Anchorman is without a doubt in the top ten best films to ever feature a news team, a panda birth, pepper spray, and San Diego all in one movie. This film took some time to get off the ground but has since become one of the most quotable works in comedy history. Grab a leather-bound book and a glass of scotch as you digest these 15 classy facts about Anchorman.
Ron Burgundy Is Based On Mort Crim
Ferrell told The New York Times that he had found real-life anchorman Mort Crim in a documentary about his former co-anchor Jessica Savitch, where Crim said, “You have to remember, back then I was a real male chauvinist pig. I was not nice to her.'” In response to learning that he was the inspiration behind Ron Burgundy Crim has said “I don’t think you ever really see yourself in a parody, but it was fun.”
The First Draft Envisioned Different Actors In The Roles
An early draft of McKay and Ferrell’s screenplay envisioned certain actors in the roles: - Champ Kind: John C. Reilly - Brick Tamland: Chris Parnell - Brian Fantana: Ben Stiller - Ed Harken: Ed Harris - Garth Holiday: Dan Aykroyd - Frank Vitchard: Alec Baldwin - The script also specified another member of the news team, Marshall Connors, with William H. Macy suggested for the part, although the role never materialized.
James Spader Nearly Played Brick
James Spader was obsessed with portraying Brick in the film according to McKay. They eventually went with Carell because although Spader said, “I will do anything to get this role,” McKay felt he was just too much of an actor for the slapstick comedy.
Paul Thomas Anderson Wanted To Get Anchorman Off The Ground
Will Ferrell approached Adam McKay while the two were still at SNL about writing a feature together, which eventually turned into a script entitled “August Blowout” which was more of a cross between “Glengarry Glen Ross and a car dealership.” The script was passed around to different studios but no one wanted to make it. Then, Ferrell says, "Paul Thomas Anderson came and guest-wrote for a week on SNL, and he sat down with us and he was like, ‘I read that August Blowout.’ He’s like, ‘What if you guys wrote whatever you wanted to write, and I would shepherd it for you and kind of find out how to make it?’ We were like, ‘We’d do it. We’d do it in a heartbeat.’ So that’s when we wrote Anchorman.
There Was So Much Extra Footage Another Movie Was Born
At one point there was an entire subplot featuring Justin Long, Amy Poehler, and Maya Rudolph where Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone are kidnapped by a gang known as “The Alarm Clock.” All of the scenes were eventually cut, then strung back together for the straight to DVD movie Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie. Poehler said in an interview, that she had a feeling her scenes would be cut as the movie was already running long.
The Narrator Refused To Say Penis
The real-life Chicago news anchor Bill Kurtis had never done comedy or voice-over narration for a film before and told the Chicago Tribune, “I went to Universal City (in Los Angeles) to record, and I remember Judd wanted me to do a line where the word 'penis' comes up. I wouldn't say it. I had no idea how this film would turn out. If it's an embarrassment, here I am saying 'penis' in it, and I have this generally serious career. But now, I would certainly do it! Over and over again!"
The Fight Scene Was Shot In A Single Day
Because the film needed to keep the budget tight, and the crew was working with an already hectic schedule, the fight scene was completely shot in one day, with around 110 different shot setups according to McKay. The actors recalled that the props team had set out a bunch of weapons on a tarp and the cast were able to walk up and grab their weapon of choice. McKay also adds that the heat was ridiculous, remembering that the temperature was around 103 degrees.
The Man Behind The Flute Solo
Ron Burgundy’s jazz flute solo will go down as one of the greatest musical performances of all time. The master flutist behind the music is Katisse Buckingham, who also happened to play Todd in Who’s The Boss who gave Alyssa Milano a hickey. He also played the flute and the saxophone in Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic.”
Bob Odenkirk Almost Played Brian Fantana
McKay said he didn’t know Paul Rudd personally when Rudd reached out about the script. McKay said, “I didn’t really know Paul at the time, but I met him and I told him how the project was dead. He said he didn’t care and it was the funniest script he ever heard. It actually came down to Paul and Bob Odenkirk. It turns out that Paul was a great comic; we knew he was good, but he blew us away.”
The Original Story Was Completely Different
Ferrell told The Ringer that in the original draft, which took place on a plane, “Ron convinces the pilot that he knows how to fly the charter jet, and he immediately crash-lands it in the mountains. And it’s just the story of them surviving and trying to get off the mountainside. They clipped a cargo plane, and the cargo plane crashed as well, close to them, and it was carrying only boxes of orangutans and Chinese throwing stars. So throughout the movie, we’re being stalked by orangutans who are killing, one by one, the team off with throwing stars.”
Jon Hamm and Adam Scott Are Technically In The Movie
If you look at the credits of the newscast you can find that famous actors Adam Scott and Jon Hamm are both credited as writers for the program. Glad to see their careers have grown so far beyond that!
The Legend Lives On
Ron Burgundy’s license plate reads “IM #1” in the film, as it very well should. Now instead of hanging off the back of Ron’s ride, it hangs in the National News and Journalism Museum aka the “Newseum” with other relics from legendary broadcasters.
Christina Applegate Beat Out Some Heavy Hitters For Her Role
In reference to Christina Applegate, McKay said “she actually beat out Amy Adams, Leslie Mann, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Amy, at the time, looked like she was only 18. We couldn’t cast her, even though she’s awesome. Maggie; I said is going to win an Academy Awards someday and you don’t put Meryl Streep in a comedy (laughs). Leslie Mann is great as well, but she didn’t have that 50’s wholesome thing that we wanted and Applegate had all that.”
A Family Affair
While rumors circulated that the little girl who calls Ron Burgundy “a disappointment to us all” is played by the same little girl who played Pearl the landlord in the Funny Or Die short “The Landlord,” it is actually Pearl’s sister. Adam McKay’s daughter Lily-Rose McKay took on the role and McKay’s wife and Lily’s mother Shira Piven played her mom.
El Nombre De Restaurante Es Muy Loco
When Veronica and her co-worker come up with their plan to sabotage Ron’s teleprompter, they are at a Mexican restaurant named "Escupimos En Su Alimento.” Which just so happens to be Spanish for “we spit in your food.”
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Top Image: Dreamworks Pictures