IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: David Koechner Talks ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ Blu-ray/DVD, Extended Version, and the End of the Franchise

Tuesday, 01 April 2014 13:28 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: David Koechner Talks ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ Blu-ray/DVD, Extended Version, and the End of the Franchise

David Koechner is one of the funniest men on the planet! 

Koechner first gained attention as one half of the comedy duo The Naked Trucker and T-Bones Show, but it was his role as Champ Kind in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy that made him a comedy star. Since then he as appeared in such films as Talladega Nights, Thank You for Smoking, Semi-Pro, Extract, and The Comebacks, as well as playing Todd Packer on NBC’s The Office. But now, he returns once again as Champ Kind in the new sequel Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, which will be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning April 1st. 

In Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, with the ‘70s behind him, San Diego's top rated newsman, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), returns to take New York's first 24-hour news channel by storm. In addition to Ferrell, the returning cast includes Steve Carell (The Way Way Back), Paul Rudd (This Is 40), Christina Applegate (Hall Pass), Fred Willard (WALL-E), Chris Parnell (21 Jump Street), and Vince Vaughn (Delivery Man), as well as new cast members Meagan Good (Brick), James Marsden (X-Men), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids), and Greg Kinnear (Movie 43), and cameo appearances by Harrison Ford (Paranoia), Will Smith (Men in Black 3), Jim Carrey (Kick-Ass 2), Sacha Baron Cohen (The Dictator), Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia), Tina Fey (Muppets Most Wanted), Amy Poehler (Free Birds), Liam Neeson (The Grey), John C. Reilly (Wreck-It Ralph), and recording artists Drake and Kanye West. The film was once again directed by Adam McKay (The Other Guys), and written by McKay and Ferrell. The Blu-ray has over four hours of special features, as well as the recently rereleased in theaters super-sized R-rated version that includes 763 new jokes.

I recently had the absolute pleasure of speaking with David Koechner about Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Blu-ray/DVD, the new extended version, and the apparent end of the Anchorman franchise. The hilarious actor discussed the new film, returning for a sequel, why it was so hard to get made, reuniting with the cast, why he likes playing Champ Kind, Champ’s secret love for Ron Burgundy, McKay and Ferrell’s script, the new super-size R-rated version, the film’s cameos, why there won’t be an Anchorman 3, and if he would entertain the idea of a Champ Kind spinoff film. 

Here is what David Koechner had to say about Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Blu-ray/DVD, extended version, and the end of the Anchorman franchise:

IAR: To begin with, I know that director Adam McKay and the rest of the cast have been trying to make a sequel to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy for a long time. Why do you think it was so difficult to get made and how excited were you when Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues finally came together?

David Koechner: Oh I was ecstatic. It was one of my favorite things I've ever done. So to get to work with all the guys again was just a dream come true.

It seems like a no brainer to get you, Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, and Steve Carell back together again in these classic characters that everyone loves, so what do you think was the problem? Why was the studio so reluctant to make a sequel to Anchorman?

Koechner: Well there are a lot of things that go into it. The first film wasn't necessarily a hit. It had only made $85 million in the box office so that doesn't necessarily scream sequel. It wasn't until years later that it became so popular on DVD and on cable that people really found the movie and then starting watching it again, again and again. That's when we started thinking about a sequel, plus Adam and Will aren't necessarily big fans of sequels. They like to keep doing a lot of the original material. So they didn't give much thought to revisiting it until they started seeing people about six years later on Halloween still playing characters from the movie it was like wait a minute, something's going on here. Then all four of us would be out promoting whatever project we were working on over the last nine years and inevitably every single time a reporter would ask at the end of whatever we’re promoting, “When is the sequel to Anchorman 2?” So we'd always confirm with each other and after a while it became quite obvious that there's a thirst for another picture. Then you talk to the studio, and kind of go back and forth, because it's all about the economics of something like this that's a big project. When it seemed feasible for all the parties they pulled the trigger.

