June 19, 2017
The Original Plot For ‘Anchorman’ Was Too Weird For Paul Thomas Anderson
Will Ferrell and co. certainly weren’t lacking in ideas when it came to “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.” In fact, during the making of the 2004 comedy classic, they shot so much footage, the bonus film “Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie” was cobbled together from the leftover footage, and included in the DVD release. However, the creative juices were flowing long before cameras rolled, and originally, ‘Anchorman’ had a plot that had nothing to do with newsroom rivalries.
Stopping by “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” Ferrell shared the absolutely bonkers original idea for ‘Anchorman,’ which sounds pretty surreal, even by the comic actor’s standards.
“The first version of ‘Anchorman’ is basically the movie ‘Alive,’ where the year is 1976, and we are flying to Philadelphia, and all the newsmen from around the country are flying in to have some big convention,” Ferrell explained. “Ron convinces the pilot that he knows how to fly the charter jet, and he immediately crash-lands it in the mountains. And it’s just the story of them surviving and trying to get off the mountainside. They clipped a cargo plane, and the cargo plane crashed as well, close to them, and it was carrying only boxes of orangutans and Chinese throwing stars. So throughout the movie we’re being stalked by orangutans who are killing, one by one, the team off with throwing stars. And Veronica Corningstone keeps saying things like, ‘Guys, I know if we just head down we’ll hit civilization.’ And we keep telling her, ‘Wrong.’ She doesn’t know what we’re talking about.”
In another surprising addition, none other than auteur Paul Thomas Anderson agreed to help Ferrell and producer/co-writer Adam McKay get the film made, even if it was “a little too weird.” Thankfully, Ferrell and McKay took another crack at it, and we now have the much beloved comedy as we know it. Listen to the full conversation with Ferrell below. [Uproxx]