In one of the most star-studded premieres Sydney has hosted this year — the other would have to be The Great Gatsby — the Entertainment Quarter turned it on for the Australian premiere of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues yesterday afternoon. All the stars made the trip Down Under for the red carpet event — Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and David Koechner were met with screams as they arrived. Also on hand were Will’s frequent collaborator and the movie’s director, Adam McKay, Australian actor Josh Lawson, who has a prominent role in the sequel, Kristen Wiig, who plays Brick’s love interest and had stayed on after the premiere of her other movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, last week, and Kirsten Dunst, who was a surprise guest and attended with her boyfriend, Garrett Hedlund — she wasn’t officially part of the promo tour but has a cameo in the movie.
With the sequel to 2004’s popular Anchorman being released almost 10 years later, some of the cast were emotional when they returned to set. Steve, who told us that Brick’s biggest challenge in the movie is falling in love because “he’s not really emotionally equipped for that,” said it was “incredibly fun and slightly emotional” to see all the characters back together again for the first time. “You know, you see Ron, and you see Brian and you see Champ, and Veronica, it was a little overwhelming. You do a movie 10 years ago, you don’t think you’re going to see any of those characters again. And I’m a fan of all those characters as well, and then to be with them again, it was kind of moving, and very exciting. And joyful.”
The cast and crew of Anchorman 2 were stalked by paparazzi during production, which meant certain celebrity cameos — Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Kanye West among them — hard to keep secret. But director Adam is thankful that “we did get a couple through; there’s a couple of surprises for you.” He also divulged which celebrities were such big fans of the first movie that they begged for screen time in the second: “Drake really wanted to be in the sequel. We talked with him and he was big fan. There were a couple more but I don’t want to give anything away. And Angela Merkel, the Prime Minister of Germany, she really badgered us — called us all the time, like, ‘Please let me be in it.’ So you’ll see, she’s got a small cameo.”
The cult of Anchorman is so huge that the cast often deal with fans blurting out their favourite lines to them, sometimes even the whole movie, as Paul Rudd explained. “People come up and grab us sometimes and say things, and it’s terrifying. We get quotes a lot, Will more than anybody.” By the time Will got to us in the press line, and we’d been told over and over about how great it was to get everyone back together, he told us exactly how he felt about the reunion: “I’m not sure what they told you, but it was very tense the time. On pins and needles. Because except for everyone but me, they’re all jerks. I’m like the one nice guy.”
As with most premieres, the cast made their way around to the different cinemas to introduce the screening, but in the first stop they made, Will, Steve, Paul and David treated the crowd to an a cappella version of “Afternoon Delight,” which added even more excitement to the audience being among the first in the country to see the movie. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is out on Dec. 16.