Ferrell revives a cult classic

WILL FERRELL might have made a name for himself playing the misguided and moustachioed news anchor Ron Burgundy but don't let the on-screen buffoonery fool you.

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Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy
Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy

Ferrell has razor sharp wit, which saw him quickly rise through the ranks from stand-up comedy workshops to esteemed LA improv group The Groundlings, where he was plucked for Saturday Night Live.

"Will's so good at throwing something out there that's unexpected and so far out of left-field," notes Rudd, who reprises his role of 'man on the street' Brian Fanatana in the Anchorman sequel.

New boy James Marsden, who plays Ron's chiselled nemesis Jack Lime, agrees: "When you're able to bust Will Ferrell up, then you know you're doing something good. That's the Holy Grail."

The original Anchorman wasn't a major hit when it was released in 2004, but since, Ferrell says, "it's kind of grown into cult status".

The idea came about after the actor saw a state news anchor paired with a woman for the first time. Soon he and his Saturday Night Live colleague Adam McKay got talking.

"I said, 'What about basing a story in the Seventies news world, about the first time a woman comes into that world and how these men are just petulant, and she's smarter and more capable?"' recalls Californian-born Ferrell.

The men agreed it had potential and roped in producer Judd Apatow, with McKay becoming director, creating one of the most successful creative partnerships in Hollywood.

While the trio re-teamed for comedy hits Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby and Step Brothers, Anchorman continued to quietly grow into a phenomenon.

By 2010, Ferrell and McKay began considering a follow-up and thought of a number of ideas, including a musical version. "The studio weren't reticent, but [they were] scratching their heads," says Ferrell. "I think their comment was, 'Oh, that's not what we expected at all when you said you want to do a sequel..."'

On reflection, the married father-of-three adds: "I think we were happy to get rid of that and be a regular comedy."

Eventually, they found themselves talking about the introduction of cable TV and the media explosion that began to happen in 1980 - a "crucial year", the actor points out.

"We kept talking about it and realised that's what Ron should deal with," explains Ferrell. "The goal was to make a movie that made you laugh really hard - but also stop you in your tracks and make you think."

Like the original, the comedy might be near the mark, but Ferrell couldn't be happier with the final edit.

"I think we're all very excited and thrilled and we feel very good about the movie. We think it's funny, poignant, satirical, all those good things."

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