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:
Q: How do you feel about being referred to as the Frat Pack?
Ferrell: Well, I love the name. It's fantastic. It's catchy. We've made over twenty-five thousand T-shirts that say, "Get on board, the Frat Pack train is leaving the station." We're going to work on the slogan…But it's catchy. It's fun. It's now.
McKay: Weren't you talking about how all you guys were going to get really pumped up and cut, then call yourselves the Lat-Pack?
Ferrell: Right. We might go with the Lat-Pack. We might become the…News Pack…
Q: How did Judd Apatow get attached to the project?
McKay: Judd was a political concession that we made to certain powers involved with the release. We did not want him involved with the movie, but the only way we could get financing…It's a long story. Judd's uncle owns a German insurance bond. Because of that, he gets attached to a lot of…
Ferrell: It's the Slesinger fund…
McKay: It's the Slesinger fund. And because of that he gets attached to a lot of TV shows and a lot of movies. But, he's harmless enough…Actually; Judd had a lot of input. Judd was great. Judd would, when Will and I would get kind of lazy on the rewrites, come and kick us, and make us do stuff. He had great notes on editing, and gave us ideas. He would be on set, behind the monitor. Occasionally, he would give great directions to throw out. He was, kind of like, unbelievable, actually.
Q: Christina, what was it like working with all these madmen?
Applegate: Well, as you can see, I just kind of kept myself quiet. And I laughed a lot. That's it. That's what I did everyday. I didn't say a word. In fact, I don't think we ever spoke (points to Steve Carell) through the whole shoot.
Carell: Off camera? No.
Applegate: But, it's great to meet you today.
(Steve stands up and shakes her hand)
Carell: I'm Steve.
Applegate: You are very funny in the movie, by the way.
Carell: Thank you.
Applegate: It was amazing. I mean, look at it. This is what I got to do every day. Laugh this hard. And we did. This is how hard we laughed. People actually had accidents; that's how hard they laughed. But I won't mention who…
McKay: We did. We had some accidents. I'm not going to back off it. Three people were set on fire because of laughter. Another time, a bunch of Dobermans got out of a cage because of laughter.
Q: After playing members of the media, do you have a better understanding of what we do? And are there any favorite questions that you are asked by people like us?
McKay: No…Uh…It's always just fun to say. I'm sorry.
Applegate: He doesn't know.
Ferrell: Do you have any sympathy for the media?
McKay: The one thing that we noticed was, we were looking back at the old anchors before cable, and assuming that they would be more dottering, and simple. But a lot of the guys we interviewed were actually pretty smart. They were more connected to the Edward R. Marrow tradition. You know. The people now, as far as the anchormen go, are more bent on presentation. And that surprised us. We didn't expect that.
Ferrell: Wow. That was a serious answer. That was really good.
Q: Do you have a favorite junket question?
Ferrell: Well, we're just starting. You're only the second thing that we've done.
Applegate: Every question, I'd say, has been pretty stupid.
McKay: What does make us laugh is that people keep asking Paul Rudd if he's Chinese. Which is odd.
Rudd; And the thing that is odd; I've never even gotten that question before. But now, it's been, like, four times.
McKay: What's it like being of Chinese decent…
Carell: If I hear, "What is your cup size?" One more time…
McKay: A lot of people ask Will, "What did you make last year? Before taxes? After taxes?"
Ferrell: And I love that question.
McKay: He'll answer it right away.
Ferrell: Uh…Seventy-eight million dollars.
Q: Before or after?
Q: Will you be starting on Bewitched next?
Ferrell: We won't be starting until September 21st. And we're kind of working with Nora Ephron on the script a little bit.
Q: It's a very different interpretation, isn't it?
Ferrell: Yes. It will be done in a Kabuki theater style. We're very excited. We're going to have to learn Japanese. Which, I don't think…People say it sounds like a huge leap we're making…
Rudd: It's not. I'll help you.
Ferrell: I'm going to work with Paul…
Q: What do you think you can teach Nicole Kidman about comedy?
Ferrell: Uh…You know…I'm not really familiar with Nicole Kidman as an actress. I've heard that she's done some great stuff. And I hear that she's got a cute little rear end on her. But, aside from that, I'm not really familiar with her.
Q: Steve, you've done a lot of newsman roles…
Carell: Yes, I have.
Q: Is there any talk about you heading up your own project?
Carell: Weatherman! Weatherman is in post-production right now. It's the continuing saga of Brick Tamland. Um…Yeah, there are a few things. And they're all going to be fantastic. Probably better than everything I've done, combined. But I'd like to write some of my own stuff. Because some of the stuff I'm given now is pretty lame. I'd like to put my own vent on something. And watch out.
Q: What is this next project?
