I don’t know how to tell you this… but it’s kind of a big deal. Last night Will Ferrell jazz-fluted his way onto the Conan O’Brian show, insulted the ginger host and officially announced to the world that Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 News Team would reassemble for a sequel to Anchorman. Any time a follow-up to a beloved film is announced there’s a nagging feeling that the film makers deserve a punch in the ovaries for cashing in, but in this case we’re 72% sure it’s a good idea. Here’s a few reasons why.
First up some more good news. Steve Carrell, Paul Rudd and others will join Ferrell for the continuation. Despite their ability to open a film solo both weatherman Brick Tamland and field reporter Briana Fantana will return. This re-teaming of the biggest box office funnymen of the new millennium has the weight of a comedy The Avengers about it, with the added bonus of having a suitable anchor to base around whatever ridiculous storyline Will Ferrell and Adam McKay come up with. It’s difficult to imagine prima donna antics from a cast that one can easily picture having team pancake breakfasts, and the fact that all the main players are willing to pick up their news mics bodes well for, at the very least, a decent attempt at a sequel.
The second reason the sequel should make you want to climb onto a unicorn, head for the nearest rainbow and set sail for Pleasuretown is that Judd Apatow and friends are still top of their game. Sure some of Ferrell’s last films have misfired (Casa De Mi Padre and Everything Must Go) but thanks to the likes of Megamind and The Other Guys he’s still a hot commodity outside of San Diego. Studios would happily greenlight a sequel to half of his screen credits, the fact that not a single film on his CV is a follow-up (bar a tiny role in Austin Powers) would attest to his faith in the project.
Then there’s the man behind the man behind the scenes, Judd Apatow. Last year he saw his production of Bridesmaids not only claw in close to $300m worldwide but also achieve the unthinkable with dual Oscar nominations. Any worries that this is purely for the cash – obviously it is mainly for the cash – should dissipate after considering whether or not the gang involved really need this.
Comedy’s biggest drawback is it goes out of fashion faster than a sex panther. Just ask Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin. The shelf life for what audiences will flock to rarely lasts ten years. Shooting for Anchorman 2 is scheduled to begin next February, meaning Ron and co will be sporting their massive erections presumably in time for late 2013, early 2014, a decade after the original. If there was ever a time to bring the gang back together, it’s now.
There are downsides, for sure. It’s another nail in the coffin to the notion of originality in Hollywood, with even the successful returning to the well at the expense of creating something new. The last hit comedy to try and catch a spark from its predecessor was The Hangover: Part II. Away from its huge opening weekend, it’s currently staring at a Razzie for worst sequel/remake after leaving a bitter taste in the mouth that made fans of the original question whether or not the first film was any good to begin with.
But lest we forget, this is Ron Burgundy! A man who’s news is bigger than your news, owner of many leather-bound books whose apartment smells of rich mahogany. Ron Burgundy! A five time Emmy Award winning hero, quoted more often than Martin Luther King. Ron Burgundy! A man with a voice that could make a wolverine purr and suits so fine they made Sinatra look like a hobo. This is Ron Burgundy?
So until 2013 then…“You stay classy, San Diego”.