By Sam Bertschmann
News team, assemble!
On Nov. 1st, Paul Rudd and Steve Carell spoke with college reporters about the upcoming release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the sequel to Paramount Pictures’ 2004 comedy classic. Both Anchorman films, directed by Adam McKay, star Rudd, Carell, David Koechner, Christina Applegate and Will Ferrell.
The first reporter asked what Carell and Rudd like best about their characters, Brick Tamland and Brian Fantana, respectively.
“Boy, I love the innate intelligence of Brick,” said Carell. “The counterintuitive quality of his character, I think, is what appeals to me.”
Concerning Brian, Rudd likes “his musky sexualized idiocy.”
Both actors cited the chance to work with this cast again as their primary reason for returning to the franchise.
“It was such a blast doing the first one,” said Rudd. “I would jump at the chance to come back and beat a dead horse.”
“I think we all felt exactly that same way,” said Carell. “We all just wanted to do it for the sake of doing it, and I think we all would have done it in a vacuum. Even if there was no film and any camera, we would have come back and done it, because it’s so much fun.”
Asked about their characters’ struggles with women in both Anchorman installments, Rudd and Carell offered advice to college guys trying to pick up girls.
“I would say you have to listen,” said Carell. “You have to open your heart and open your ear and you have to listen and appreciate the person that you’re with.”
“I would say to guys, college guys, drop the cologne,” said Rudd. “No one likes it. Use your – you know, your own natural…musk, which will bring the ladies in in busloads,” said Rudd.
Speaking of cologne, Rudd teased the return of the fragrant Sex Panther, which is illegal in nine countries and made with bits of real panther.
“I can’t really give it away. I don’t want to say anything whether it does or whether it doesn’t [return]. I want people to have questions going into this. I want people to feel about this the way they feel about Lost in Translation, in a way,” said Rudd. “It’s like, remember, when Scarlett Johansson whispered into his ear and no one knows what she said? That’s the way I want people – I want that level of frustration.”
Carell and Rudd could neither confirm nor deny rumors that Kanye West, Drake and Sacha Baron Cohen have cameos in Anchorman 2, but noted that a role in the sequel was sought after by many of Hollywood’s best and brightest.
“I think people were sort of calling [McKay and Ferrell] to get into the movie,” said Carell. “I don’t think there was much arm-bending to get people in. And I think it was the same on the first one. You know, all those cameos that we had and the big fight scene in the first one, people just wanted to be a part of the silliness. So I think the same holds true for this one.”
“I also think a lot of people like [McKay] and [Ferrell], too,” said Rudd. “I feel lucky enough to be in their orbit.”
Anchorman 2 was originally pitched to be a Broadway play.
“That was the part I was excited about, was the fact that at any given moment, the characters could just break into song. The idea of that happening, just great,” said Carell. “I also liked the idea that there were, at that point in time, enough people…clamoring for an Anchorman sequel, and the idea of doing it as a musical on Broadway just really, I thought, was funny and annoyed people. Clearly, not enough people felt the same way because it didn’t and will never happen.”
What songs would they have sung had the Broadway musical come to fruition?
“I think I would’ve sung a song called ‘Gravy,’” said Carell.
“And I would have sung ‘565,600 Minutes,’” said Rudd.
One reporter asked what it was like to balance their roles in the Anchorman franchise with their recent indie roles (Carell starred in The Way Way Back and Rudd starred in Prince Avalanche, both of which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival).
“It was a blast to kind of come back to this part, these guys and these characters because, one…they were so fun to do the first time around and we all had such a great time,” said Rudd. “But, you know, part of the spirit of what happened on the first Anchorman was that it felt like an indie movie. It just felt like a very small kind of corky comedy that we thought was funny that did not seem particularly commercial. And that was kind of the way it was the first time around. And I think that spirit still existed this time around even though there were more eyes on us.”
Another reporter asked how much of the jokes and gags in the Anchorman films were improvised.
“The script was in great shape. We did a table read of the script, obviously, before we shot and it was hilarious. So we had that as a starting point,” said Carell. “But…there were scenes that were supposed to be about a minute and a half that ended up being ten minute scenes. And Adam McKay has such a fertile mind. He sits at the monitor in his little tent with a microphone and just throws ideas out. And, you know, you can pick and choose. You don’t have to say what he’s giving you. But invariably you want to because…everything that he says is kind of golden.”
Noting that both actors have played a wealth of strange, comedic characters throughout their careers, one reporter asked which lines fans repeat back to them most.
“I love lamp,” said Carell, referring to one of Brick’s many nonsensical declarations.
“Slap the bass,” said Rudd, which comes from 2009’s I Love You, Man.
With nearly a decade between the release of Anchorman and its sequel, one reporter wondered how difficult it was for Rudd and Carell to get back into character for this installment.
“At times, it didn’t seem difficult at all, like I feel we know these characters pretty well,” said Rudd. “But I would say throughout the shoot, there were many moments where I thought, ‘oh god, am I doing this right?’ I felt a little off track. But I couldn’t tell whether or not I was in my head and I actually did remember or I was commenting on what I had done the first time.’
“And the more lost I felt, the better that served me. The more out of sorts I felt, in general, the better I think that played into Brick,” said Carell. “I am as a human being no smarter than I was ten years ago, so I haven’t improved as a human being. I haven’t evolved in any way. So that really helped me with Brick.”
Carell had trouble deciding which scene he liked best in Anchorman 2.
“There are a lot of them. There aren’t any specifics that I’d want to get into because…trying to explain something always is a little difficult. Like I would come home from a day of shooting and try to explain to my wife something really funny that happened and it definitely loses something in the translation,” said Carell. “You know, you look at the trailer and you think, wow…they put everything in that they could and that’s the entire movie. But there’s so much more than is in the trailer and funnier. So I’m kind of psyched about the whole thing.”
The last reporter to speak asked what the actors thought about portraying the seemingly serious job of news anchors in such a silly way.
“I feel pretty good about it,” said Rudd. “Sometimes I watch news anchors and I think they’re portraying themselves in a very silly way, much sillier than we could ever do.”
Anchorman 2 hits theaters Wednesday, Dec. 18th.