Carell: I have to figure that out. I know it will be hysterical. I really want to direct. And do drama. That's right. I don't want to do comedy anymore. I just want to do really straight roles. And do choreography. I'd like a cooking show.
Q: Was that your actual voices singing Afternoon Delight? And do you guys have any recording plans?
Ferrell: Those were our voices. And, uh…Unfortunately, what happened…
McKay: They haven't done Afternoon Delight in a while. They've been working on We Built This City. I don't want to put them on the spot, but I do know they've been meeting for five hours everyday, for the past month, working on We Built This City. Do you guys want to give it a go?
Ferrell: We might as well.
Applegate: Ah 1, Ah 2…Ah 1, 2, 3, 4…
(Ferrell, Rudd, Koechner, & Carell harmonizing in high falsetto: We built this city…We built this city on rock and roll…Do, do, do…)
McKay: Stop. Stop. They weren't ready.
Rudd: It's early. Maybe after lunch, or something.
McKay: That was bad. That was really bad.
Rudd: The problem was, the first three times we all got together we all argued over who was going to sing the Grace Slick part…
McKay: Oh, okay…Well, to answer your question…Yes, there are several music projects in the works.
Q: An album?
McKay: Oh, yeah…Well, an album. Sort of like, there will be a double album. And then there will be four solo albums. Like when Kiss had one with each of them on the cover. We'll be doing that.
Q: Is there going to be a tour?
McKay: There will be a tour. There will be an Amusement park. There's going to be dogs…Which I don't know how that relates. There's going to be robots. Everything. That's it.
Q: Steve, are you going to play anything other than newscaster?
Carell: Nope. This is it. It's newscasters for the rest of my life. That's all I'm going to do. That's all I understand. I think that's pretty much it for me. That's my range.
Q: Do you like it?
Carell: No. And you can see that in my performance. I have contempt for all the other actors, except for myself. I deserve a lead role. But I have a three year old and a new born. I have to make ends meet. I resent my wife. You know, for making me work. Why doesn't she go out and get a job? She's talented too. She can write, she can do something. She doesn't do anything. She just sits around eating bon-bons all day, "Oh, I have a three week old. I'm breast feeding." I'm so sick of that.
McKay: It's a real problem in our nation right now.
Carell: "Aagghhh! He's chewing on them!" It's like, "Well, you know what? You wanted to breast feed."
Ferrell: And it's common. I think a lot of families are experiencing that.
Carell: I've had it up to here. And the kid? With the crying? "I'm needy! I'm hungry! I've a poopy Diaper!" So, pretty much, I'm going to be doing this. Just to get out of the house, essentially…I hope my wife never gets on the Internet.
Q: Steve, you stole a lot of laughs in this film. Where did you find the inspiration to play Brick?
Carell: Do you watch Spongebob Squarepants? Well, the character of the starfish? We're essentially the same person. Patrick. Thank you. No…I think the inspiration was the script itself. It was such a funny character. And to joke about doing this character for an entire movie would be the worst idea ever. Because it's the kind of character where very small doses are very funny. But anymore than that would be pretty obnoxious. I was pretty lucky. This script was so funny.
Q: This is for everybody, and be honest. Who kept their wardrobe?
Koechner: Those were my clothes to begin with.
Rudd: I don't think anybody did, really. We all kept our rings. Our Channel Four rings.
Ferrell: I kept a camera. Yeah, I kept one of the catering tents that you eat under.
McKay: Halfway through the shoot you took that. That was a real problem.
Ferrell: Was it?
McKay: Oh, you know what I kept as a souvenir? I kept a hundred and eighty thousand dollars out of the lock box. And they caught me, I was like, "It's just a keep sake!"
Ferrell: You wanted a souvenir from the movie.
McKay: I wanted a souvenir from the movie. Yeah. A keepsake.
Q: This is directed at Christina. How did you relate to this character, because I remember you played a babe on a TV show for a long time?
Applegate: It was really difficult because I'm really just limited to that. Anything outside that is like, "Whoa!" Uh…No, I'm kidding. No…I'm serious. No, I'm kidding. I loved playing Veronica. Having watched a lot of footage from that time in the 70s, and watching women as newscasters, I got to have this tape that was behind the scenes. I got to see the dynamic between the men and the women. I loved the idea that these women were just…They were in Hell. I love playing a character that has to overcompensate playing with the boys. That's a very colloquial answer to that.
Q: Did you ever experience anything like that?
Q: You've never experienced sexism?
Applegate: I don't find it. The casting couch thing is a normal thing, right? I mean; that's what we do to get jobs.
McKay: Christina, what were some of the non-regional words you'd say to crack us up. You'd do the non-regional pronunciations…
McKay: And you'd say Pin-Da.
