Earlier this week, the Internet was all a-buzz with rumors that plans were moving forward rapidly on a sequel to the 2004 Will Ferrell comedy “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.”
The rumors were actually started by Ferrell himself, who told a number of reporters in Australia that he was planning to meet with director Adam McKay and co-stars Paul Rudd and Steve Carell next week about “Anchorman 2.”
Just days later, though, talking with reporters about his upcoming comedy “Land of the Lost,” Ferrell was sorry to report that the all-star meeting-of-the-comedy-minds isn’t happening after all.
“I thought we were. Yeah. I kept saying that. I was told we were. And now I’ve heard it’s too hard to get everyone together,” Ferrell laments. “So hopefully Adam’s going to be able to talk to all of the guys individually and see if there’s a time and place we can figure out how to do this.”
So although the “Anchorman” braintrust isn’t quite ready to get together to lay the groundwork for a sequel, that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen eventually. This prompted a reporter to ask if Ferrell and company think they can buck the law of diminishing returns that has often plagued comedy sequels.
“Oh, we don’t,” Ferrell laughs. “We just think it’d be really fun to do. Yeah, it could be terrible. But if they’re gonna pay us to do it, why not?”
“Anchorman,” the comic tale of fictional ’70s San Diego newscaster Ron Burgundy, made $85 million in its domestic run, putting its box office smack in the middle of Ferrell’s recent run. The actor admits that doing a sequel wasn’t always in the plans.
“We weren’t necessarily and then the legacy of that movie has just kept building and building and we just kinda got excited,” he says. “And then last year we did this Funny-or-Die comedy tour and every college I went to I’d interview either the head football coach or the president of the school as Ron Burgundy and Adam and I got such kick having so much fun, we were like, ‘God it’d be fun to… Maybe we should revisit this.’ And then Carell said, ‘I’m totally up for it.'”
Of the low expectations that greet comedy sequels, Ferrell adds, “I think we would use that as a challenge to try to make it as the craziest sequel you’ve ever seen, just live-by-the-sword-die-by-the-sword kinda feel and see what happens.”
One movie that may be closer to moving forward is Ferrell’s comic take on Sherlock Holmes, featuring Sacha Baron Cohen as the famous Victorian gumshoe, with Ferrell as Watson. They have a script by Etan Cohen (“Tropic Thunder”), but a not-so-minor complication looms courtesy of the Robert Downey Jr. “Sherlock Holmes” hitting theaters on Christmas Day.
“I think everyone just wants to see… Well, that one’s probably going to be a hit franchise and whether that is something you want to go up against,” Ferrell says. “Would it just inform the audience to allow for us to do a comedy version or would it feel like we’re just trying to copy them, even though I think we wrote our script before they did?”
“Land of the Lost” opens on Friday, June 5.