Let’s face it, Wake Up Ron Burgundy was not an adequate sequel to Anchorman, even despite the occasional belly laughs the re-edited (and largely cobbled together) cut of deleted and additional scenes from the original managed to command. But then again, it never aspired to be anything but a tongue-in-cheek re-edit to give fans more time with the Channel 5 News team, so what were we expecting really?
So, news that a real sequel, helmed by Adam McKay, and bringing the original gang of Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell and David Koechner was well and truly on the cards would have been heralded with choruses of “Neat-Oh!” throughout the world. But then, harsh mistress as she is, Fate robbed the whole world of that awesome possibility because of some piffling money worries. A bitter pill to swallow.
But it doesn’t end there. Adam McKay has since revealed to Chud some specifics related to the sequel, and it makes the reality that we won’t get to see Ron Burgundy again even more difficult to accept:
It was a musical. We were going to do four months on Broadway and then jump right into filming.
McKay’s revelation comes on the back of Paramount’s decision not to pursue the project, believing that the required $6om budget simply wasn’t justifiable, even despite the phenomenal cult success of the original, and some startlingly good DVD sales over the years. It’s just a shame that Paramount won’t have even considered those factors when they calculated the probability of a loss; as Paul Rudd told Empire, recently:
It wasn’t a smash hit opening weekend. It didn’t lose money, but it wasn’t The Hangover, so you look at the figures of when it was in cinemas and it’s not automatic. You don’t take into account DVD sales or how it’s grown over the years and so you punch in those numbers and a figure comes up for the budget and for what they might have in mind, there’s a chasm.
Despite the studio’s snub, McKay remains on good terms, adding: “There’s no hard feelings. We have some cool projects set up at Paramount.” As if wanting to finally put a lid on the possibility of a reprisal, in response to Chud’s question along the same lines, McKay seemed pretty firm: ”We’ve moved on.” Perhaps it’s a case of a director actually recognising the possibility that any sequel would be unlikely to hit the heights, or command the same kind of cult appeal as the original (just look at the model set by The Boondock Saints).
I’m not wholly convinced that McKay was being etirely truthful with Chud about the whole musical thing, partly because it’s McKay who’s behind it, but also because of the utter improbability that such a project could ever exist (Broadway surely wouldn’t lower itself to accomodating songs called “A Whale’s Vagina” or “I Pooped a Hammer”, though it bloody well should!).
It’s still a huge disappointment that Anchorman 2 won’t be appearing, in any kind of format: the majority of the players involved have subsequently struggled to get any where near the kind of plaudits they picked up from working on Anchorman, with Will Ferrell cursed to always have his work judged against his lead performance. Paul Rudd is probably my favourite of the bunch, going back to his Overnight Delivery and Clueless days, and even he hasn’t really shone recently besides the occassional well-done smaller role (fingers crossed for Dinner for Schmucks), so to see him once again don his moustache as Brian Fantana would have been a personl treat. But it seems the last faint whiff of chance has now faded like yesterday’s Sex Panther.
And, just to establish exactly how the whole musical idea might have panned out, watch this beautiful piece of cinema (of course the original in-film version has more impact, but I couldn’t resist posting the full version)…
But, hey, there’s always the original: if you haven’t seen it, you need to. Especially at this price.