Jerry O'Connell and Anthony Anderson make no bones about it — they want to be the next Martin & Lewis, the next Hope & Crosby or, using a more recent example, the next Wilder and Pryor.
Although Anderson says he hopes that his collaborations with O'Connell will be more numerous than Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor. "Well, it'd be nice to do more than a couple of movies together," he said, referring to the fact there were only four Wilder-Pryor team-ups ("Silver Streak," "Stir Crazy," "See No Evil, Speak No Evil" and "Another You").
"And before I forget," Anderson said, laughing as he gestured toward O'Connell, "I guess that makes you Gene."
"Dude, are you making a crack about my hair?" O'Connell shot back.
The two actors recently visited Salt Lake City as part of a personal-appearance tour to publicize their first comedy together, "Kangaroo Jack." And to show their commitment to each other, they were actually dressed in matching gray sweatsuits. "Well, we heard how the 'Lord of the Rings' guys all got tattoos to show how they're so tight with each other. So we wanted to take it one step further," O'Connell said. "Next thing you know we're going to start finishing . . ."
". . . each other's sentences," Anderson interjected.
"No, I meant each other's meals, you idiot!" O'Connell replied.
All kidding aside, O'Connell and Anderson say they're not faking their friendship, and they were genuinely excited about working with each other, as well as the prospect of teaming again in the future.
For "Kangaroo Jack," O'Connell plays hair stylist Charlie Carbone, and Anderson is fast-talking would-be entrepreneur Louis Fucci.
Charlie and Louis find danger when they are sent to Australia to make a cash payment on behalf of the mob — money intended for a hitman who plans to kill them. Complicating things is a kangaroo that accidentally runs off with the money.
"It's really high-concept," Anderson said.
"Yes, this is definitely one of the most psychologically intense projects I've ever done. We really get down to the essence of our characters," said O'Connell. "Nah. Not really. This was just a joy to do. It was something silly. And plus, I got to go to work every day with Anthony, which was as much fun as I've ever had in this industry."
The two say they were also excited to be working for ber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer. "Dude, this is the guy who made 'Top Gun,' 'Crimson Tide,' 'Bad Boys.' You'd have to be crazy not to want to work for him," O'Connell said. "And one thing you've got to know about Jerry is he will spare no expense to make sure the film is as good as it can be. You've got to respect that."
"He will serve no wine before its time," Anderson interjected.
Since "Kangaroo Jack" wrapped production last year, both men have stayed busy. O'Connell continues to work on the NBC TV series "Crossing Jordan" (his character, Det. Woody Hoyt, may even get his own spin-off series). And Anderson has already co-starred in three more movies, all to be released before the start of the summer — "Cradle 2 the Grave," "My Baby's Mama" and "Malibu's Most Wanted." He also has an as-yet-untitled television series in development with UPN.
"Anthony's the man," O'Connell said. "I've already told him, 'Get me involved. I'll do anything. You need me to be the wacky neighbor? I'll be there.' "
"Yeah, maybe my character can teach yours how to dance," Anderson replied.