Will and Harper, the candid documentary following the American road trip of Will Ferrell and best friend Harper Steele has been bought by Netflix, following its success at Sundance Film Festival in January.
The movie follows Ferrell and Steele – who came out as transgender aged 61 in 2022 – on a 17-day drive from New York to California, as they stop at basketball games, dive bars, highway diners and other places that Steele hopes to be comfortable in since she transitioned.
Ferrell and Steele have been friends for a long time, and the full-bodied nature of their friendship underpins all of Will and Harper. They met when they were both hired as a performer and writer, respectively, at the same time on Saturday Night Live in the 1990s. Since then, Steele has co-written a number of Ferrell films, including Eurovision Song Contest.
Steele contacted Ferrell and other close friends during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021 to inform them of her desire to gender transition. Accordingly, as well as starring alongside his best friend in the new documentary, which explores her experiences as a transgender woman, Ferrell produced the film alongside Jessica Elbaum, Christopher Leggett, and Rafael Marmor.
Although the financial terms of Netflix’s purchase have not been disclosed, it has been reported that the documentary drew interest from several buyers before the streaming site swooped in. The film was directed by Josh Greenbaum and received two standing ovations at Sundance Film Festival.
“We are thrilled about how audiences received the movie with open arms at Sundance,” the filmmakers explained in a statement. “It’s a movie about the power of friendship and acceptance, that we hope can help shift the culture, and so we are excited to have a partner in Netflix that has the ability to reach the largest possible audience worldwide.”
Since Sundance, Netflix has purchased other movies that premiered there, including the documentary Daughters, the horror It’s What’s Inside, and Ibelin, a non-fiction film about the late Norweigan gamer Mats Steen.
Watch the trailer for Will and Harper below.