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ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES

A New Kind Of News
To get better ratings, the news team resorts to what they know best: trash news. Brian Fantana brings his "news from the street" in the form of a recipe for crack cocaine, which he and Burgundy try out on the air. "He has no idea what it is," Rudd explains. "To him, it's like, 'Hey, the hip new drug for those who can't afford cocaine - move over, coke, here's your more affordable, hipper, younger brother, crack.' They actually teach everybody how to make it on the air, like it's a cooking show."

To everyone's surprise, the Burgundy approach takes off like wildfire, as audiences find their relatable niche, including the obligatory - and now commonplace - two hour car chase. "People are seeing something they'd never seen before, two hours of a car chase," Applegate comments. "I loved it.  It's really putting a big mirror up to society: we create a news station where they literally make stuff up to fill time."

GNN holds a Caligula-esque celebration at an ice skating rink to tout its success, but not everyone at the network is thrilled. "Jack (Lime) is upset that he's been dethroned," Marsden explains. "Plus, he's a bit of a sociopath." In the midst of the festivities, Lime commits a petty act of sabotage which leads to Ron Burgundy dramatically losing his vision.

With his teleprompter skills now gone, Burgundy disappears to live out his days in a lighthouse off the coast of Maine and feel sorry for himself. "He's really bad at being blind," Ferrell says. "He does things like brushing his teeth with lobsters and puts all the dishes in the fireplace."

"That's one of the scenes when Adam and I were writing that we could have probably written a 25 page scene, because it was just so fun to wallow in his self pity," the star laughs. Adds McKay, "He makes no effort to adapt."

Help comes from an unexpected source: Veronica arrives with the couple's 6-year-old son, Walter, to help Ron get back on his feet. McKay and Ferrell, again fans of sequels, looked to the "Rocky" series for inspiration. "The coolest thing in "Rocky 3" is where Apollo Creed comes back to train Rocky," McKay relates. "We thought about doing it with Vince Vaughn," Burgundy's competitor Wes Mantooth, "but then we realized the person doing it should be Corningstone. She's really Ron's Apollo Creed in this movie."

Ron and Walter (JUDAH NELSON) finally find ways to truly bond together. "We thought that would be something really funny to explore, Ron Burgundy having to be a dad," Ferrell says. "As you can guess, he struggles with it."

Nelson was among the last actors seen during casting, but it was clear he was up to the task. "We really needed someone who played things very real and serious, yet was comfortable with all the improv we'd throw at him. And Judah was phenomenal." Applegate was indeed impressed with the youngster's improv abilities. "Judah was so game to say the things that Adam wanted him to say, most of which were so inappropriate for a 6-year-old to say or even hear," she notes. "But, let's face it, when little kids cuss, it's really funny."

Spiritually restored, Burgundy regains his sight and returns to reclaim his kingship at GNN. But something has clearly changed - evident when Veronica arrives to tell him of a piano recital of Walter's in which the child will be performing a piece specifically written for his dad. But just as he prepares to go, an opportunity to cover yet another wild car chase arrives, and he must choose. "It's the juiciest bone any dog could ever hope for, but Burgundy made a promise," McKay explains. Says Ferrell, "He has an epiphany. He realizes that, even though he's back in a world he thought he missed, it has lead him to create something that's horrible for news, news that isn't news at all."

He gives up the ghost, on the air, and heads off to his son's recital. But he's quickly accosted by Jack Lime, in a news team gang fight even more epic than the one seen in the original "Anchorman." "We knew we wanted to do a second gang fight," says McKay, "but we didn't want to just repeat ourselves. We felt like if we were going to do one, we would have to do it bigger. It would be too much fun not to."

Shot over a five-day period in an Atlanta park (compared to the single day's shoot of the fight in the first film), Apatow, McKay, and Ferrell opened up their respective Rolodexes to fill the sequence with a plethora of BIG stars portraying every kind of news team in existence (and surprise audiences as each takes the screen, no doubt prompting plenty of "Wait - isn't that. . . ?"). "It was all brand new in 1980 - 24 hours of sports, 24 hours of music," Koecher points out. Indeed, teams from the worlds of sports, entertainment, history, and even ones from Canada suddenly appear, as does Burgundy's news team to help in the battle to get their leader to his son's recital.

"It was pretty surreal to have that many big stars willing to play the way we play," Ferrell comments. Adds Marsden, "That's the barometer of how popular this has become, truly."

The result is not only the most ridiculous news team fight ever presented on the big screen, but a memorable event for all involved. "One of our stars told me, 'It's like a Vanity Fair party, except fun," Koechner relates. "It was like comedy summer camp."

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