Will Ferrell Is Being Praised For Admitting His “Ignorance” But “Taking The Time To Learn” After His Best Friend Came Out As Transgender

At the weekend, Will Ferrell premiered his brand new documentary Will & Harper at Sundance Film Festival.

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The documentary follows Will and his best friend Harper Steele as they embark on a road trip together after Harper came out as a transgender woman. 

Will first met Harper when they worked together on Saturday Night Live back in the ‘90s, with Harper writing for the iconic sketch show from 1995 until 2008.

The two have been best friends ever since, and Will was keen to do everything that he could to support her during her transition.

“It was three summers ago in which Harper emailed a lot of her close friends with the headline: ‘Here’s a Weird One,’” Will explained during an appearance at Variety Studio at Sundance.

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“She went on to explain she was going to transition and we were all, of course, excited to hear the news and surprised to hear the news,” Will added. “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?’”

A reporter then asked the star what his “baseline knowledge of the trans experience” was prior to Harper’s transition, and Will admitted that he had been completely ignorant.

“Baseline knowledge? Zero,” he answered. “I had met trans people before, but I didn’t have anyone personally in my life so this was all new territory for me.”

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“Which is why I think this piece is so exciting for us to kind of put out there in the world,” Will continued. “Because I think it’s a chance for all of us in the cis community to be able to ask questions — I know for me it was a chance to ask questions. And also, just to listen and be there as a friend to discuss this journey.”

Referencing the documentary, Harper added: “It tells the story of a cis friend of a trans person who has to transition himself.”

And Will has been widely praised for the honesty in his comments after they were posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, earlier this week.

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In fact, many have lauded the actor for showing that there is no shame in being ignorant as long as you are also willing to educate yourself. 

Retweeting the interview, one person wrote: “I love this because he’s showing it’s OK to admit ignorance if it comes with being willing to learn. Did not have Will Ferrell: Unexpected Trans Advocate on my bingo card, but isn’t it nice to be pleasantly surprised for once too?”

“Something I love about what Will Ferrell is doing here is not just being an ally as best he knows how, but admitting that he didn’t have any knowledge and expressing a willingness and desire to learn as a friend,” somebody else echoed. “It’s nice to see a bit of good news rooted in kindness.”

“This is what it looks like to learn and grow and approach new things with kindness and genuine care. Everyone should take a page out of his book,” one more added.

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“Being willing to learn and grow as a human being is the mark of a decent person,” somebody else agreed. While another user wrote: “Really glad he’s admitting his own ignorance towards this but also taking the time to learn.”

And others also shared their hope that Will’s high profile will help to platform the trans community, with one user writing: “This is so heart warming. We need more big allies like this that are willing to learn and use their platforms to educate.”

“Did I have Will Ferrell being a babe of a trans ally on my 2024 bingo? No. But it’s great to be pleasantly surprised,” another tweeted. “All the love to Harper and Will for using their story as a learning opportunity for likely millions of cis folk.”

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Will & Harper is currently seeking distribution at Sundance, and the film’s official synopsis reads: “When Will Ferrell finds out his close friend of 30 years is coming out as a trans woman, the two decide to embark on a cross-country road trip to process this new stage of their relationship in an intimate portrait of friendship, transition, and America.”

Peer-support services are available at the Trans Lifeline. You can call the hotline at 1-877-565-8860.