Will Ferrell interview
Will Ferrell made his name on The Saturday Night Live Show, but in 2002 left the show to continue his career. He has gone from strength to strength, with roles in Old School, Starsky and Hutch and then staring as the man-sized Santa's helper in Elf . He is the writer and the star of Anchorman.
LF: Where did the idea of Ron Burgundy come from?
WF: I was watching a documentary on news programmes in the 70s, and at the point that I was watching it, this gentlemen comes on talking about working with women for the first time in the 70s. He was very blunt about the fact that, although he had come a long way now, at the time, he wasn't very nice to her at all. He kept on saying "You have to remember, back then I was a real male chauvinist pig - I hated women." That statement just seemed so funny to me and it just went from there.
LF: Do you think that local newsreaders still take themselves too seriously?
WF: Yeah, people keep on approaching me wanting to know who Ron is based on. It doesn't matter what part of the US they are from, everyone seems to feel a familiarity towards Ron, and yeah, even today some newsreaders take themselves too seriously.
LF: Do you think that newsreaders are primarily actors?
WF: I don't know. I would venture a guess that they got into the business for the purest journalistic reasons, but it is a market of self-promotion and you start off small but hope to hit the big time. You got to look your best in order to succeed in the business.
LF: How did you come up with the look of Ron?
WF: He just kept on evolving, I knew he wanted a moustache and in terms of hair, well, we didn't think my hair was good enough. We wanted it to be this big pouf of hair, held in place by loads of hairspray, so in the end we had to settle with a wig to achieve that one.
LF: When you were writing the film, did you think about the social commentary you were making about news in the 70s and news today?
WF: The film is a comedy first, but as we pieced it together we started to realise that it's still the same now, it hasn't really changed that much. TV networks learnt early on about the possibilities of marketing and advertising as they realised that people were less reliant on papers and we're using the TV news as their only source of information. So it's interesting and scary really, which ever way you want to look at it, that this is a lot of peoples only source of information.
LF: Lets talk about your co-stars, and more importantly Ron's closest friend; his dog Baxter.
WF: Yes Baxter is Ron's best friend. He also gives the character of Ron a lot of mileage. You are able to see the difference in his personalities, from how brash he is at work, to how lonely he is at home and what a pathetic guy he really is. We were just very lucky to get such a great 'dog actor', he was really charismatic.
LF: Where did you get the idea for them to converse together?
WF: Its just one of the thing we thought would be so funny. You know it's kind of a spoof of the old Lassie movies, so we're kind of making fun of that. But what makes it funnier are the intricate conversations they have, and the way they talk in different languages!
LF: You've been very lucky with the amount of stars you got to cameo in the film (Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson) how did that come about?
WF: Well there's this kind of comedy community that's forming. We all think each other are funny and are all just willing to be in each others movies. You know we called in some favours and it just works really well. There are some surprises as to who you see and the type of characters that they get to play.
LF: Do you think people like Ron Burgundy still exist in this day and age?
WF: You know, I think some people would like to watch the movie and will wish that it was still that way, it seems to me that it is a very extinct attitude which is what makes it so amusing - those attitudes just seem so comical.