'Anchorman 2' Premiere: Stars, Director Discuss Massive Promotional Push
Adam McKay, Paul Rudd and Steve Carell talk about not repeating themselves, and "newcomer" James Marsden reveals how he was almost in the first movie.
Will Ferrell has showed up as fictional newsman Ron Burgundy nearly everywhere, it seems, as he promotes Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, hitting theaters on Wednesday.
But for the sequel's U.S. premiere Sunday night at New York's Beacon Theatre, Ferrell dressed up as himself.
Still, the star talked to The Hollywood Reporter about how Anchorman's massive promotional push came about.
"It was kind of a combination of Paramount being so excited to do all these new things with the Internet and we had a unique opportunity with Dodge, and I was willing to do some stuff in character. … It was just kind of a perfect storm of all that coming together," Ferrell said.
But he argued that the film's marketing approach may not be as much of a game changer as some have predicted.
"The whole thing is a bit of an aberration because Ron Burgundy kind of lends itself to getting out there in front of people," Ferrell said. "I love these stories that it's revolutionizing the way movies are being marketed because I don't know if you can have people do stuff in character. I don't know if they're comfortable doing it."
STORY: How 'Anchorman 2' Is Being Pushed Overseas
Paramount president Adam Goodman also told THR that while the film didn't need a big promotional push, the character of Ron Burgundy gave them a lot to work with.
"The character of Ron Burgundy is so much fun that it sort of blurs the lines between promoting the movie and at the same time just having fun. … When he goes off, he gives you so much … you get a lot from him," Goodman said.
Paramount has also engaged in an unprecedented promotional push overseas. While the first film made $85 million domestically, it only earned $5 million abroad. But Goodman said he's hopeful that the sequel will be well received by foreign audiences.
"I think through the years, the movie's been found internationally; people have been watching it on video and have really sort of grown up with it," Goodman told THR. "Comedy like this is something that it takes a little bit of time for friends to discover and introduce you to. And I think over the years, this movie has really grown into a franchise. I was in London with the guys, and the reaction to the movie was extraordinary."
Writer-director-producer Adam McKay, meanwhile, downplayed the amount of promotion for the film, saying that this was just a case of more people being interested in the tie-ins they created.
STORY: 'Anchorman 2' Superticket Costs $33, Includes Digital Download of Sequel, Alternate Version of First Film
"I don't think we did anything different this time; it was just weird that everything got picked up," McKay said. "We always do stuff on all of our movies and usually only a couple of things get picked up. So we did our usual stuff with this and it made us laugh, and we got creative freedom, and just every single hit got taken everywhere. So it was very strange but kind of a good problem to have."
With the sequel, McKay and the cast had a challenge of trying not to repeat what they had done with the first film. Ferrell's longtime collaborator said once they came up with the central concept for the follow-up, they knew they would be able to keep the story fresh.
"The big thing was you don't want to repeat just the same story. So we were really excited to take them into a different world, kind of amp up the stakes, 24-hour news. And really the central idea for the whole thing is that Ron Burgundy is single-handedly responsible for destroying broadcast news. Once we had that idea, we knew we could do a sequel," McKay told THR.
Indeed, Steve Carell said the biggest challenge in making Anchorman 2 was "not being derivative of the first one. Paying homage to it but expanding the world enough to satisfy fans of the original."
AUDIO: Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy and Robin Thicke Duet for 'Anchorman 2' Track
Co-star Paul Rudd said that in order to keep the sequel storyline new and entertaining, the cast tried to relax and have fun with their roles, the way they did with the first film.
"We didn't sweat certain things at all," he said. "All we could do is play the parts as we know them and play the scenes as we saw them and kind of act with one another in the same way that we did the first one and try and just have a good time doing it."
Although they had fun making the sequel, Christina Applegate said the cast struggled with being away from their families while filming in Atlanta. Still she was glad she was asked to return to her Anchorman family after rumors she wouldn't be back.
"I had heard smatterings that they were not sure if they were going to bring me back," she said. "And I got kind of sad and thought, 'Wait, I want to hang out with you guys again.' But I don't know if that had been rumor or what happened. But then it was like, 'No, you're in it. Of course you're in.' "
VIDEO: 'Anchorman's' Ron Burgundy Promotes 2014 Dodge Durango
Newcomer James Marsden, who plays rival anchor Jack Lime, was almost in the first movie, he revealed to THR, saying that he auditioned for Paul Rudd and Steve Carell's roles in the original film.
"I auditioned for the first movie, actually, for Paul's role. And then they had me audition for Steve's role, which made me wonder why I wasn't right for Paul's but I was right for the guy who can't spell his name," Marsden explained, adding that his favorite moment from the first movie is the "glass case of emotion" scene with Burgundy in the telephone booth.
"He can't catch his breath, and he can't speak, and it just sounds like a 4-year-old is having a tantrum," Marsden said.
Also on hand from the sequel were the dog who played Baxter, producer Judd Apatow and co-stars Kristen Wiig, Meagan Good, Fred Willard and David Koechner, who interrupted THR's interview with Goodman to say that the Paramount president, who had long pushed for an Anchorman sequel, was the "one guy" who made Anchorman 2 happen. "Thank Goody," Koechner said.
The star-studded premiere was also attended by Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Edward Norton, Brooke Shields, Will Forte, Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, Hoda Kotb, Lewis Black, ABC News correspondent Amy Robach and her Melrose Place-alum husband Andrew Shue, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman and Paramount CEO Brad Grey.