The Official "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" News Conference
& Director Adam McKay
On Saturday, June 26 2004, the cast of Will Ferrell's new summer comedy Anchorman gathered in front of the KVWN Channel 4 San Diego News set for this stirring discussion:
Koechner (surveying the set): I feel like there's a scandal.
McKay: There is…
Koechner: I'd like to respond to these allegations.
Ferrell: These allegations will be responded too. This commission has been condemned.
Koechner: We will get to the bottom of this.
(The cast introduces themselves from left to right…)
McKay: So, once again, I'm Adam McKay, the director.
Rudd: Well…I'm Paul Rudd. I'm also the director.
Ferrell: I'm Jan-Michael Vincent. I'm also the director.
Applegate: Christina Applegate; craft services…
Koechner: Uh, Dave Koechner; staff medic…
Carell: And Steve Carell…
McKay: Who are you?
Ferrell: He did not serve a function on the film. He's just a good buddy of ours who wanted to be around. He's a great guy.
Carell: Thank you so much for the gifts. It was really nice.
McKay: So, um, yeah…Who's got some questions for us? Anyone want to start off?
Q: This is for Will and Christina…Did you base your characters on any specific Anchors from the 70s, or was it an amalgamation of a lot of people?
Farrell: I know Christina based her character on you…So, it's a complement. I based my character on an imaginary figure by the name of Walter Pinbrook. And Walter Pinbrook was a lieutenant in the French Navy. During the 1800s. Not a lot of literature on Walter Pinbrook…No…I didn't base it on anyone. I didn't really watch that much tape, either.
Q: Then where did this character come from? You co-wrote the script…
Q: Then where does this guy come from?
Farrell: Just, um…From Adam and I, we'd get together, we'd get a case of Gin…And, uh…We'd sit down, we'd go to our mountain retreat.
McKay: We'd go into a haze not unlike Martin Sheen in the beginning of Apocalypse Now. In the hotel room.
Farrell: And it gets ugly.
McKay: For a while it gets ugly. We'd punch mirrors, and we'd explore our darker selves…No, it's just an amalgam of all Newscasters that we grew up with. Sort of like before there was cable, when these guys were gods.
Q: Was there a lot of improv going on during the production of the movie?
Koechner: We were fined if we didn't follow the script. There was a five-dollar fine meaded out if you did not pronounce every word of the script and take notes on punctuation. Even now I'm not suppose to speak.
McKay: We are scripted for this today. I hope you don't mind, but there are cue cards behind all of you right here. No…There was tons of improv on this. A lot of it did show up.
Ferrell: Ad-libs. We call them make-em ups sometimes. I don't know if you want to use that. It's a technical term.
Applegate: Throw-ins. Make-em ups.
Ferrell: Quipsters. Sure. Silly beans.
Applegate: Oh, God. Sill beans.
Ferrell: The Dark Hand of Thor. It was weird when that one hit.
McKay: Well, they can't all sound like that. So, we came up with a new one…Spontaneity-ettes.
Q: Adam, can you talk about directing that sort of activity, and trying to keep a through-line throughout the production? We've heard that there's an eight-hour director's cut of the movie…
McKay: Eight hours? That would be amazing. We did have a four-hour cut of the movie…
(Will Ferrell breathes heavily into the microphone…)
McKay: Will, you're breathing too close to the mic.
Ferrell: Oh! Sorry…
McKay: When you're not talking, just stay awake. Pretend to breath very softly…Yeah, we did. At one point, we had a four-hour cut of the movie. It was all…
(Will continues moaning very loudly into the microphone…)
McKay: (to Will) You're still too close. We can hear you. Just when you're not talking, back off completely.
Ferrell: I'll totally back off. That's fine. (Will pulls away from the Microphone. He then goes on to stare at McKay with a great deal of anger.)
McKay: We did. We had a four-hour version of the movie that was just littered with cold runs, and stuff like that. (Adam catches Will staring menacingly at him…) Now you're just mocking me. That's not even…
Ferrell: No, I was just exhaling.
