Anchorman Ron Burgundy is back. He’s kind of a big deal.
In 2004, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy introduced us to the 1970s San Diego newsreader played by Will Ferrell, whose position as the king of the male-dominated newsroom is challenged by the arrival of a new female presenter, Veronica Corningstone, played by Christina Applegate. The film, a mostly sophomoric series of gags involving Ferrell being Ferrell, made $91 million (£57.2 million) at the box office worldwide.
And now, they’re back: Ferrell appeared in character on Conan O’Brien’s late night chat show on Wednesday night to announce the sequel. After a jazzy bit of flute playing, the burgundy-suited funnyman said: ”I want to announce this to everyone in the Americas, to our friends in Spain, Turkey and the UK, including England. That as of 0900 Mountain time, Paramount Pictures and myself, Ronald Joseph Aaron Burgundy, have come to terms on a sequel to Anchorman. It is official, there will be a sequel to Anchorman.”
He then proceeded to insult host Conan O’Brien, suggesting he fired his hair and make-up team and head to the plastic surgeon’s because: “You look like someone put a bright red fright wig on a skeleton. And chucked it out of a helicopter.” Gillian Orr commented noted in the Independent, “Not many films get to announce their sequel by having its star, in character, storm a chat show to broadcast the news. But few films of the last 10 years are as universally loved as Anchorman – it’s kind of a big deal.” And YouTube can testify to that: the clip has gone viral, with over 3 million hits in two days.
The original cast are expected to reprise their roles and Judd Apatow and Adam McKay will also return as producer and director/writer. Paramount Pictures have taken over the project from DreamWorks, reported Nikki Finke on Deadline. Filming begins in February 2013.
Why are we waiting? “The announcement follows in the footsteps of a will they/won’t they? back-and-forth that’s turned devotees into the equivalent of battered dogs,” ranted Sandy Schaefer on Screen Rant. Less than two weeks before his appearance on Conan, Ferrell told ShowBizSpy: “It’s not happening, despite the rumors. I want to do it, everyone wants to see it except for the people that can make it happen. It’s 100% dead.” Commentators seem to think the main sticking point in negotiations between Paramount and the cast was cash. Victims of their own success, “the cast had become pricier as the stock of Ferrell and Steve Carell rose after the 2004 film,” suggested Steven Zeitchik in the Los Angeles Times. But more recently both sides had softened as “Ferrell is coming off a string of disappointments in recent years” and Paramount doesn’t have any other comedy franchises scheduled.
Quotable cult classic. Fans love quoting the movie. The Huffington Post lists 20 best quotes, including such classics as: “I don’t know how to put this but I’m kind of a big deal. People know me. I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany,” and “You stay classy, San Diego. I’m Ron Burgundy?” But the quotes were getting old for Jess Dweck @TheDweck, who tweeted: “I’m glad they’re making another Anchorman movie. My Facebook friends were running out of quotes to overuse.”
The curse of the sequel. Matt Patches of Hollywood questioned whether “the KVWN-TV Channel 4 Evening News [could] really capture lightning in a bottle twice? Would a sequel potentially ruin the first movie?” @RealSkipBayless tweeted: “Anchorman in my top 5 comedies. Now Will Ferrell wants to bring back Ron Burgundy? Bad idea. Can’t go back there. Leave genius greatness be.” Gillian Orr pointed out in the Independent that “comedy sequels haven’t fared so well in recent times,” adding: “Let’s just hope Anchorman 2 doesn’t stink as bad as Sex Panther, Paul Rudd’s ‘formidable’ cologne from the original.”
Is Ferrell funny? Zeitchik cast doubt on Ferrell himself in the Los Angeles Times: “His deluded blowhard seemed reasonably fresh when we saw it eight years ago. Will it seem that way now? The actor has trotted it out a number of times since (‘Semi-Pro’, ‘Talladega Nights’, ‘Blades of Glory’), retaining the character and simply changing the costume.”
’80s Musical Anchorman 2 on the Moon? McKay and Ferrell are still “kicking around ideas,” according to Nikki Finke of Deadline. Back in the summer of 2008, actor Paul Rudd told MTV that director Adam McKay had said that “if they ever did something it would have to be really weird like we were on the moon or something.” Last year, Huffington Post quoted Ferrell as confirming earlier rumours of a musical: “We were going to do almost a reverse… almost like how the Marx brothers used to do – we were going to do a Broadway musical and then have a film come out after the stage show.” Another much-mooted concept is to rejoin “Ron and Co. in the 1980s”, said Sandy Schaefer on Screen Rant. This appealed to Hilary Busis of Entertainment Weekly, who invited readers to “take a moment to imagine Paul Rudd sporting a single sequined glove and a Jheri curl.” Steven Zeitchik in the Los Angeles Times asked how the new movie would “figure in the “Ridgemont High”-ish postscript that had Burgundy landing at a national cable-news channel, Carell’s mentally challenged Brick Tamland becoming a presidential adviser and Paul Rudd’s Brian Fantana finding a gig as host of a libidinous reality show called “Intercourse Island”?”
Oh — and what should it be called? Jen Chaney tried to imagine a suitable title in the Washington Post. Her suggestions included: “Anchorman 2: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Continues”; “Anchorman 2: Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch”; “Anchorman 2: Time to Musk Up” and “Anchorman 2: Stay classy”. One of her commenters, bjemmi came up with: “Anchormen.”
More from Ferrell and Carrell