We caught up with Ferrell and Koechner on their recent trip to Dublin…
The cast of ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES were in town for the film’s Irish premiere last week; we sat down with David Koechner and Ron Burgundy himself, Will Ferrell, to talk sequels, catchphrases and all things ANCHORMAN. Great Odin’s raven!
When it was confirmed that ANCHORMAN 2 was finally happening, how did you feel?
David Koechner: We have the same agents so I heard rumblings in the January, so the day he was going to announce on Conan, they called me and said ‘Watch Conan’. Will had been actively in the trenches…
Will Ferrell: It was Adam [McKay] and I’s decision, ultimately, to do it. We had a lot of back and forth with the studio and when we finally worked out the terms… It was very much touch and go, to the point where we thought ‘This is not going to happen’ and when it finally did, it was a ‘Be careful what you wish for’ moment; excitement mixed with ‘Ohhhh, now we have to write it! Now we have to think of what it is!’.
DK: I just loved that once you announced it; haha! No turning back!
DK: It had got close a time or two before, but I thought it was a great move to go on TV and announce it! ‘OK! You have to do it now!’
WF: What was great too was we had some constructive debate with the studio in terms of the popularity of the movie. Their view was not as accurate as ours, and that’s what was so great about the Conan announcement; Twitter went crazy, everything went crazy and they were like ‘What!? This is extraordinary! We were pretend excited, now we’re really excited!’ [laughs]
I read that the studio weren’t too keen on doing a sequel…
WF: No, they were keen, but they wanted to do it for $10. They weren’t taking into account the fair market value of where everyone was, what the budget should be and things like that. I’d like to say we met half way, but… They got a good deal. I’m just gonna put it that way. They got a really good deal.
DK: When you look at the excitement world wide…
WF: Which is fun!
DK: … I had a guy who was not a native English speaker, from Sierra Leone approach me in New Orleans and tell me what a big fan he was of the movie. I was like ‘Wow!’
Were you expecting the first film to develop such a cult following?
DK: You say ‘cult following’ because that describes a passion for a thing, but really – and I don’t mean to correct you – but someone suggested the other day that it’s a pop culture phenomenon, which is probably closer to it. We all use the terminology ‘cult picture’ because of the passion attached to it. It really is a pop culture phenomenon.
WF: …And it definitely started as cult thing, but now it’s grown. It really is because of the fans, the massive fandom in Ireland, in Australia, in these places where the original movie almost resonated more quickly with people here than it even did with people in the States. I think some of the better reviews we got were over here, and people just dialled right in… It was just a different type of movie. Adam always tells the story that at the premiere, Ben Stiller came up to him and was like “You realise what you just did? You just made the movie we all want to make. You didn’t follow any of the rules, you guys just made this movie that would take a left turn, a right turn’. To have that grow into such a crazy phenomenon is fun.
You’re obviously very aware of how beloved ANCHORMAN is, did you feel you had to stay to true to this while making ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES?
WF: I think it happened organically, between wanting to pay off call backs and things from the first movie, be true to the characters obviously, and then at the same time try to create a new story, bring in new characters and figure all of that out.
DK: I know Will and Adam, and I have known them for a long time. I know these guys, all they feel is fun and joy. Just to hang with these guys, their constant quest is just for joy. If it makes us laugh, that’s what’s going to go on the page and either people will laugh at it or eventually catch up to it.
WF: We have never stopped and considered ‘Woah, what if this doesn’t work? Are we on the right track?’, we just go forward with reckless abandon.
The first film is so quotable, did you feel pressure to make the second one as quotable?
WF: No! We have had quotes from all the movies we’ve done, and we’ve never once written a line and gone ‘MARK IT! That’s gonna be on t-shirts!’
DK: How could you possibly have said to a marketing department ‘Alright here are the t-shirts; one is gonna be I love lamp…’
WF: … Milk was a bad choice.
DK: They’re gonna look at you like you’re crazy!
WF: … I wanna be on you.
DK: But literally every line is quoted.
WF: I’m kind of a big deal.
DK: They would have said ‘No, stop it. Really, what’s the real one?’
WF: When we get in a room we improvise the scenes in the character voices, to what seems right behaviourally. On top of that, these guys come in and add their own lines, and somehow they become quotable [laughs]. There’s no trick to it, there’s no science to it, it just happens.
Is there one that you hope people pick up on?
WF: I can’t remember!
DK: It goes back to what I said earlier, I hope it makes all of us laugh. We think it’s funny, that’s it. They’re really not looking for a catchphrase. It’s just amazing that all of those lines became catchphrases. That was afterwards. They are just writing things that make them laugh, and as it turned out, it made other people laugh and continues to, every time they say it. I do stand up, and I’ll do an hour of a show, then someone will yell ‘Whammy!’ then I’ll realise they came only to hear me do lines from the movies, so I will do the lines from the movie and it will be the loudest laughs of the night and they have already heard them 50 times. There was an article in The New Yorker a few years ago George Meyer, who used to be the head writer for The Simpsons said there was an interesting phenomenon; people will go to the movies and laugh loudest at the jokes that they already saw in the trailer. There is a familiarity, now it’s part of them; you are just tickling a spot.
Will, in terms of the specifically Irish clips you did, were they explained to you before hand?
WF: I wish I could sit here and go ‘I totally had my finger on the pulse’, but it was kind of a smart move by Paramount international marketing, who were like ‘It would be great if we could have Ron Burgundy dash off all these things’. I taped those things back in May. There were ones we planted in Australia that referenced their election and things that were huge there. We did a couple of England too. I sit in a room and we do 50 of them in a row, so it’s a little intense, but all the feedback was massive. It was really shrewd on their part, as a way to seed that the movie is coming back and a fun way to re-introduce Ron to people who know him and people who don’t.
ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES is in Irish cinemas from December 18th
Words: Brogen Hayes