original Anchorman plot

Ron Burgundy and the Channell 4 News Team turned to cannibalism an early draft of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. As wonderfully outlandish Adam McKay‘s comedy it, it was initially a little crazier. Ron, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), and the rest of the team once had to find their way down a mountain side, as they battled deadly orangutans.

Below, learn more about the original Anchorman plot.

Ferrell was recently promoting The House on The Bill Simmons podcast (via EW), and he shared a few details about how the team’s flight to Philly in an early draft of the script took a wrong turn. Around 20 times DreamWorks rejected McKay and Ferrell’s pitch. At one point, this was their fantastic pitch:

The first version of Anchorman is basically the movie Alive, where the year is 1976, and we are flying to Philadelphia, and all the newsmen from around the country are flying in to have some big convention. 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. And Veronica Corningstone keeps saying things like, ‘Guys, I know if we just head down we’ll hit civilization.’ And we keep telling her, ‘Wrong.’ She doesn’t know what we’re talking about.

It’s difficult to understand why exactly an exec wouldn’t go for that pitch. Then again, even There Will Be Blood director Paul Thomas Anderson might’ve found the story to be a bit too out there. Anderson, who spent a week ghost writing on SNL to prep for the comedy in Punch Drunk Love, wanted to help McKay and Ferrell get a movie made.

Ferrell called him one of Anchorman‘s guardian angels:

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. So he was one of the guardian angels, even though I think the first incarnation of that was maybe a little too weird for Paul.

August Blowout was a script rejected by Paramount. “It was Glengarry Glen Ross meets a car dealership,” McKay told NY Daily News. Ferrell would’ve played Jeff Tanner, “the best goddamned Ford salesman there was.”

As for that earlier draft of Anchorman, a news team vs. orangutans packing throwing stars sure does sound original. McKay and Ferrell are probably one of the few duos around who could pull off a story that ridiculous. As great as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is, it’s a bit of shame we’ll never see Burgundy at war with some orangutans.

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