Why Will Forte blew off his vacation to make the movie ‘Extra Ordinary’

Why Will Forte blew off his vacation to make the movie ‘Extra Ordinary’

It’s not easy being Will Forte’s mom.

Back in 2010, when “MacGruber” hit theaters, Forte’s supportive mother urged all her friends to go see it. The film, a parody of the ‘80s TV series “MacGyver,” was a raunchy R-rated comedy that featured copious F-bombs, a villain named Dieter Von Cunth and a scene in which Forte’s MacGruber has graphic sex with a ghost.

“Some of her friends went and saw the movie and basically dropped her as a friend,” Forte tells The Post. “She’s had a tough go of it.”

His mom, Patricia Forte, should feel marginally safer about his latest effort. “Extra Ordinary,” opening Friday, is a quirky Irish horror-comedy about a rural driving instructor (Maeve Higgins) who can talk to spirits. Forte, a former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, plays a past-his-prime rock star who is attempting to sacrifice a virgin to regain his career.

In typical Forte fashion, the character is both incredibly weird and charmingly absurd.

Will Forte
Will ForteJUCO/The Licensing Project

One of the reasons Forte wanted to do the movie was to visit Ireland — a country he fell in love with after first visiting back in 2007, following the London Led Zeppelin reunion show. (It’s one of his favorite bands.)

“I was going to go on vacation, and this script showed up,” the actor, 49, says. “I was originally like, ‘No way. I just want to relax.’ Then I read it, and it was just so funny and different. I thought, ‘What the heck!’ ”

Directors Enda Loughman and Mike Ahern, oddly, told Forte to use “The Lady in Red” singer Chris De Burgh as reference for his character.

“As for the washed-up part, that comes pretty naturally to me,” Forte says. “I don’t know why I say that. I’m kind of joking, but I’m sure I have some kind of deep-seated confidence issues, as do we all.”

Forte (real name, Orville Willis Forte IV) grew up near San Francisco and later attended UCLA. Upon graduation, he went to work in the finance world — following in his father’s footsteps. But before he became a full-fledged broker, he bailed, deciding to pursue his true passion: comedy.

He joined Los Angeles’ The Groundlings, the famous improv theater.

“My sense of humor seems to have always been a little different,” he says. “I’ve always gravitated towards the more absurd stuff: Steve Martin and Peter Sellers and ‘SNL’ and Monty Python.”

Another of his idols was David Letterman, and in the late ’90s, Forte landed a writing gig on the show. After just a few months, however, he was let go.

“I think I was my own worst critic there, and you’re trying so hard to write stuff that they like, and if something wouldn’t get on, I would just feel like, ‘I can’t write something like that anymore.’ Soon, you’ve painted yourself in a corner with all the things you can’t do.”

In 2002, he landed on “SNL.” He quickly set up shop on the show’s absurdist margins, playing mumbling politician Tim Calhoun and, of course, MacGruber.

He exited in 2012, and says the show has been good training for everything else.

“More than anything, you’re put in such a pressure cooker that you have such a psychological advantage when you go and do other things, because you feel like it prepares you to go through all that stress,” Forte says. “You realize you can do all this stuff at a breakneck pace, so once it slows down and you have time to do several takes, it doesn’t seem that hard.”

His greatest critical success came with 2013’s “Nebraska,” the Oscar-nominated drama from Alexander Payne that starred Bruce Dern.

“Even just getting to do one movie like that is such a blessing,” the actor says. “I would have never thought that anyone would give me a chance to do one.”

Will Forte
Will ForteGetty Images

And despite Forte’s talk of being washed up, he remains busy. In May, he’ll voice Shaggy in a new animated take on “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!”

“It was very, very nerve-racking,” he says. “It’s tough to go in when a lot of people have expectations of what the voice should sound like. I’m not a great impersonator, but the people making the movie said it was OK to put my own spin on it, and that they weren’t trying to get someone who would sound like traditional Shaggy.

“It’s not wildly different from what he was but not a spot on impersonation of Shaggy, either.”

“MacGruber” is also set to return in a series for NBC’s streaming platform. The 2010 movie bombed when it was released, but in the ensuing years, it has developed a cult following.

“I feel like some people have given it a second chance, which feels really nice,” Forte says. “It’s tough when we have to go through the experience of feeling like a failure, but then you think, ‘You know what? You can’t equate success with how much money it made.’ We were proud of it.”

Forte now resides in California and recently bought a house near Monterey. He’s not married, although he has been linked to January Jones and others over the years.

He says that he’s pretty much checked many of the boxes in his career.

“When I started out, one of my heroes was David Letterman, and I got to go write on the staff, which was a huge honor,” he says. “Then ‘SNL.’ You go to the Groundlings with a dream of going to ‘SNL,’ and I got to do that.

“As far as I’m concerned, if someone cut me off and said you can never have another job, I’d be fine with that.”


In addition to meatier roles, Forte has made a career of scene-stealing supporting parts and cameos that often feature characters so absurd that they seem beamed in from another planet. Here are the five Will Forte-iest Will Forte roles.

“30 Rock,” 2010-2012

On the NBC sitcom, Forte plays Paul, a cross-dressing Jenna Maroney impersonator, who is dating the real Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski). Forte makes the extremely damaged seem almost normal.

“Keanu,” 2016

Will Forte in "Keanu."
Will Forte in “Keanu.”©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

Even in a movie featuring an adorable kitten in a do-rag, Forte steals the show by playing a not-so-bright, dreadlocked drug dealer named Hulka who lives with his mom. “The 17th Street Blips? OK, where are they?,” Keegan-Michael Key asks of a street gang. “17th Street,” Hulka responds.

“I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson,” 2019

Will Forte in “I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson."
Will Forte in “I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson.”Eddy Chen/Netflix

Wearing a bald wig and a terrible vest, Forte is a man who was bothered by a crying baby on a plane back in 1982. So he decides to get revenge decades later by sitting next to the now-adult baby on another flight.

“Don Verdean,” 2015

Will Forte in "Don Verdean."
Will Forte in “Don Verdean.”©Lions Gate/Courtesy Everett Collection

In this oddball comedy from the director of “Napoleon Dynamite,” Forte has a brief appearance as a wonky pastor who’s exhorting his flock, “Each and every time you spoon into a bowl of Lucky Charms, you might as well be partaking in Lucifer’s sacrament.”

“Tour de Pharmacy,” 2017

This HBO mockumentary about bike racing finds Forte as a French cop who accidentally injects himself with amphetamine — supercharging his libido. And yes, Forte speaks terrible French during his entire appearance.

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