Q: Do you think we'll ever see that version of the movie?
McKay: Absolutely not. Next question, please…Yeah, we're going to put out a DVD with all of it. We literally had enough extra footage that we made another, second movie called Wake Up, Ron Burgundy. That's right. I'm not kidding. That is not a joke. It's absolutely true. It's an hour and forty minute second movie of entirely fresh material that will eventually be put out on DVD.
Carell: And Comedy Central.
Carell: And on Comedy Central.
McKay: Will it be shown on Comedy Central?
Carell: I don't know.
Ferrell: It will be on the New York Times Discovery Channel. Exclusively, it will run on that.
Q: So you're committed to putting that out?
McKay: Yeah. They told us they were. I mean, define committed. I chased down Katzenburg and said, "Are you going to put it out?" And he said, "Get off me! Get your arm off me!" I took that as a yes.
Q: Are they going to do more than one DVD release?
McKay: I think they're going to do one kinda straight-ahead release. Where it's just a movie with some outtakes. And then they're going to do a second release. It's like a two DVD release with a second movie on it.
Q: I want to ask you guys about the big fight scene, and then ask Christina about her fight scene with Will…
Ferrell: We'd rather you didn't. Let's move on.
Koechner: May I also mention that buried within this new hour and forty minute movie is an adult film. It's buried in there, too.
Ferrell: An Adult film?
Koechner: Yes. And we all participated. Just because you see a blacked out line across certain people's eyes, you'll know who's in the orgy.
McKay: So, did you guys actually have a question?
Q: Yes, the fight scene…
Ferrell: Yeah. The fight scene. It happened. You know what. It was an amazing feat that Adam pulled off. I think there was something like sixty set-ups in one day. I believe. With two camera units working simultaneously. We were setting people on fire. And tridents…
McKay: There are rumors that we used a lot of actual dead bodies for the background. Which of course is not true.
Ferrell: It's so not true.
McKay: We did what we needed to do to get it done. If people got hurt, then so be it. You know? That's what…Never mind.
Ferrell: Oh, and then our fight scene together…
Applegate: Oh, yeah…
Ferrell: It was…
Applegate: Very violent.
Ferrell: That actually took three camera crews.
Applegate: That did take two or three days.
Ferrell: That took two or three weeks. That took most of the shooting schedule.
Applegate: God, we were there for seventeen or eighteen hours. Right? Remember?
Ferrell: At the least.
Applegate: Because Adam was very particular about the part where I had the TV antenna. I guess I wasn't doing it right. So we had to do that…
McKay: It's not that you weren't doing it right. You were doing it wrong. That's the same way to express two thoughts…But, yeah…We met before this movie for six months, much like the Matrix. They worked out with Martial Arts instructors. We were in Hong Kong for two months working on the wire-fu techniques. Another four months, we all went to Madagascar, and they all became Balinese Mask Makers. That had nothing to do with the movie. I just wanted them all to have that experience. And, then, Steve and Dave actually went to the Brewer's Fantasy camp. And got to play with the players. Again, nothing to do with the movie. It's just a neat little side story.
Carell: It was really fun.
McKay: There was a lot of effort. We started shooting this in 89. With an entirely different cast. It was originally Harvey Keitel who was playing Will's role. It just didn't work out. We had to re-shoot the whole beginning. At one point, the Philippino government had an insurgency, and they had to take back all our helicopters. So we lost them in the middle of the shoot. Then Martin had the heart attack. And then, remember when Brando showed up three hundred pounds overweight?
Ferrell: I saw that coming.
McKay: That happens to me sometimes.
Q: Did anything funny happen on the set?
Ferrell: There was one…It wasn't really funny. Paul got into a sticky situation with Border Police down in San Diego. He was at the dog track in Tijuana.
Rudd: It was tough, too. I was in wardrobe, and I didn't have my passport on me.
Ferrell: You know the dog track in Tijuana, right?
