Ron’s long- awaited re­turn

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - MOVIES -

WILL Fer­rell is ac­cus­tomed to dis­ap­point­ing peo­ple. No one ex­pects a plumber to re­place the tap wash­ers if he comes over for drinks. But when a co­me­dian sits down at the din­ner ta­ble, peo­ple pretty much take it as a given he’s go­ing to make them laugh.

“I’ve made peace with my­self that I am con­tin­u­ally let­ting peo­ple down in face- to­face meet­ings,” says the 45- year- old fa­ther of three, in Syd­ney for the Aus­tralian pre­miere of

An­chor­man 2: The Le­gend Con­tin­ues.

“I know I will have en­coun­ters where we’ll say hello and we’ll take a pic­ture, and they are walk­ing away go­ing, ‘ Not that funny in per­son’. “I know that’s the truth.” It’s lucky for Fer­rell, then, that he never saw hu­mour as a means of mak­ing friends or infl uenc­ing peo­ple.

“The needy ac­cep­tance thing never drove my com­edy,” he says. “I was just fas­ci­nated by it. Even as a kid, I loved watch­ing the science or the arith­metic of a re­ally gifted co­me­dian.

“I wouldn’t laugh at some­thing, I would just say, oh, that’s funny. That’s funny.”

Like Ben Stiller, who was in Syd­ney the same week for the pre­miere of The Se­cret Life of

Wal­ter Mitty, and his An­chor­man 2 co- star Steve Carell, re­turn­ing as one- of- a- kind weath­er­man Brick Tam­land, Fer­rell is quite happy to take a back seat to his larger- than- life com­edy cre­ations.

Cre­ations such as Ron Bur­gundy, a man who ex­ists at the very epi­cen­tre of his own lurid uni­verse.

“It’s very fun to play, be­cause I am far from overly confi dent, per­son­ally,” Fer­rell says of his best- loved char­ac­ter, a man so sen­sa­tion­ally self- ab­sorbed he walks out on his wife ( Christina Ap­ple­gate) at the start of An­chor­man 2 be­cause she gets the job he as­sumed was ear­marked for him.

“I wouldn’t say I lack confi dence, ei­ther, but I mean, I would never have pre­dicted any of this would hap­pen to me.”

Fer­rell isn’t the only one to have been sur­prised by his re­mark­ably fl uid trans­for­ma­tion from job­bing co­me­dian to A- list Hol­ly­wood star.

DreamWorks cer­tainly didn’t ex­pect much from the orig­i­nal An­chor­man when it re­leased the fi lm in 2004.

“When you think back to the fi rst one, it was barely re­leased in­ter­na­tion­ally. They just didn’t think it would play,” Fer­rell says.

The writer- ac­tor- pro­ducer re­gards this in­ter­na­tional tour, which kicked off in Aus­tralia on Novem­ber 24 with a red- car­pet pre­miere at­tended by Fer­rell, Carell, Paul Rudd, David Koech­ner and di­rec­tor Adam McKay, as some­thing of a vindi­ca­tion.

“It’s a bit of a vic­tory lap for the fi rst one, which we never got to take be­cause it was such a slow build,” he says.

The orig­i­nal An­chor­man took ex­actly half of Elf’s $ 173 mil­lion at the box offi ce. Its to­tal earn­ings were $ 60 mil­lion less than Tal­ladega

Nights, Fer­rell’s se­cond high­est- gross­ing com­edy.

But over time, the leg­endary Ron Bur­gundy has cer­tainly lived up to his ti­tle, as the starstud­ded line- up in An­chor­man 2 at­tests.

Har­ri­son Ford, Liam Nee­son, Jim Car­rey, Tina Fey and Kirsten Dunst are some of the ac­tors who fea­ture in a very long list of cred­its.

Fer­rell says Aus­tralian fans played a ma­jor part in the news­reader’s re­turn to the big screen.

“Ev­ery time I came down here, I would get two ques­tions about the cur­rent movie I was pro­mot­ing and then the next eight ques­tions would be about

An­chor­man, and are you go­ing to do a se­quel?” he re­calls.

“I would go back to [ di­rec­tor] Adam [ McKay] and say it’s crazy the fol­low­ing An­chor­man has in Aus­tralia. It kind of chipped away at our ini­tial con­tempt for se­quels.”

Ac­cord­ing to Fer­rell, the jour­nal­is­tic satire of the fi rst fi lm was al­most ac­ci­den­tal.

“Ev­ery­one im­me­di­ately thought it was a send- up of news, but we saw it more as a bat­tle of the sexes. We thought of a news­room and what it was like the fi rst time a woman en­tered it. It was more about pe­tu­lant be­hav­iour. The com­men­tary on lo­cal news was some­what of a byprod­uct.”

Given An­chor­man 2 is yet to even hit the cin­e­mas, Fer­rell de­scribes talk of an­other se­quel as some­what pre­ma­ture.

“On the birth of our third boy, the nurse is like, are you go­ing to try for a girl now?

“I am think­ing, can’t we just check this guy fi rst?”

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