Applegate: Pin-da. And Fah-word.
McKay: That would make us laugh.
Applegate: Yeah, I mean, I had to sleep with Adam to get this job. But that's not sexism. I think that's just the way the biz goes.
Koechner: That's not sexism. We all did it.
McKay: It's about tenderness and understanding. That's what it's all about.
Rudd: Earning your keep is what I always call it.
Ferrell: And being filmed. And you literally just sleep with Adam. There's no contact. You just lie in bed with him.
McKay: I caress you hair and sing German Children songs to you. And I feed everyone cups of honey. And I call them my little boish-doits. And then I cleaned their feet in the morning. There's nothing creepy about it. It's just that.
Ferrell: He'll let you listen to your I-Pod while it happens.
Q: How did you choose San Diego as the location for your news station?
McKay: Originally, it was set in Philadelphia. That was our first choice. I grew up outside of Philadelphia. Those are the anchormen that I remember. Then we went over to Portland. We thought Portland would be good, because we were starting to go West Coast. But Portland turned out not to be a good double for Vancouver. Then we thought, wait a minute. San Diego's perfect. Because we wanted a mid-market; sort of big, but not too big. Plus Will is almost a disturbingly big Padres fan. That really made it nice for him. And then, I'm really good friends with Doug Fluty. So, it was a great match, and it was a mid-level market.
Q: Will, how did you keep this character going through the end of the day?
Ferrell: Well, I didn't make it, a lot of the times, to the end of the day. I'd usually check out around 11 am. But that's just a sidebar. A fair amount of this character was on the page. Just because Adam and I had lived with it for so long, writing it. But Adam's somewhat unconventional as a director. Because, we kind of do the scene written one time. And then we'd start improvising right away.
Q: How long did this sort of process last?
Ferrell: Well, a take would usually be when the film ran out. And then we'd reset and keep doing stuff over and over again. Plus, Adam, a lot of times, would just yell out great suggestions and lines while we were rolling.
Applegate: They weren't that great.
Ferrell: You know what? You're right. They were just borderline horrible. And you'd do it anyway. Then we'd look at each other and go, "Ooh, it's nothing but hurtful to do this."
McKay: Do you guys want to take another swipe at We Built This City? I mean, do you think you can do it? I think it was a bit rough last time. Are you ready?
(Ferrell, Rudd, Koechner, Carell, and this time, Applegate, join together for another high falsetto rendition of We Built This City…)
Ferrell: Wait, slow it down…
(They go again…)
McKay: Stop, let's stop…
Koechner: That was cooking, though. That was really cooking.
McKay: It wasn't. Because, I can hear it. You know?
(A tape stops)
Applegate: Your tape stopped.
Q: That's okay.
Applegate: Oh, so you don't want to tape what we're saying? I don't know. I could say something brilliant. This could be the one.
Q: Will, is the next thing you're doing a drama?
Ferrell: What drama am I doing?
Q: We've heard that you are doing a drama…
Ferrell: No, I'm not doing a drama. Bewitched is next. Are you saying that Bewitched is a drama?
Q: I thought you had a drama coming out.
Ferrell: Oh, it's coming out. Yeah, yeah, yeah…
Q: How different was it working on that?
Ferrell: It was…You know, I don't know if it was that different. Because the role is slightly comedic within…Winter Passing is what I believe you are referring to…But, uh…It's the same approach. I play a deaf, blind mute. So, I don't really say anything. I just lie there, motionless. And they cut to my hand on occasion.
Koechner: I've seen an early cut, and it's still fascinating.
Ferrell: Thank you.
McKay: If I could, just for one second…I don't know if this is awkward to do. Paul asked me…
Rudd: No…No, I didn't…
McKay: Paul's a leading guy. He's been in a lot of movies. It's a big deal. We know Will's a big deal, but Paul's also a big deal…
Q: I would like to ask Paul a question…
McKay: Well, then, this is great. Because he really asked me. He said, "This is bullshit. I'm a big deal. This is all about Will." So, great, a question for Paul Rudd, at long last…
Q: What is the big difference between working in this and working…
Koechner: I'd like to answer this for Paul. Paul and I are from the same region of the country. I think that says it all.
Q: Paul, what's it like working on something like this, where a lot of it's improvised, compared to working on something like The Shape of Things, where you're performing the same stage play every night?
Rudd: Well, with this one, because there was so much improvisation, it was really fresh. And fun. When I was doing Shape of Things, which I'd done as a play, it was just so tired by the time we rolled tape.
Ferrell: Only questions for Paul Rudd from now on.
Q: This question is for everyone, starting with Paul. Can everyone please tell me their favorite Seventies memories?
Ferrell: Well, you know, it's funny…
Rudd: Damn it, Will…
Applegate: We're supposed to start with Paul.