Rudd: Anyway, apparently I'd made this bet. I knew I'd made the bet, and they refused to pay me, even though my dog came in. Because I'd lost my ticket. You have to hold on to your ticket. So I went up there and said, "I'd like my money." And they said, "Well, where's your ticket?" And I told them, "I don't have it, you stupid assholes." They wanted to see my passport, and I just started swinging.
Ferrell: Along with having a suitcase full of cocaine.
McKay: There are several scenes in the movie that are sorta shot like Game of Death, with Bruce Lee. Where we had to actually transpose a face over a stand-in to have Paul be in it. We hope you can't tell. But people have told us that you absolutely can tell. It ruins the movie. But we had to get it done. We had to finish. There's an old expression, "The show's got to go near the on."
Ferrell: Yeah. That's not an expression at all.
McKay: It's close. The show must go to the on. You've got to turn the show on, right? Is that it?
Rudd: I knew it before you actually started saying it.
McKay: The show must go, go, go…
Koechner: That's it. Yeah.
Q: Will, Entertainment Weekly quotes you as the hardest working man in show business, with eight projects in production. How many of those projects are actually going to get made?
Ferrell: Literally, none of those movies are happening. You know? Sometimes, this is a town based on rumors, and those things just get away from you.
Q: What's the biggest rumor?
Ferrell: That I'm not gay. And that pisses me off. Because I work hard with my partner Roger, and I…And, uh…You know…Enough said.
Q: How hard was it to get all the cameos together, and did you have to pay them a lot of money? What was involved in that?
Koechner: I think I can field that. It was up to me. They didn't give me any phone numbers. I had to pay them out of my own pocket. And most of them refused to talk to me the day they were on the set. But they said, "You go do this, or we will cut out every part of the film that you are in." So I managed to track down all of the stars, and I got them in there.
McKay: Well, originally, Dave came to us with a different list of cameos that wasn't quite as exciting. Uh, it was the guy that played Schneider on One Day at a Time.
Ferrell: Pat Harrington.
McKay: He got us the original girl from Happy Days with the slicked-back hair…What was her name?
Koechner: Again, I didn't know her name. I just saw her on the street and said, "Hey!"
Ferrell: Pinky Tuskadaro, I guess…
McKay: We got her. And then we got Steve Garvey. Those were our original three cameos. We went and shot it, and were like, "This isn't exciting at all." We didn't recognize these people, it made no sense…
Ferrell: We had to do lower thirds, "Here comes Steve Garvey."
McKay: Then Dave says, "I got a surprise for you!" He'd gotten the mechanical owl from Clash of the Titans. I was just like, "That's fucking crazy." We couldn't use that at all. Then Judd Apatow, our producer, got on the phone and immediately got Tim Robbins, Vince Vaughn…Everyone just came down within five minutes. They showed up and saved our biscuits.
Koechner: I think the cast I put together actually worked.
McKay: We'll never really know.
Ferrell: Yeah. We'll know. It defiantly did not work…
McKay: But we don't want it to get ugly in front of all these people.
McKay: But, how did we get the cameos? They just came.
Q: You guys are missing a very important part of the cast today, the dog…
Ferrell: Yes. Peanut.
Q: What was it like working with him? You guys had great chemistry together…
Ferrell: We did. Because, I'm professional, I'm allowed to say this…I let him lick my balls. So, that's what you need to get close with your animal…No, I can say that? Right?
McKay: No. You should defiantly not have said that. When that happened in your trailer, when you were doing it, I said, "This is horrifying. All you have to do is hold a little piece of food in your hand, and the dog will come near you." You said, "No, no…I want to do it this way." And I specifically said, "When we do the press junket, don't bring this up."
Ferrell: I get confused at these things.
McKay: It was the most disturbing thing I've ever seen. For some reason he insisted on wearing a black hood. He was in a dark room with a red light…
Ferrell: Uh…Strike that from the record. I should not have said that. That was horrible.