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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