Comedy legend Will Ferrell drew inspiration for his signature act in new Netflix film ‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’ from Mariya Yaremchuk’s 2014 Eurovision hit ‘Tik Tok’.
It’s simple to say that Americans just don’t get Eurovision. They don’t get the schmooze. They don’t get the schmaltz. They don’t even get the songs.
As Will Ferrell explained in an interview with Coco late show host Conan O’Brien this week:
“It is like Cirque du Soleil meets American Idol meets … a residency show in Vegas.”
But with the advent of sites like YouTube, the competition continues to grow in popularity in the United States. The 2016 show was the first to be broadcast in the U.S. and in addition to Ferrell’s Eurovision-themed movie, Netflix added the 2018 and 2019 competitions last year.
‘Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga’ is a comedy about a faux Icelandic duo that surprises everyone by qualifying for Eurovision. The film pairs Ferrell with Rachel McAdams as the band Fire Saga and stars former James Bond – Pierce Brosnan – as Ferrell’s father.
The group’s signature song, performed in the climax of the film, features Ferrell’s character singing while running in a giant hamster wheel. If that looks familiar, it’s because he took it right out of Mariya Yaremchuk’s 2014 Eurovision act.
The talented Ukrainian singer had a hit in ‘Tik Tok’, which finished sixth in the 2014 contest. It was that performance that inspired the grand finale in Ferrell’s film.
“One of the bits that we actually lifted and put in the movie was … Ukraine, and this singer was singing but behind them on the stage was a man just running in a … human-sized hamster wheel for three minutes … they even got a tight shot of the guy running in the hamster wheel and he just kept running – he wouldn’t even look at the camera”, he told O’Brien.
“We were so obsessed with that image that we ended up putting it in the movie.”
Ferrell has been a Eurovision fan since his wife’s Swedish family introduced him to the competition over 20 years ago. He has been to three events, although didn’t make it to Kyiv either time the city hosted – in 2005 and 2017.