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Times are changing for Burgundy

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: December 26, 2013

FUNNY GUY: Will Ferrell.  Victoria Will/AP/PA Photos.

FUNNY GUY: Will Ferrell. Victoria Will/AP/PA Photos.

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WHEN Christina Applegate was asked to describe her Anchorman co-stars, she said: "They are the most fay-like men I've ever come across."

What does the film's co-creator and star, Will Ferrell, make of that?

"Fay?" he asks, widening those close-set eyes and pretending to be incredulous. Perhaps she meant that he, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner aren't what one might call a testosterone club?

"Yes, we're almost foppish. We wore silk undergarments. Every week was powdered wig Monday. We were perfumed," says the funny man, who is sporting jeans, a green T-shirt and a retro blue tracksuit top when we meet.

"Today's more casual wear. Yesterday I was wearing a beautiful suit – you would've been awestruck," he says.

Ferrell, 46, might've made a name for himself playing the misguided and moustachioed news anchor Ron Burgundy in the first Anchorman film (The Legend Of Ron Burgundy), a grown man who thinks he's one of Santa's little helpers in Elf, and one of two aimless middle-aged blokes forced to become room-mates when their parents marry in Step Brothers – but don't let the on-screen buffoonery fool you.

Ferrell has razor sharp wit, which saw him quickly rise through the ranks from stand-up comedy workshops to esteemed LA improv group The Groundlings, where he was plucked for Saturday Night Live.

The original Anchorman wasn't a major hit when it was released in 2004, but since, Ferrell says, "it's kind of grown into cult status".

The idea came about after the actor saw a state news anchor paired with a woman for the first time. Soon he and his Saturday Night Live colleague Adam McKay got talking.

"I said, 'What about basing a story in the Seventies news world, about the first time a woman comes into that world and how these men are just petulant, and she's smarter and more capable?'" recalls Californian-born Ferrell.

The men agreed it had potential and roped in producer Judd Apatow, with McKay becoming director, creating one of the most successful creative partnerships in Hollywood.

By 2010, Ferrell and McKay began considering a follow-up. Eventually, they found themselves talking about the introduction of cable television and the media explosion that began to happen in 1980. Rolling 24-hour news also made its appearance, as well as the first "trash" news stories, prompting a moral conundrum – chase ratings or cover "real" news?

"We kept talking about it and realised that's what Ron should deal with," explains Ferrell. "There's a lot of conflict with the 24-hour news cycle. It's hard to fill that time, so the goal was to make a movie that made you laugh really hard – but also stop you in your tracks and make you think."

They set about writing. "We think the same things are funny, and that's half the battle."

"We're all very excited and thrilled and we feel very good about the movie. We think it's funny, poignant, satirical, all those good things."

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