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Will Ferrell wanted to support his transgender friend after she came out, so they made a movie

Friends Harper Steele Transgender Writer Will Ferrell Actor Sundance Documentary
Katie Jones/Variety via Getty Images

One of the world's biggest comedians is uplifting his transgender friend in a new documentary, Will & Harper, for an "intimate portrayal of friendship, transition, and America."

When Will Ferrell's best friend of 30 years came out as transgender, the actor said he had “zero knowledge” of the community. Now, the two have made a documentary together to showcase their journey to understanding.

Ferrell met Harper Steele when the two worked on Saturday Night Live, for which Steele was a writer from 1995 to 2008. She came out as transgender in 2022, which Ferrell said initially "surprised" him. His gaps in knowledge led him to seek out ways in which to support Steele, he told Variety at the Sundance Film Festival.

"We were all, of course, excited to hear the news, and surprised to hear the news," he said. "All of us were extremely supportive and expressed love…but that sort of opened the questions like, how can we help you? What do you need us to do?”

The two decided to embark on a road trip across the United States in order "to process this new stage of their relationship." Their journey was filmed the upcoming documentary, Will & Harper, which is premiering at the festival.

The synopsis reads: “In this intimate portrayal of friendship, transition, and America, Will Ferrell and his best buddy of thirty years decide to go on a cross-country road trip to explore this new chapter in their relationship."

Ferrell continued to say that his aim was to create a documentary that could demonstrate to a cisgender person what it's like to come out and transition, which could help them to better understand their transgender loved ones.

“I had met trans people, but I didn’t have anyone personally in my life,” he explained. “So this was all new territory for me, which is why I think this film is so exciting for us to kind of put out there in the world. It’s a chance all of us in the cis community to be able to ask questions and also just to listen and be there as a friend to discuss this journey.”

To which Steele added: “It tells the story of a cis friend of a trans person who has to transition himself."

Will & Harper does not yet have a release date and is seeking distribution outside of Sundance.

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.