Twelve years ago, lucky audiences around the world met the Channel 4 News Team, headed by their chief anchorman – Ron Burgundy. Ron, Brian, Brick, and Champ addressed the city of San Diego nightly, telling them the important news of the day.
The movie explores their relationship with the newest addition, female anchor Veronica, and the difficulties they face in overcoming their sexist tendencies, and various turf wars with other news stations.
Revisit this classy movie with the best trivia and stories we could find! Starting with…
…The inspiration for Anchorman! Will Ferrell got the idea for the movie after watching a documentary about one of the first female news anchors, Jessica Savitch. Her co-anchor, Mort Crim, admitted to being quite sexist, even saying, “You have to remember, back then I was a real male chauvinist pig. I was not nice to her.” Crim seems to have changed his ways, even coming to the movie premiere! Savitch passed away in 1983.
Who said this was his favorite role of all time?
Who was dying to play Brick?
James Spader really wanted to play Brick! Brick, the mentally challenged weather reporter, ended up being played by Steve Carell. Spader apparently was obsessed with the character, and really wanted to play the role.
He spoke to the directors about it, even saying ” “I will do anything to get this role.” However, he was turned down – because he was too good for the role!
Speaking of Brick, his role almost got cut, because studio executives thought he just sounded too insane on paper. Fortunately, he was kept in. Phew!
How much of the movie was unscripted?
The actors were all so skilled at comedy that most of their lines were totally improvised! They would often do about 20 takes of different lines that just popped into their heads, riffing on the already-ridiculous plot and script they were given.
Which actors sadly got cut from the movie?
There was an amazing storyline that got completely cut out of the movie, featuring Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph. It told the story of a group of bank robbers called “The Alarm Clock”.
Amy Poehler reportedly had a feeling that her role (as a bank teller) would get cut, as the movie was already running long. Fortunately, you can see the cut bits
Want to see The Alarm Clock in action?
All the cut footage was put together into one full-length movie called Wake Up Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie. This one has the Channel 4 News Team investigating the extremist bank-robbing organization The Alarm Clock.
It was received with generally horrible reviews, but has a few delightful scenes that make it worthwhile. Click through to the end for a great clip from the movie that shouldn’t be missed!
You’ll never guess the original plot of the movie!
The movie went through a LOT of re-writes. Director Adam McKay described the first draft as a movie that follows a bunch of news anchors who crash an airplane in the mountains, only to discover that the plane which they collided was carrying monkeys and martial arts equipment, leading to a battle between cannibalistic newsmen and star-throwing monkeys.
We’re kind of curious what that would have looked like, but are pretty glad they rewrote the movie to the one we know and love today.
Why did Champ say what he did in the newscaster fight?
When Champ proclaims, “I will take your mother, Dorothy Mantooth, out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again!” at the beginning of the epic newscaster brawl, that line is taken from a comic book, ‘Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future’, where Dare’s nemesis, the Mekon, makes an identical threat against Dorothy Dare.
What was noteworthy about the restaurant Veronica and the girls from the station visit?
In one scene, Veronica and the ladies from the station head out for a dinner at a Mexican restaurant where they plot Ron’s downfall. However, it seems like the restaurant wasn’t the best choice – it’s named “Escupimos en su Alimento”, which literally means “We Spit In Your Food.”
Who does Ron Burgundy take musical inspiration from?
Looks like Ron Burgundy is a Jethro Tull fan! The London rockers had a distinctive look and sound, and often incorporated jazz flute into their songs. In the scene where Ron takes Veronica out, he whips a flute out and plays a riff from “Aqualung”, one of their most famous songs, and even yells “Hey Aqualung!”
He finishes his performance by turning to the side and lifting up his leg, imitating the band’s logo.
Who was originally supposed to act in the movie?
It took a while to find the perfect cast! The original lineup was meant to be:
- Champ Kind: John C. Reilly
- Brick Tamland: Chris Parnell
- Brian Fantana: Ben Stiller
- Ed Harken: Ed Harris
- Garth Holiday: Dan Aykroyd
- Frank Vitchard: Alec Baldwin
Maggie Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams also auditioned for the role of Veronica, but Adams looked too young, and the directors didn’t feel that Gyllenhaal was the right fit.
Which prop made it onto the big screen before its time?
In the opening roll, Ron Burgundy is getting ready for the evening news by drinking whiskey, exercising his vocal chords, and having plenty of people get him ready by fixing his hair, makeup, and outfit.
Someone is using a lint roller on Ron’s jacket, however, the lint roller wasn’t invented until the ’80s, while the movie is set firmly in the ’70s! So much for accuracy!
We almost got Anchorman: The Musical!
No one knows if this was really a serious option at all, but at one point, Anchorman director Aaron McKay reported working on Anchorman: The Musical. It was meant to have a four month run on Broadway.
Which other inaccuracies can you find in the movie?
In another instance of historical inaccuracy, several aerial shots of San Diego feature the Hyatt Towers and the Petco ballpark – both of which were built long after the ’70s.
Veronica and Baxter speak Spanish?
Baxter the dog apparently speaks and understands Spanish! In one of the earlier scenes, Ron responds to his barks by saying, “You know I don’t speak Spanish.”
Later, when Ron takes Veronica to “pleasure town”, she speaks in Spanish and Baxter barks, almost in response!
What makes this movie almost realistic?
Funnily enough, Will Ferrell studied journalism in college! He even appeared as an anchor on several local news programs before breaking into the world of comedy. Perhaps that was why his Ron Burgundy was so memorable.
How long did it take for the studio to come around to the idea of the movie?
Director Adam McKay pitched the idea for the movie twenty times to Dreamwork’s executives before they got the green light. Perhaps they only saw the first draft, when our intrepid anchors were still fighting cannibals and monkeys.
It took them seeing the success of Elf and Old School for the studio to realize what a gem the Ferrell-McKay team was.
We bet you didn’t know that Anchorman is a trilogy!
Speaking of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, they created the hilarious “Mediocre American Man Trilogy”, and Anchorman was the first installment. It was followed by Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), and we are anxiously waiting on part 3! On those projects, McKay directs, Ferrell acts, and they both write.
Who was credited as writing on Channel 4’s news team?
Relatively unknown (at the time!) actors Jon Hamm and Adam Scott made appearances during the newscast credits on the in-studio monitor. They were credited as writers.
Both men went on to become well-known actors. At the time, Paul Rudd and Jon Hamm were roommates, and he and Scott had been friends since the early ’90s.
Where did the name for the movie gather inspiration from?
Did you ever notice the similarities between Ron Burgundy’s name and Ron Jeremy’s name? It’s not an accident! The movie title was inspired by the documentary that explored the wild history of America’s most famous porn star, Ron Jeremy, entitled Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy.
We see the similarities – both men were around and famous in the 70’s, both had glorious mustaches, and both appeared in front of the camera with frequency. We’ll leave out any other parallels for you to fill in the blanks!
We have the funniest scene from the lost movie, next!
Check out this clip from the bank robbery scene that got cut!
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