Anchorman 2: That escalated quickly

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ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES

The highly anticipated Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is scheduled for release later this year. In a conference call with The Peak and several schools across North America, Steve Carell and Paul Rudd were pretty tight-lipped about the details.

“There aren’t any specifics that I want to get into,” Carell said, concerning scenes in the movie. “Trying to explain something always is a little difficult.” Explaining funny takes to his wife, he says, “definitely loses something in the translation.”

They’re apparently trying to increase anticipation, not that they have to. The original movie became immensely popular immediately following its release, and retained a strong following long after. Its irreverent lines and silly humour made it a household name, and helped launch both Rudd and Carell’s mainstream comedy careers in 2004; Rudd has since starred in I Love You, Man, Carell in The Office, and both in The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, among other hits.

Unsurprisingly, the line recited to Carell most, he says, still comes from his Anchorman character Brick Tamland: “I love lamp.”

On whether Sex Panther, Rudd’s character’s infamously terrible cologne, would return in the new movie, Rudd only offered, “I can’t really give it away.” He wants people to be curious to the point of frustration going into the movie, a feeling reminiscent of 2003’s Lost In Translation: “Remember when Scarlett Johansson whispered into his ear and no one knows what she said? . . . I want that level of frustration.”

The premise is so admittedly silly that the second movie was originally pitched as a broadway musical.

Part of the draw of the first Anchorman, according to Rudd, was how “it felt like an indie movie. It just felt like a very small, kind of quirky comedy . . . that did not seem particularly commercial.” And the indie spirit “still [exists] this time around,” he says.

This is reflected in the extreme irreverency in the first movie; the premise is, after all, 1970s newsmen competing for the number-one spot on network television, dim-wittedly drinking, assaulting, and sexually discriminating in the process.

I don’t think I need to exhaust its slew of ridiculous lines to prove this point. Just look at Brick’s explanation of killing a man in a comically violent brawl between the rivaling anchormen: “There were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident.” Or Ron, threatened by Veronica’s determination, suggesting that she go “back to her home on whore island.”

In both movies, many lines were improvised. Carell said the new release didn’t necessarily call for improvisation, but the actors couldn’t resist. “On any given day,” Carell said, “we or Adam [McKay, director] or Will [Farrell] would come up with . . . as much material as was on the page. I mean, there were scenes that were supposed to be about a minute and a half that ended up being 10 minute scenes.”

“Everything that [Adam McKay] says,” he added, “is kind of golden . . . There were just so many fertile lines working, we ended up with way more material than we needed.”

The premise is so admittedly silly that the second movie was originally pitched as a broadway musical, according to the actors. Rudd said that he “liked the idea that . . . at that point in time, enough people had been clamoring for an Anchorman sequel and the idea of doing it as a musical on Broadway . . . was funny and annoyed people.” The two comedians both laughed in agreement.

Rudd and Carell agreed that the fun they had doing the first movie was reason enough to make another. Rudd said, “Mainly it was like working with these guys again, who I love;” the fun of the first one made him “jump at the chance to come back and beat a dead horse.”Carell added, “Even if there was no film in any camera, we would have come back and done it.”