Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Adam McKay|
|Produced by||Judd Apatow|
|Written by||Will Ferrell
|Narrated by||Bill Kurtis|
|Music by||Alex Wurman|
|Cinematography||Thomas E. Ackerman|
|Editing by||Brent White|
|Distributed by||DreamWorks Pictures|
|Running time||95 minutes|
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, or simply Anchorman, is a 2004 comedy film directed by Adam McKay, produced by Judd Apatow, starring Will Ferrell, and written by McKay and Ferrell. The film is a tongue-in-cheek take on the culture of the 1970s, particularly the new Action News format. It portrays a San Diego TV station where Ferrell's title character clashes with his new female counterpart. This film is number 100 on Bravo's 100 funniest movies, and 113 on Empire's 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.
The film made $28.4 million in its opening weekend, and $90.6 million worldwide in its total theatrical run. A companion film assembled from outtakes and abandoned subplots, titled Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie, was released straight-to-DVD in late 2004.
In the mid-1970s, Ronald Joseph Aaron "Ron" Burgundy (Will Ferrell) is the famous anchorman for a local San Diego station. He works alongside his friends on the news team: lead field reporter Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), sportscaster Champion "Champ" Kind (David Koechner), and intellectually disabled chief meteorologist Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). Station director Edward "Ed" Harken (Fred Willard) notifies the team that they have maintained their long-held status as the highest-rated news program in San Diego, leading them to throw a wild party, where Ron unsuccessfully tries to pick up a beautiful, blonde woman (Christina Applegate). Ed later informs the team that they have been forced to hire Veronica Corningstone, the same woman whom Ron tried to pick up. After a series of inept attempts by the team to seduce her, she finally relents to a date with Ron, culminating in a sexual relationship. Despite agreeing to keep the relationship discreet, Ron announces it on air.
After a dispute with a motorcyclist (Jack Black) involving Ron's dog, Baxter (Peanut), being punted off the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, Ron is late to work. Veronica replaces him on-air, and the couple breaks up. Veronica is made co-anchor, to the disgust of the team, and the two co-anchors become fierce rivals, both on and off the air. Depressed, the news team decides to buy new suits, but Brick, who was leading the way, gets them lost in a shady part of town. Confronted by competitor Wes Mantooth (Vince Vaughn) and his news team, Ron challenges them to a fight. However, when several other news teams converge on the site, a full-on melee ensues, broken up only by police sirens. When they return to the studio, Ron gets in another heated argument with Veronica, and they get in a physical fight after she insults his hair, increasing tensions even more.
When Helen (Kathryn Hahn), one of Veronica's co-workers, tells her that Ron will read anything written on the teleprompter, she sneaks into the station and changes the words. The next day, Ron (oblivious to what he is saying) concludes his broadcast with, "Go fuck yourself, San Diego!" which subsequently provokes an angry mob outside the studio, and Ed has to fire Ron. Guilt-ridden, Veronica tries apologizing, but Ron angrily dismisses her. Ron becomes unemployed, friendless, and heavily antagonized by the public. Meanwhile, Veronica enjoys fame, although her male co-workers hate her. Ed tells Champ, Brick, and Brian that they are not allowed to talk to Ron or they will be fired. When a panda is about to give birth, all the news teams in San Diego head to the zoo to cover the story. In an attempt to sabotage her, the public news anchor pushes Veronica into a Kodiak bear enclosure. When Ed cannot find Veronica, he recruits Ron. Once at the zoo, Ron jumps in the bear pen to save Veronica, as the public watches helplessly. The news team then jumps in to save Ron. Just as a bear is about to attack, Baxter, who miraculously survived, appears and convinces the bear to spare them. As the group climbs out of the pit, Wes Mantooth appears and holds the ladder over the bear pit, threatening to drop Ron in, and tells him that deep down, he has always hated him, but suddenly pulls Ron to safety as he also respects him. Ron thanks Wes, who concludes his broadcast with "today, we spell redemption R-O-N".
After Ron and Veronica reconcile, it is shown that in years to come, Brian becomes the host of a Fox reality show named Intercourse Island, Brick is married with 11 children and is a top political adviser to George W. Bush, Champ is a commentator for the NFL before getting fired after being accused by Terry Bradshaw of sexual harassment, and Ron and Veronica are co-anchors for the CNN-esque World News Center.
