Will Ferrell said he would never participate in a sequel for any of his movies. That was until the love for Ron Burgundy became too much for the Anchorman 2 writer and star.
"The fandom for this movie just kept growing with each year and after doing so many trips to Australia promoting other movies, where, after the second question, all I'm being asked is, 'Are you going to do a sequel to Anchorman?', we thought that maybe we should really do this," Ferrell told Fairfax Media following the Australian premiere of the sequel to the 2004 sleeper hit.
It was understandable then as to why he was decidedly coy and more interested in eating a lozenge than answering, "Are the rumours about an Anchorman 2.5 true?"
"There could be a whole other movie. There are 230 jokes that you could put in and into a recut of the first movie."
Co-star David Koechner, who plays the cowboy hat wearing, catch phrase loving sports reporter Champ Kind, chimed in, "He's not joking. McKay [director and co-writer Adam McKay] has gone through it. Somebody has counted."
Such close attention to detail is not surprising.
Carefully lodged between hilarious scenes of a manic Brick Tamland (played by Steve Carell) wooing Kristen Wiig's character, Chani, and Ron bottle feeding a shark, Anchorman 2 is a subtle slap in the face to the new media and news media especially.
The film is the comedic equivalent of Aaron Sorkin's TV series, The Newsroom.
Anyone who has ever decreed, "This isn't news!" while watching or reading 'the news' will love the jokes, media bosses - not so much. The cameo list however, which boasts strong performances by Harrison Ford, Tina Fey, Jim Carrey and even Kanye West, will have mass appeal.
The original's glass case of emotion is gone. Ferrell and McKay's sequel is all about those in glass houses.
"Some people in the news world will embrace it, but I think there will be a fair amount of denial in it, saying 'We're not that bad', but yes. Yes, you are," Ferrell said.
"There will probably be tears [from real life newscasters] because the curtain has been drawn," Koechner said.
Not only does the film hold a mirror up to the mechanisations of the media, but it is also revolutionising the way movies are promoted. The strategic yet savvy Australian marketing activities are proof of this. Each of the special YouTube videos starring Ron Burgundy released in time for the federal election, AFL grand final and Melbourne Cup all went viral.
"This has been the most comprehensive amount of material I've ever participated in," Ferrell told industry magazine Adweek.
For all the innovation behind the scenes, the final Anchorman 2 product is set in the early '80s and shows just how far Ron, Veronica and the entire Channel 4 news team have come. The days of "Panda Watch" in San Diego are long gone. They are a ratings phenomenon in New York after being hired by Australian mogul and Koala Airlines owner, Kench Allenby (played by Australian actor Josh Lawson), at his new 24-hour news service.
After smoking crack on live TV and investigating the "greatest human mystery that is the vagina", they are swiftly promoted by the Murdoch-esque Allenby to prime time at the station which bears an uncanny resemblance to the real life Fox News network.
"We loved paying homage to one Mr Ronald Murdoch," Ferrell said as Koechner, Carell and Rudd smirked and nodded.
"Ah, it's Rupert Murdoch. His name is Rupert," a minder interjected as our interview came to an end.
"I know, that was the joke," Ferrell replied.
Anchorman 2 opens in cinemas on December 19.
- Sydney Morning Herald