“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” with Steve Carell and Paul Rudd

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

You get the sense that Steve Carell and Paul Rudd are having the time of their lives.

And who could blame them? Both are in the pinnacles of their careers. Carell made a successful transition from star of The Office to Hollywood staple. Paul Rudd is one of the most recognizable comedians in the business, though that hasn’t stopped in from seeking more serious roles such as teacher Bill Anderson in Perks of Being a Wallflower.

So it’s no great surprise that having a good time was the main reason Carell and Rudd returned to their ubiquitous roles as Brick Tamland and Brian Fantana in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, the sequel to the hugely successful 2004 film Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

“We all just wanted to do it for the sake of doing it, and I think we all would have done it in a vacuum,” Carell said. “Even if there was no film and any camera, we would have come back and done it, because it’s so much fun.”

Rudd agreed: “For me, mainly it was like working with these guys again who I love. And, you know, it was such a blast doing the first one that I would jump at the chance to come back and beat a dead horse.”

Apparently the fun is infectious, because the new Anchorman film has its share of celebrity cameos. Kanye West, Drake, and Sacha Baron Cohen are among the rumored. Everybody wants in on the “silliness,” as Rudd calls it.

What this Anchorman film has that its predecessor didn’t is the weight of expectations. Rudd says that the first film “felt like an indie movie… like a very small kind of dorky comedy that we thought was funny and that did not seem particularly commercial.” Part of what made the first Anchorman so brilliant was how surreal and unexpected its humor was. So where does this Anchorman go, now that the one-liners are so engrained in pop culture?

If the trailers are any indication (though Rudd and Carell assure that much has been left out of them), it’s going big. Stunts, big set pieces, and a bigger cast. But even though nearly a decade has passed since Will Ferrell and company donned their colorful suits, surprisingly little has changed for the actors.

“I am as a human being no smarter than I was 10 years ago, so that I haven’t improved as a human being,” Carell joked. “I haven’t evolved in any way. So, that really helped me with Brick.”

We’ll see how well director Adam McKay (whom Carell calls a “fertile mind”) handles an audience hungry for more jokes about cologne, lamps, and wheels of cheese but still wanting something new and unexpected.

Some assorted quotes:

Paul Rudd, on advice to college guys: “Drop the cologne. No one likes it. Use… your own natural musk which will bring the ladies in by busloads.”

Steve Carell, same question: “I would say you have to listen. You have to open your heart and open your ear and you have to listen and appreciate the person that you’re with.”

Rudd, on his feature film debut Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers: “It was on last night. I got into bed, and my wife said, ‘Look what’s on.’ And we started watching it, and I said, ‘Turn it off. Turn it off.’

Carell, on what song his character would sing in a Broadway adaptation of Anchorman: “A song called Gravy.”

Rudd, same question: “565,600 minutes.”

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