This week, the eagerly awaited sequel to one of the funniest films of all time, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues will be on release nationwide. Last week, we were lucky enough to catch up with Will Ferrell and David Koechner to chat about the sequel, what it’s been like working together again and those all-important quotes.
How did you guys feel when it was announced the project was going ahead?
Koechner: The day that they were going to announce on Conan, Will rang me and said “watch Conan, we’re going to announce tonight”. But Will had actively been in the trenches up to that point.
Ferrell: It was ultimately our decision whether to do it. We didn’t really get a call. We had a lot of back and forth with the studio. When we decided, it was both a “be careful what you wish for” moment, excitement mixed with “oh, now we have to write it.”
Koechner: I just loved that when you announced it, it was “ha ha, no turning back”. It had gotten close before, but it was a great move to go on TV and announce it. We thought, oh, we have to do it now.
Ferrell: We had some constructive debate with the studio in terms of the popularity of the movie. Their view was (sarcastically) not as accurate as ours. That was what was so great about the Conan announcement; Twitter went crazy, everything went crazy. They were like, this is extraordinary and we were like, well, yes, we know. We told you! There was a demand for this film! They were like, we were pretend excited, now we are real excited.
We saw an interview where you said the studio weren’t too keen…
Ferrell: No, they were keen but they wanted to do it for ten dollars. They didn’t take into account the fair market value of where everyone was, what the budget should be and things like that. I’d like to say we met halfway. They got a good deal, let’s just say that.
Koechner: When you look at the excitement worldwide. I mean, a guy who was not a first language English speaker from Sierra Leone approached me in New Orleans and I was like “wow”.
It has a cult following…
Koechner: You say cult following like it’s a passion for a thing, but really someone suggested pop culture phenomenon.
Ferrell: It started as a cult and now it has kind of grown. It really is, and we’re not just saying this because we are in Dublin, it is the massive fandom, in places like Australia too, its almost like the movie resonated more with people here than it did in the States. I think some of the better reviews were over here. It was just a different type of movie. Adam always tells a story about when Ben Stiller came up to him at the premiere and said, “you realise what you just did, you just made the movie we all wanted to make. You didn’t follow any of the rules.” To have that grow into such a crazy phenomenon is fun.
So, Will, when you were writing the film, did you feel you had to stay true to the legacy of the first film?
Ferrell: You know I think that organically it happened through call backs and things, be true to the characters, and then try to create a new story and bring in new characters.
Koechner: I know Will and Adam for a long time and I know people ask them did you feel pressure when you were writing it and I know all these guys feel is fun and joy. Just to hang with these guys, that’s such an awful word (laughs) they were just a joy. If it makes us laugh, that’s what’s going to go on the page.
Ferrell: We’ve never stopped to consider what if it doesn’t work or are we on the right track? We just kind of go forth with reckless abandon.
We know the first film is just extremely quotable, did you feel any pressure to write those kind of quotes for the second film?
Ferrell: We’ve had quotes from all the movies we have done and we never once written a line and gone “mark it”. (laughs) That’s gonna be on t-shirts!
Koechner: Imagine you had a marketing department with those quotes on the t-shirts. “I love lamp”.
Ferrell: Milk was a bad choice. I wanna be on you. I’m kind of a big deal.
Koechner: Every line is quotable. They would have said no, stop it.
Ferrell: When we get in a room, we improvise the scenes in the character scenes in the voices. On top of that, these guys come and add their own lines. Somehow, they become quotable. (laughs) There’s no trick to it. There’s no science.
Is there one that you hope people will pick up on?
Ferrell: I can’t remember!
Koechner: It goes back to what I was saying earlier, I hope it makes all of us laugh! That’s where these guys work from, they’re not looking for a catchphrase. That was after. They’re just writing things that make them laugh. I do stand-up, when I do the lines from the movies, it will be the loudest laugh of the night and they’ve already heard them 50 times.
In terms of the viral content that you have been doing, Love/Hate, Dr. Who, the Toy Show, were you familiar with them beforehand?
Ferrell: I wish I could sit here and go, I totally had my finger on the pulse for all of this but it was really just a smart move from Paramoun International. I taped those back in May and another round at the end of the summer.
They were huge here…
Ferrell: That’s what I heard! There was a few we planted in Australia that referenced the election. I sit in a room and we do 50 of them in a row. It’s a little intense. All of the feedback was really massive. It was really shrewd on their part.
We have to ask you about a controversial Irish question, it’s Tayto versus King crisps, would you oblige us for the taste test?
Koechner: Oh, well I shouldn’t see the packets!
Ferrell: Can I get the two together?
Koechner: Are they the same flavour?
Ferrell: I liked the first one.
Koechner: Me too.
Ferrell: Is Tayto the hipper one? These are great stocking stuffers.
Tomorrow, we will have the interview with Steve Carell, who talks to us at length about lamp, and Paul Rudd, who tells us about his love for Tayto. Anchorman 2 is in cinemas this Wednesday.