Ferrell: I'm sorry, I wasn't listening.
Rudd: Well, Dave…Do you want to take that?
Koechner: Dave's favorite Seventies memory was the move from New Jersey to Kansas City, Missouri. He cried. They took a long car trip, and he cried the entire way. I grew up with Paul. We're actually brothers. That's how I know what his favorite memories are.
Rudd: Dave's family took me in at a very young age.
Ferrell: Do you know what my favorite Seventies memory was?
Applegate: What, Will?
Ferrell: This is going to be good, too. This is going to be good.
McKay: He actually told me this before. This is going to be really good. Sir, do you want to restart up your tape recorder here? Do you want to put fresh tape in the cameras?
Koechner: No, shut them off. Shut them all off.
Ferrell: Should we take a fifteen-minute break and come back?
Applegate: Just say it.
McKay: Say it now.
Ferrell: When you used to watch football games, and the guy with the rainbow wig…
Ferrell: What? The rainbow wig guy.
Applegate: John 3:16.
Ferrell: I thought that was going to be bigger.
Koechner: I want to know Paul's.
Applegate: Shhh, I'm talking. I was an infant. Unlike all of them, I was very young. I was born in 1982. Write that down. Quote me on that. That's how old I am. Go!
Koechner: I just want to hear Paul Rudd's favorite memory.
Rudd: Seventy-Six. Battle of the Network Stars. I was just a kid, watching it on TV. And they were doing a tug-of-war. And Adrienne Barbeau was on the right side. And she was pulling pretty hard. She was really giving it her all. And then they cut over to the other side, and it's Ed Asner, which is funny, because this movie we're taking about is Anchorman, and Ed Asner was the Anchorman during the tug-of-war.
McKay: That's weird.
Rudd: That is weird, right?
Ferrell: That's nice to tie that all together.
McKay: That's magic.
Rudd: And they wound up winning. And they were all very excited about it. And I was really happy for them. I don't know. I guess that's my favorite memory from the Seventies. I was in the closet most of the rest of the Seventies. Dave's parents, once they took me in, wouldn't let me out in the sun too much.
Q: When did you come out of the closet?
Rudd: I came out of the…Whoa…
Applegate: Ahhh! Bah-dump-bump!
McKay: With my memory, it's a pretty quick one…
Applegate: They weren't asking you.
McKay: He said everyone. It'll be quick. Mine was Seventy-Four, at the end of the Vietnam War. I was two years old, and the image of the helicopters being pushed off the aircraft carrier. And it just hit me. I'm sitting there, two years old, with a Popsicle, and I'm just thinking, "This is the end of an Empire." I mean, we went there with these political goals, this post-World War 2 paradigm, and this paradigm is shattering in half right in front of us. That, and then Hong Kong Phooey.
Ferrell: Are you serious? I mean, you were only two. And that's what you were thinking? That's amazing.
McKay: Yeah. You can talk when you're two. You're not an idiot when you're two. I remember, I got on the horn with Kissinger, and I said, "Henry, what have you done?"
Carell: Are you serious?
McKay: I said, "This madman theory…You were the madman!" That's all it was.
Carell: Adam, let me just say that a lot of this has been lighthearted. But this is really amazing.
McKay: Yeah. I had a direct line to Henry Kissinger. I was two. Yeah, I worked for Carter's campaign when I was eleven. I was pretty active in the Seventies.
McKay: Yeah, when I was three, I became Secretary of the Interior.
Koechner: Were you like a ghost Secretary?
McKay: No, it was me. If you look at old photos, there's a three year old up there.
Rudd: In a Batman shirt.
Q: Christina, what's your next project?
Applegate: Right now, I'm going to New York to star in Sweet Charity.
Q: How are you preparing for that?
Ferrell: Be sure you stretch.
Applegate: Yeah. I am. This is really difficult, and absolutely insane to do. But I'm just training right now.
Q: Do you think you'll work with your husband anytime in the future?
Applegate: Maybe. You know? I love my husband. I want to keep my relationship. I'm afraid if we did a movie together, that might not happen…As we've seen with other couples.
Q: What's next for the rest of you?
Koechner: I'm going to do Sweet Charity on Broadway for about nine weeks.
(There is a long silence)
Ferrell: No one else has anything? God, what a sad answer that was.
McKay: The whole group is not doing well.
Applegate: What the hey? Summer Vay-Kay.
Ferrell: I'm working on Bewitched. What are you doing?
McKay: Bewitched. Will and I are actually working on our next project. Talladega Nights, about racecar drivers.
Rudd: I'm actually going to go see Christina in Sweet Charity somewhere in the course of nine months.
McKay: That's it. Good-bye.