Ben Stiller's comedy Zoolander came out in 2001 and only grossed $60 million worldwide (on a $28 million budget, though, so it turned a profit), but has since then reached the levels of quotability/popularity as other 2000s laugh-fests like Anchorman - a movie that only got a sequel in late 2013. Similarly, Zoolander 2 has only begun to noticeably pick up speed over the past six months or so, following a script read-through and some casting updates.
Zoolander 2, as co-written by Stiller and Justin Thereoux (Tropic Thunder) with the latter also onboard as director, will pick up in real-time after the first installment, with the clueless Derek Zoolander (Stiller) and Hansel McDonald (Owen Wilson) both having left their days of being successful models far behind them. What happens from there remains to be seen but, assuming the sequel takes its cues from the first Zoolander, one presumes their lives will suddenly take a turn for the very weird again.
Stiller previously said Zoolander 2 will take place in Europe, and Italian site Bad Taste (hat tip to Coming Soon) is reporting that movie will indeed film on location around Rome and in the Cinecittà studios there, beginning this spring and taking place for some 12 weeks in total. Rome's mayor Ignazio Marino (who can be seen photographed with Stiller in the original report) has confirmed that this is indeed the plan, adding that Zoolander 2 will also include (according to the rough English translation) "a cast of American and Italian [actors]."
Rome, of course, is no stranger to Hollywood productions shooting there and that will remain the case this year. Director Timur Bekmambetov's Ben-Hur adaptation begin principal photography in the city (as well as other places in Italy) just a week ago, while the next James Bond movie Spectre - which opens in theaters in late 2015 - will be filming certain sequences there in the weeks ahead, before cameras start rolling on the Zoolander sequel.
Little in the way of concrete information has been revealed about the plot for Zoolander 2 thus far, though its Rome backdrop could lend itself to a comical Euro-caper adventure - or, failing that, a madcap plot that involves Derek, Hansel, and equally eccentric non-American characters. One of the big problems that most comedy sequels have is that they by and large recycle the story from their predecessor, but for now it seems Zoolander 2's plot could be quite different (if nothing else).
The other concern with Zoolander 2 is that it might not be able to recreate the creative spark that fueled the first installment's madness, as many felt to be true of last year's belated comedy sequel, in the Farrelly Brothers' Dumb and Dumber To. That being said, unlike the Farrellys, Stiller as a writer/director has continued to make interesting films in recent years (Tropic Thunder, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty) - so, we're at least curious to learn what he's got in mind for Zoolander 2.
Zoolander 2 beings filming this spring, possibly with the intention of making a 2016 release date. We'll bring you more information on that front when we have it.