- Will Ferrell as Ronald Joseph Aaron "Ron" Burgundy, a five-time (local) Emmy Award-winning journalist and the main anchorman for the KVWN Channel 4 News Team from 1964 to 1977. Always confident and well-dressed, he is ignorant, egotistical, misogynistic, and narcissistic, stating that he believes "diversity" to be some type of "old, old, wooden ship used in the Civil War era."
- Christina Applegate as Veronica Corningstone; from Asheville, North Carolina, she is ambitious to become a network anchor and wants to be taken seriously in the male-dominated newsroom. Amy Poehler (of Saturday Night Live fame) was originally cast as Veronica.
- Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana, the stylish and over-sexed field reporter for KVWN news. He is arrogant and narcissistic and overestimates his personal qualities.
- Steve Carell as Brick Tamland, the weatherman for the KVWN news team who has a habit of providing unrequested or irrelevant information. Tamland is good-hearted and loyal but not very bright, having an I.Q. of 48, making him intellectually disabled. Brick is an innocent led astray by the rest of the group. Co-star Paul Rudd (Brian Fantana) commented in rehearsals that the thought that Brick may be mentally challenged would "never faze them", and that the other members of the news team would never berate or become annoyed with Brick because of his stupidity, merely correcting him if he makes a mistake.
- David Koechner as Champion "Champ" Kind, the KVWN sportscaster who seems to have hidden feelings for Ron Burgundy (which implies that Champ may be a closeted homosexual). He is the most chauvinistic member of the news team. John C. Reilly was originally slated to play Champ but had to drop out due to work on The Aviator.
- Vince Vaughn as Wes Mantooth, the lead anchor of the competing KQHS Channel 9 Evening News Team and Burgundy's main rival.
- Fred Willard as Edward "Ed" Harken, the news director of KVWN.
- Chris Parnell as Garth Holladay, Ed's assistant at KVWN. Ron Burgundy is his hero. The news team frequently ignores him, even though his main job at the station appears to be keeping them out of trouble.
- Peanut as Baxter, Ron's beloved dog. Burgundy's relationship with Baxter is almost one of equality. Burgundy and Baxter are able to hold conversations, with Baxter apparently being able to speak Spanish as well as English.
- Danny Trejo as a bartender
- Jack Black as a motorcyclist
- Judd Apatow as a news station employee
- Paul F. Tompkins as a cat show competition host
- Jay Johnston as a member of the Eyewitness News Team
- Fred Armisen as Tino, the owner of the restaurant that Ron frequents.
- Adam McKay as a janitor
- Tim Robbins as the Public News anchor
- Jimmy Bennett as Tommy
- Luke Wilson as Frank Vitchard, a competing news anchor whose station, Channel 2, is third in the ratings.
- Ben Stiller as Arturo Mendez (Spanish Language News anchor)
- Seth Rogen as Scotty, a cameraman
- Kathryn Hahn as Helen
- Missi Pyle as a zoo keeper
The opening and closing scenes are narrated by veteran CBS Chicago (WBBM-TV) news anchor Bill Kurtis. Kurtis, who currently hosts A&E's American Justice and Cold Case Files, is the winner of 20 Emmys.
Even though Anchorman is set in San Diego, the real San Diego is only seen in brief aerial shots—modern shots which include numerous buildings in downtown San Diego which have not yet been built or opened during the 1970s. According to the official production notes and "making of" documentary (both included on the DVD), Anchorman was actually filmed in Los Angeles, Glendale, and Long Beach on sets which were made to look like San Diego during the 1970s.
The film initially centered around the reporters tracking down a clumsy yet elusive group of hippie bank robbers known as "The Alarm Clock". This version of the film was met with poor test results, and a significant portion of the film was re-written and re-shot to replace the Alarm Clock with the current panda story. The original Alarm Clock version was re-edited, along with alternate takes of existing scenes, into a separate direct-to-video film entitled Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie.
The film's musical score was composed by Alex Wurman. A soundtrack album compiling the songs used in the film was released on July 9, 2004. The "jazz flute" solo heard in the film is played by Katisse Buckingham, a Los Angeles based studio musician.
Anchorman was released on July 9, 2004 in 3,091 theaters and grossed US$28.4 million in its opening weekend. It went on to gross $85,288,303 in North America and $5,285,885 in the rest of the world for a worldwide total of $90,574,188, well above its $26 million budget.
