Chalk this idea up to "too brilliant to ever work": Will Ferrell and Adam McKay almost created a Broadway musical sequel to Anchorman.
In 2008, three years after the release of the original film, the Ron Burgandy co-creators started to kick around sequel ideas. Amazingly, Paramount wasn't too jazzed to greenlight a follow-up to a film that "only" grossed $28 million its opening weekend. So, as McKay told Entertainment Weekly today, the idea of a musical arose—it would have been more dumb fun, and it would have provided a lower-stakes way to test out a new story about the Channel 4 news team. If it hit on Broadway, they'd immediately film the movie (without the need to write or rehearse new material).
The studio seemed open to the notion, and all the other castmembers were onboard.
“I thought it was a great idea because you could go even further into the craziness of it all,” says Paul Rudd, who plays ladies’-man field reporter Brian Fantana. “We were ready to go,” says David Koechner, who plays blustery sportscaster Champ Kind. “We were going to rehearse in the spring and run all summer, and that fall we were going to shoot the new movie. I was very excited.”
McKay and Ferrell got deep into brainstorming ideas. “We had our story arc, we were kicking around song ideas, we may have even contacted a Broadway producer at one point informally,” McKay says. “We even had a discussion about what we’d do at the end of the six months: Would we have a replacement cast? Would people come see it if it was, for instance, Alec Baldwin doing Ron Burgundy instead of Will?”
What killed the idea? In 2009, McKay and Ferrell went out to dinner Josh Gad—the former star of The Book of Mormon, the most obvious comparison to Anchorman: Broadway. He essentially squashed the dream.
"We had dinner with Josh Gad once, and I was asking him about The Book of Mormon,” Ferrell says. “I said, ‘I’m just curious: How long did it take for you guys to put that together?’ And he was like, ‘Well, we workshopped it for four years … ‘ We had no real idea how much work it takes to mount a musical.”
It'd be two more years before Paramount finally greenlit a tradional non-musical sequel. You'll FINALLY be able to see it on Dec. 20.
[H/T: Entertainment Weekly]