Everyone loves anticipating the sequel to a movie they love, but so many of them end up being big disappointments. That is why crowning comedy duo Will Ferrell and Adam McKay have never attempted a sequel until now with the impending release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
"We’ve obviously never made a sequel of any the films we’ve done because we’ve been antisequel," Ferrell told us during our visit to the set in San Diego last May. "We thought, why not explore a brand new idea as opposed to revisiting something you’ve already made?
"And then something just flipped – why not? Those guys get to make six Ocean’s Elevens and no one seems to beat them up for it, so come on, we could make a sequel!"
And make a sequel they did. We know you’re already excited for Anchorman 2, but here are the top six things to make the wait until its December release even more unbearable.
1. Ron meets the 24-hour news grind
"We talked about the idea of a musical, we talked about the idea of going to a different genre altogether," said Ferrell. But he and McKay finally decided that they’d keep the premise simple, with Ron being forced into the changing times. Except instead of having to deal with women asserting themselves in the newsroom, the sequel finds Ron and his team being introduced to 24-hour news.
"[TV networks] literally just needed warm bodies," said Ferrell, who explained that the rise of CNN in 1980 was the perfect backdrop for Ron and his crew. "They had to hire a massive group of people at one time to be on around the clock. That’s why [Ron] and his news team are on at two in the morning, and of course they are horribly upset by that. His ego is really bruised."
2. Kicking it up a notch in New York
Ron and his crew move from the golden coast to New York to work at GNN, the stand-in network for CNN. But the setting isn’t the only upgrade - pretty much everything is kicked up a notch in the sequel.
"This one is definitely more ambitious, there’s more production value to it, and I think we got greedy on this one," said McKay. "We had a certain amount of days, and we were like, let’s shoot everything!"
Obviously not everything will make the final cut, but down the road the DVD is going to be jam-packed. "We’ll definitely have two hours of extra material after this," he said.
3. Ron takes over Sea World
Don’t worry, there’s still a bit of San Diego stayin’ classy in the sequel. Before jetting to New York, Ron suffers a downward spiral that results in him hosting shows at Sea World while sloshed out of his mind. "We tried thinking of some of the lowest of the lows, and we thought being hammered doing dolphin shows in 1979 [was it]," said McKay.
We weren’t the only ones on set on this sunny day – there were 3,000 extras sitting in an outdoor stadium in Sea World, braving the summer heat to watch Ron Burgundy harass and insult dolphins. ("I’m so drunk I’m gonna crap my pants," was one of Will’s many ad-libs during the shoot.)
They originally planned to use CGI dolphins or animatronics, but were delighted with the results from using real animals. "It was good that we workshopped with them for two-and-a-half weeks," Ferrell joked. "Put them through basic improv classes… IO, Second City."
4. New one-liners!
Put away the scotchy scotch scotch, it's time to retire your old Anchorman quotes and make way for all the new lines you’ll hear ad nauseum for the next few years. There were so many hilarious one-liners in the Sea World scene alone, but we won’t spoil them for you. Rest assured, you’re going to be quoting the hell out of this movie, though neither Adam nor Will have any idea which lines will become fan favorites.
"We’ve kind of lucked into being quoted," said Ferrell. "With the first one, it’s the ones you would never even peg. ‘Milk was a bad choice’ or ‘I love lamp,’ those are just things we said on the day. It’s far from an exact science. It’s amazing to me… they’re not even joke lines. Lucky for us, people have locked into them."
5. So many famous people! SO MANY!
The Anchorman cast gets an extra dose of handsome with James Marsden coming on board as Jack Lime, GNN’s lead anchor and Ron’s nemesis. "We had this idea for this competitive rival for Ferrell based on the Terminator 2 living-mercury guy, the scariest sort of guy who could make Burgundy look old," says McKay.
Other additions to the cast are Josh Lawson as GNN’s Ted Turner-meets-Rupert Murdoch-meets-Richard Branson-type owner Catch Allenby, and Harrison Ford, who plays a news anchor. "I’m throwing lines out to Han Solo!" McKay said with glee.
That’s not all: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Liam Neeson, Kirsten Dunst and Kanye West all make cameos, too, but you already knew that from all those paparazzi pics. Check out the link if you want to be spoiled even more. (Drake pic courtesy of Entertainment Tonight.)
But the most adorable cameos go to Ferrell’s three sons and McKay’s daughter Pearl – whom you’ll remember starring in the very first Funny or Die video "The Landlord" – all who launch insults at Ron during his dolphin show. "She likes screaming at Uncle Will," said McKay.
6. It’s still gonna be really weird
It's been eight long years since we've seen Ron, Brick, Brian and Champ on the big screen, especially since sequel talk has been happening since 2008 and whether it was ever going to get made remained in doubt until just last year. But don’t think that will result in a watered-down movie for the mass public. Things are still gonna get weird.
"We just wanted to write something that would hopefully stand on its own even if you hadn’t seen the first movie, and still be interesting and original, and have that mix of part of the audience laughing and the other part sitting there asking, 'Why are they doing this?,'" said Ferrell. "I think that's still a goal -- we still want 20% of the audience to still not think it’s funny."