‘It’sre­al­ly­hardto satirisethe­fash­ion world.It’shardto fig­ure­outhow­to­top what’sgoin­go­nin re­al­ity.Every­thingisso out­of­con­trol’

Esquire (Singapore) - - A Thousand Words On Our Culture -

trousers—and now he’s try­ing to make sure that the Don Atari show is both re­al­is­tic and com­pletely ridicu­lous. It’s not easy. “It’s hard to fig­ure out how to top what’s go­ing on in re­al­ity,” he con­tin­ues. “Ev­ery­thing is so out of con­trol.”

This is just one of the chal­lenges that Stiller faces with Zoolander 2. Com­edy se­quels are no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to pull off: do you re­peat the for­mula and the jokes, but risk look­ing a pale im­i­ta­tion? Or strike out into new ter­ri­tory and po­ten­tially alien­ate your core au­di­ence? The decade-and-a-half that has elapsed since the orig­i­nal seems only to have in­ten­si­fied the pres­sure on Stiller to strike the right bal­ance. Mean­while, the fash­ion world has changed and the movie in­dus­try—DVD sales col­laps­ing and above-the-ti­tle stars fac­ing ob­so­les­cence—is pretty well un­recog­nis­able. Is there a dan­ger in 2016 that Zoolander 2 could be so last sea­son?

Stiller has a ten­dency to over­think ev­ery­thing as much as Derek un­der­thinks it and is well aware of the chal­lenge he faces. Zoolander 2 needs to be funny. “Well, hope­fully peo­ple will laugh,” he says. “There’s this won­der­ful thing you get with a com­edy. It doesn’t mat­ter what you’re think­ing, what ideas you have about what it’s go­ing to be visu­ally, or tonally what it’s like. If they are not laugh­ing, I don’t care how beau­ti­fully de­signed the shot is. They want to laugh, that’s what they care about. If peo­ple say, ‘I’m go­ing to go see a com­edy…’ I ap­pre­ci­ate that. But it’s a high bar.”

For a silly film, it’s a se­ri­ous busi­ness. And with that, Stiller re­turns to di­rect­ing du­ties, mak­ing sure an in­dus­trial-sized vat of Don Atari stewed prunes is in place so that it can be dis­gorged over Derek and Hansel at the end of the run­way—the ul­ti­mate in­dig­nity.

Zoolander— the orig­i­nal; the one with the gassta­tion fight; the one with the walk-off presided over by David Bowie where Hansel re­moves his un­der­pants with­out tak­ing off his trousers; the one where Derek is chided by Hansel to “Dere-lick my balls, cap­i­tan”; the one where Will Fer­rell’s deranged Mu­gatu splut­ters, “I feel like I’m tak­ing crazy pills!”— was pretty much an un­mit­i­gated disas­ter. You might have liked it, per­haps you have even watched it more times than you can re­mem­ber, but in film-in­dus­try cir­cles, it is a cau­tion­ary tale.

It was re­leased in Septem­ber 2001, a cou­ple of weeks af­ter the 9/11 at­tacks on the World Trade Cen­ter, at a time when a mass au­di­ence wasn’t ready to be en­gaged by a male model’s cri­sis over whether there’s more to life than be­ing re­ally, re­ally, ridicu­lously good-look­ing. Zoolander failed spec­tac­u­larly to chime with the na­tional mood in Amer­ica and ABOVE: Zoolander 2 Clock­wise from bot­tom left: Stiller chats be­tween scenes with Milla Jovovich as Katinka ; Derek ac­com­pa­nies a cat­suit-clad Pene­lope Cruz, play­ing Me­lanie Valentina (“In­ter­pol, global fash­ion divi­sion”); a teaser poster; Zoolander and Hansel (Owen Wil­son) steal the show at Paris Fash­ion Week

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