Anchorman is back! The return of the KVWN Channel Four News team means that David Koechner is back in the saddle as his cowboy-hat wearing, ‘Whammy!’ yelling sportscaster, Champ Kind. San Diego’s favorite sons have left the Seventies behind and in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – in theaters December 20 – they have found themselves in 1980s New York, spearheading a 24-hour news cycle movement. But has the Ron Burgundy-led team learned anything since their first foray as the overly confident, narcissistic gang of self-mythologizing journalists? “No!” laughs Koechner. “These guys don’t evolve. It’s not in their DNA.”
It’s been nine years since the comedy hit introduced us to Burgundy (Will Ferrell), Champ, weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), and field reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd). And while there have been repeated attempts to get a sequel in the works – including talk of a Broadway musical to perfect jokes and plot points before filming a second movie – nothing came together until early 2012.
“Lo and behold, I’d heard that there was talk again, and then Will announced it on Conan in March,” Koechner says, referring to Ferrell’s appearance on Conan O’Brien’s late night show in full Ron Burgundy attire, jazz flute in hand. “There was no going back.”
The team has been pretty tight-lipped about the movie (“You can glean from the trailers,” Koechner teases), but he was able to spill a few details. “Women being bosses is less of a storyline,” he says, referring to the chauvinism shown in the first movie when reporter Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate) joined the team and gunned for a co-anchor position. “Of course they always have problems with authority,” Koechner adds.
And what about the odds of this movie producing as many memorable one-liners as the original? “I couldn’t have told you from that first movie what would become big,” Koechner says. “Honestly there’s so many lines from that first movie that you don’t even realize. . . almost every line is a catchphrase!”
It’s true. From Brick’s “I love lamp!” to Ron’s “I don’t know how to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal,” to Champ’s very astute “It’s anchorman, not anchorlady! And that is a scientific fact!,” the film’s one-liners are still immensely quotable. One joke, Ron’s singing to his beloved glass of scotch, even has its own Ben & Jerry’s flavor now: “Scotchy Scotch Scotch.” “How can a throw-away line from the opening credits become a catchphrase?” Koechner marvels. “But it did. It’s really remarkable.”
And, according to Koechner, there were enough jokes and scenes written for this sequel that another movie is not out of the question. “We had such a bounty of riches that it was really difficult to decide what was going to go in this thing,” he says. “You know that phrase, ‘Sometimes you’ve got to kill your darlings?’ Well, there were a lot of darlings in this one.” One such darling? A full scale musical number that could have put their a cappella “Afternoon Delight” effort to shame. “There’s a big musical number that was shot, but it didn’t make the movie. It broke my heart,” Koechner laments. “We seriously made an effort and lobbied to Kill Bill this movie and put it out in two parts, but it just didn’t work.”
Still, Koechner knows there are more than enough laughs in Anchorman 2 as is. “No one’s going to be disappointed,” he says. “It’s going to be a rock concert. I’ve still got my cowboy hat, we all just have better clothes. We got tailored suits this time.”
Staying classy, those guys.