The film received generally positive reviews from critics with a 66% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 63 metascore at Metacritic. Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars and wrote, "Most of the time... Anchorman works, and a lot of the time it's very funny". Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers also gave the film three out of four stars and wrote, "If you sense the presence of recycled jokes from Animal House onward, you'd be right. But you'd be wrong to discount the comic rapport Ferrell has with his cohorts, notably the priceless Fred Willard as the harried station manager". In his review for Entertainment Weekly, Owen Gleiberman gave the film a "C+" rating and wrote, "Yet for a comedy set during the formative era of happy-talk news, Anchorman doesn't do enough to tweak the on-camera phoniness of dum-dum local journalism". USA Today gave the film three out of four stars and Claudia Puig wrote, "That he can make his anchorman chauvinistic, deluded and ridiculous but still manage to give him some humanity is testimony to Ferrell's comic talents". In her review for the Los Angeles Times, Manohla Dargis wrote, "Tightly directed by newcomer Adam McKay, a former head writer on Saturday Night Live who cooked up the screenplay with Ferrell, Anchorman never reaches the sublime heights of that modern comedy classic There's Something About Mary. Big deal—it's a hoot nonetheless and the scaled-down aspirations seem smart". Ben Stiller earned a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actor for his performance in the film.
Empire magazine ranked Ron Burgundy #26 in their "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters" poll. Empire also ranked Anchorman at number 113 in their poll of the 500 Greatest Films Ever. Entertainment Weekly ranked Burgundy #40 in their "The 100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years" poll and Ferrell said, "He is my favorite character I've played, if I have to choose one ... Looking back, that makes it the most satisfying thing I've ever done".
In the unrated version of Anchorman, there are four minutes worth of additional scenes that were not shown in the theaters to secure the PG-13 rating instead of an R rating:
- A scene where Ron imagines that he and Veronica are married and shows them making out in front of their children, with her telling him that she has prepared dinner in the nude.
- A scene showing Ron, on the air talking about how he is proud of his mane of pubic hair.
- An alternate conversation after the party, where Champ talks about pooping out a live squirrel. Brick then tells Champ apologetically that he ate his chocolate squirrel. Originally, Champ said he woke up in a Japanese family's rec room and they wouldn't stop screaming, and Brick added that he ate a big red candle.
- An alternate take of the scene where Ron walks around the office with his massive erection.
- The extended version of Ron being dragged out of the station into an angry mob after saying "Go fuck yourself, San Diego," on the news. He says "fuck" many more times in the extended version.
- Ron goes to Tino's (the restaurant where Ron took Veronica out and played jazz flute) after the incident and Tino forces him to eat cat feces before he brings him a steak. Weeping, Ron eats some of the feces, but makes such a scene that he disturbs other restaurant patrons.
The film Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie consisted of cut subplots, alternate takes, and some material already appearing in the original version, to create an entirely new plot line. It was released straight to DVD in 2004.
In May 2008, McKay said that he and Ferrell have talked about wanting to do an Anchorman sequel. Steve Carell told MTV he would reprise his role as Brick Tamland if the opportunity arose. In an interview with ITV1's London Tonight in August 2008, Ferrell confirmed plans for a sequel but indicated it could take some time to happen.
On 23 March 2010, Ferrell said it was unlikely that a sequel would be made, telling Zoo Magazine that getting the cast together would be too hard. The following month, McKay said the studio had turned down a proposal for a sequel, even after McKay had told them Ferrell, Carell and Rudd would take pay cuts.
On 3 May 2011, Ferrell publicly stated that Paramount, which owns the rights to Anchorman, had decided against the idea of a sequel, stating "We've run the numbers and it's not a good fit."
On 28 March 2012, Ferrell appeared on Conan as Burgundy to announce a deal had been reached with Paramount to film a sequel to be directed by Adam McKay and produced by Judd Apatow. The first official teaser poster was later released, revealing a potential title of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. On May 21, 2012, a teaser trailer for the film was posted on Ferrell's website FunnyOrDie.com and an alternative trailer was attached to The Dictator. The film is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2013.
On 5 June 2013 the Newseum in Washington D.C., in collaboration with Paramount, opened an exhibition relating to the sequel, including props from the movies.
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- Empire Online
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