ANCHORMAN 2 (rated PG-13 for language and adult situations; and with a running time of 119 min.) Director/Co-writer/Producer ADAM McKAY and Star/Co-writer/Producer WILL FERRELL have apparently always shared one comedic brain. "We think the same things are funny - and that’s half the battle," says Ferrell.
The two easily finish each other’s lines while writing, Ferrell explains. "He’ll throw lines out, and that triggers thoughts in my head, and we’ll just feed off each other, back and forth," he explains. "It so was so easy and fun to work together, that we eventually just said, ‘Why don’t we try writing a script?’ That’s how it started."
The first Burgundy film, "Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy," released by DreamWorks in the summer of 2004, came about after Ferrell had seen a Philadelphia news anchor paired with a woman for the first time. "I said to Adam, ‘What if we base a story in the 70s news world, about the first time a woman comes into that world, and how these men are just petulant, and she’s smarter and more capable?’" he recalls. McKay agreed, and the two brought the idea to producer JUDD APATOW, creating one of the most successful creative partnerships in Hollywood today. "Getting to work with Will and Adam has been one of the highlights of my career," says Apatow. "Just being allowed to watch them do what they do on set is a comedy nerd’s dream."
While the McKay/Ferrell/Apatow trifecta reteamed for the comedy hits "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" and "Step Brothers," the original "Anchorman" was quietly growing into a phenomenon. By 2010, with several projects completed together in between, Ferrell and McKay began considering a sequel. Ferrell and McKay then began thinking of story ideas - something that would bring the news team’s world forward. "The challenge for us was to have the same feel, to pay homage to some of the elements of first movie, but, at the same time, give it a feel of not only a brand new story, but one that’s satisfying and feels completely different," Ferrell says. "One that, even if you haven’t seen the first one, can stand on its own."
That aspect was helped by the fact that it had been nine years since the last film. "Adam and Will have lived with these characters for almost ten years," comments STEVE CARELL. CHRISTINA APPLEGATE agrees. "They wanted to leave well enough alone, and I think that was actually a smarter way to go. We waited ten years, as opposed to three, like a lot of sequels, and I think that’s allowed more people to get to know the original movie. Now it’s like an anniversary."
The duo pitched a number of ideas, most of them outlandish, of course. "There was one where the news team explores the moon for no good reason," Ferrell remembers. McKay even thought of a prequel. "When we were shooting the first one," he says, "we talked about doing the prequel and having Burgundy in Vietnam, covering the war, and having him meet the news team over there." The hero, of course, would have been Brick Tamland, a highly-decorated lieutenant. "But one day an explosion went off, and he was never the same again, and that’s why they love him so much and are always cool with him."
Eventually, McKay and Ferrell found themselves talking about the introduction of cable TV and the media explosion that began to happen in 1980. 24 hour cable news, of course, also made its appearance at that time, indeed setting up a fertile ground for comedy for Burgundy and his news team. The period also began the deregulation of news reporting, with the disappearance of The Fairness Doctrine, McKay explains. "That’s when media started falling apart. That’s when the first trash news stories appeared, like the Pee-wee Herman story and, in the early 90s, OJ. News no longer served any kind of function. So we thought that was a great thing, having a moral conundrum: do you chase ratings or do you do what you’re supposed to do? That’s perfect for Burgundy. Because right away, he’s gonna fail the moral test."
The concept had immediate appeal to the team members, who also liked McKay and Ferrell’s ability to add social commentary in alongside the comedy. Adds Carell, "The idea of how 24 hour news has changed our culture is a smart theme that Adam and Will are writing about in this movie, but they never hit it too hard - they don’t put too fine a point on anything. All of these things are gently woven in to an otherwise extremely silly and absurd movie."
Incidentally, this will be the last Paramount Pictures film distributed in 35mm, so from now on until the digital conversion is complete, there will be no more Paramount Pictures played in Story City. It is the beginning of the end for 35mm. All the more reason we need to step up our plans to digitize the projection booth at the Story Theater. More fund raising efforts will be forthcoming in the next few months. Also, any one interested in donating to the digital conversion project can do so at Great Western Bank in Story City, where an account is set up under the name: Story Theater Historical Foundation. Or you can send your donations to Story Theater, 512 Broad St., Story City IA 50248. Contact Todd Thorson at 515/733-4551 or 515/290-4011 for further details or questions.
—taken from the production notes of Anchorman 2, courtesy of Paramount Pictures