Anchorman 2 NYC

7. Race is an issue in the movie, but is handled carefully.

We saw two full scenes while in the edit bay. One featured the news team going to their new job for the first time and meeting Linda Jackson, played by Meagan Good. The laughs are played because the news team can’t believe not only are they working for a woman, they’re working for an African-American woman. Since the film’s first trailer showed other scenes where race plays an issue, McKay discussed that:

McKay: We were aware there’s a fine line. I mean, these guys are so dopey that it’s not, the subject of race is not like we experience it in the news now. It’s — they’re so innocent and so stupid about it that it’s never really mean or pointed. I mean, you’ll see in the whole movie that they really just don’t get it. They never fully get anything, but they a-little-bit get it by the end of the movie, And they deal in this movie with like about five or six different issues. In the first movie it was just the idea of a woman in power. In this movie now, it’s race, there’s another woman in power, there’s scientology, there’s issues with a child…there’s like all this different kind of stuff they have to deal with. And obviously fame and money that they’ve never seen before.

8. A Winnebago stunt scene took three days to shoot.

The other scene we saw was classic, hilarious, can’t-believe-it’s happening Anchorman. The news team has finally reassembled and are in a Winnebago on the way to New York. Ron decides it can get there on autopilot though and, well, that doesn’t go well resulting in an epic slow motion crash. McKay talked about some of the issues filming this scene:

McKay: Yeah it turned out to be a giant pain in the ass.  We wrote it at two in the morning laughing like idiots and then suddenly the reality of it was like, “Oh god, we’ve got to do all this.” So it was a huge gimbal with the Winnebago. It was them hanging from a green screen, it was stunt doubles inside the Winnebago, it was then the plates you had to get from the inside. Then it was all the objects you had to get, then you had to have fake bowling balls, and real bowling balls. It was probably a total of three days of shooting to get that silly little sequence. Don’t tell anyone that.

9. The test screening process was incredibly extensive.

McKay: On this movie, which we’ve never done before, we did A and B screenings. We were doing two screenings every night. So you had one whole rack of jokes in the A screening, and you had a different rack of jokes in the B screening, and we were constantly… the B screening was like the minor leagues. So if a joke got a big laugh at the B screening, we would then bring it up. If a moment worked or if there was a cool shot, we would then move it into the A cut.

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10. Anchorman 2 almost ended underwater.

McKay: We had some crazy idea for an ending where it was going to be an Irwin Allen thing. The Underwater Hotel was being announced. It was the most obvious setup for a disaster ever. There was this glass dome over it, and Burgundy has ignored the story about how the glass manufacturers skimped on prices because [the network] advertises undersea dome glass. Ferrell and I wrote this crazy ending, and… there were like gushes of water coming through and shooting sharks at people. It was absolute madness. But we wrote the whole thing, and it wasn’t bad. It almost worked. Then we took a beat, and were like, “That’s not the end of the movie.” It was going to be crazy expensive. I’m not sure it would’ve worked. But, yeah, we got those advantages of being able to work on the story and see how it felt as time went by.

11. The movie was originally conceived as a musical and there are still musical scenes.

McKay: It was going to basically be the same storyline and the same kind of CNN twenty-four-hour news/Fox News kind of thing, but just a musical. We had four or five numbers written, and we did shoot them, so there are a couple of musical numbers in here. But we had one big giant one that didn’t quite play the way we wanted it. It always worked. It wasn’t like it was bad. It just didn’t quite play storywise, so we took that out. But that having been said, there are still a couple of songs in there. There’s one big love song at the end of the movie that… I’ll wait. I don’t want to give it away.

12. Seth Rogen’s laugh ruined an early test screening.

McKay: At a friends and family screening Seth Rogen was there and he sat dead center. We had 100 people there, it was a 2.5 hour cut and the entire laugh track we recorded was completely wrecked because of Seth Rogen sitting in the middle going “Hauh Hauh Huah.” One of the great laughs of all time and also his comedy sense of humor is so good that you’re like “I don’t know if other people will laugh at that, I know Seth Rogen finds that crazy joke funny.”So we were like okay, friends and family screening useless because of Seth Rogen. I wish it would just play for 300 million Seth Rogens. I don’t know what that would do to the world, but yeah

A journalist then suggested they release that track as an extra on the DVD:

McKay: Just release the Seth Rogen laugh track? That’s really funny. There should be a law for one whole year all laugh tracks are Seth Rogen for all TV shows. The world would get ever so slightly better.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues open December 20. Read about our visit to the set here.

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