[Update: Sadly, it looks like Anchorman 2 is dead for now.]
In an interview with MTV, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy director Adam McKay claimed that not only were all of the stars of the 2004 comedy prepped to return for Anchorman 2 but that - should executives at Paramount finally decide on a production budget - the sequel could start filming as soon as February 2011.
Now, Anchorman 2 is a project that many moviegoers have been waiting for since the first Anchorman came out in 2004, grossed over $85 million in the U.S., and helped establish its primary cast - Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and David Koechner - as comedic forces to be reckoned with.
Six years later, and all five of these performers have become successful, leading role-type commodities in their own right - well, less so with Koechner but he's been highly successful in the "memorable comedic support" area.
Of course that also means that all five Anchorman stars have become that much more expensive to hire - a matter that was less of an issue back in 2004, when Ferrell was the only established star in the film and even he had but one or two hit leading roles (Elf, Old School) under his belt.
However, McKay stated that all five of the Anchorman stars were more than willing to return for a sequel - in fact, both Steve Carell and Paul Rudd have apparently agreed to take a significant pay cut in order to prevent the budget for Anchorman 2 from becoming too large.
Oddly enough, the main obstacle that's prevented an Anchorman sequel from getting underway has been Paramount itself. Despite the success of the original film and the increased popularity of its stars, executives at the studio have balked at the idea of taking on a more expensive project - especially one that isn't guaranteed to be a profitable venture, a la Iron Man 2 (to use an obvious example ;) ).
McKay, however, cited the Austin Powers franchise as a specific example where the first film was a decent hit in its initial release (grossing $54 million in the U.S.), but went on to increase significantly in popularity on home video, leading the sequel to be a bigger financial hit ($206 million) despite being a more costly film to produce.
So what then might we expect in terms of plot in Anchorman 2?
Well, in addition to shifting the setting to the 1980s, McKay promised the Anchorman 2 script would be, well, unusual if nothing else.
"We have this other, bigger, crazier idea that's really more what it's about, which I can't say. Our thinking was there's just no way the second one is going to be as good as the first, because the first one is the first one. So our idea is if we're going to do a second one, we better go for it and try some insane stuff and we'll be enjoying it and that way it can't be half bad."
So what do you think? Are you stoked for a sequel to Anchorman? Or did you get your fill of Ron Burgandy and Co. the first time around?
There's nothing official yet, but should Paramount decide on a budget for Anchorman 2 in the near future, production could begin February of next year with a likely release date of late 2011.
Update: We're a volcano of human emotion right now! Adam McKay has tweeted that Paramount has passed on Anchorman 2:
So bummed. Paramount basically passed on Anchorman 2. Even after we cut our budget down. We tried.
You'll find us at the bar, half-drowned in a bottle of scotch. Let's hope Paramount comes to its senses...and soon.
In the meantime, the latest collaboration between McKay and Ferrell - The Other Guys - will be out in theaters on August 6 of this year.