiful as well. As much as I like girls that are pretty."

While his Fever Pitch character has trouble talking to girls at first, that is not what makes Fallon stumbly and nervous in real life. "Talk shows always make me nervous, especially Letterman and Leno just because you're put on the spotlight. I don't know why. It just makes me nervous sometimes."

This from a man who's paid to be on camera. "I don't know why, maybe it's the whole spotlight thing. I just really don't like being the center of attention that much. I hear what you're saying. It's kind of ironic. I guess secretly in my head I probably do but I always just wanted to be on Saturday Night Live really. That was my ultimate goal. Not a solo act. That was a cast of people."

Making the transition into film was a rough start, with Fallon's first starring movie, Taxi, incurring the wrath of critics. "It's kind of a baptism by fire with Taxi. The critics didn't enjoy it that much but it's a hit. I didn't just get hit, I got really hit hard. But you go, ‘Okay, these people have a job to do. They gotta fill a page, they might as well fill it with talking about me.' And then you go, ‘Okay, it's not that easy.'"

It seemed like a good idea at the time. "I just thought Tim Story just came off of Barbershop, Latifah just got nominated for an Oscar for Chicago. And I still like the idea of me and Queen Latifah chasing after Brazilian supermodels who rob banks. That makes me laugh. That plotline makes me laugh."

Looking back at the cast of his beloved TV show still working the night shift, Fallon is hard pressed to pick out one breakout star. "There are so many. The show's just constantly changing as it's going but the women on the show are fantastic. I think they're the best I've seen in a long time. I love Tina [Fey], though I guess she probably broke out already. But Amy Poehler. Will Forte's funny. It's a good cast. I don't know. It constantly changes. Anyone wouldn't surprise me. They're all great."

Dont't forget to also check out: Fever Pitch

Fever Pitch was released April 8th, 2005 and stars Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon, Jason Spevack, Jack Kehler, Scott Severance, Jessamy Finet, Maureen Keiller, Lenny Clarke. The film is directed by Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly.



Sources: Fred Topel

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