Once you were finally on set in costume, playing this character, and working with Ferrell, Rudd, and Carell again, how did it feel? Was the chemistry between the four of you just as natural as it was the first time?

Koechner: Yeah it really was. It's pretty much hand in glove. The first time we got together in costumes was when we shot that teaser trailer about a month after Will made the announcement on Conan in 2012. That was really delightful.

What do you think it is about Champ Kind that audiences love, and what is it about the character that you love playing?

Koechner: I love that he's such a mess and he says such rude, and awful things that I could never get away with saying in real life. That's a lot of fun. I think people deep down like Champ because they know he's in such pain, but he doesn't recognize it, and everybody in the world experiences pain that they'd rather cover up. This guy wears it on his sleeve like a badge of honor.

The sequel also explores Champ’s underlying attraction to Ron, what is your opinion of that?

Koechner: Oh yeah, people find that fascinating. They want that thing to be finalized. Certainly that's part of the fun for people that know Ron doesn't quite seem to realize how deeply in love Champ is with him. I'm not sure Champ understands it either.

When we first find Champ in the sequel, he owns a Kentucky Fried Chicken-type of restaurant that sells fried bats instead of chicken. How did you guys come up with that idea?

Koechner: Right, “Chicken of the cave.” That's just another brilliant stroke from Adam and Will. Champ has substituted chickens for bats because he's too cheap to grill chickens so he has some guy out in the San Gabriel Valley in an airplane hanger providing him with bats. It's crazy.

How much of what I saw in the movie was improvised and how much was scripted by Adam McKay and Will Ferrell?

Koechner: It was an amazing and dynamic script. Adam and Will are two of the funniest guys I've ever met in my life. The script is always just really hard to beat, but it's hard to say how much is scripted and how much is improvised. There's always a piece of the script in everything we're doing. What Adam did on this particular film was he would have a microphone behind the monitor where the director's chair is and he'd have a public address system by the set so after we had each scene covered he would say, “Let's let the cat out of the bag,” and then he would throw out suggestions over the microphone and we’d start improvising. A lot of times what that does is it's an exercise to kind of really get into the performances because everyone is hyper listening and really engaged, which to my account is why people find it such a delightful filming because everyone's really dialed in. But to answer you question, I guess that's 2%.

There is a scene at the end of the film that has an incredible amount of cameos from people like Harrison Ford, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Liam Neeson, Jim Carrey, Kanye West, and Will Smith. Can you talk about shooting that epic cameo sequence?

Koechner: Will Smith was such an amazing delight and Liam Neeson too. I mean some of them are comedy players that you kind of expect would lend a hand to their friends, but when you get some huge stars like that it's just a lot of fun.

The Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Blu-ray offers a “super-size R-rated version,” which was also recently rereleased in theaters, that includes 763 new jokes. Can you talk about what scenes are included in this new version that were not in the original theatrical cut?

Koechner: Yeah, one of my favorite things is a huge musical number that was cut from the first film just because it didn't quite fit and they had to figure out what to do. We lobbied Will and Adam to rerelease it in two parts because we didn't want to lose all the beautiful stuff that we knew wasn't going to make the film. But that's the advantage of Paramount wanting to go ahead and rerelease a second version of the film. There's a lot of fun and so much stuff on the Blu-ray. There's like four hours of extra material plus a whole second feature, which is rare for anything like this to exist. We had such an immense amount of material that I'm glad that they found a way to get it out there. My favorite thing was a huge musical number that was cut from the film. The news team having lived all their lives in San Diego thinks that's where the world is and they get to New York at the Global News Network and realize it's a great big world out there. We start singing about it and the entire newsroom breaks out in a song. We can't wrap our heads around that so we started another song inside that musical. Then we get out of that and go back to the musical. I just felt it was epic. It was one of my favorite things we did.

Finally, Adam McKay recently stated that there is NOT going to be an Anchorman 3. Do you think he’ll stick to that or is there still a possibility that you will all end up making another sequel?

Koechner: I don't know. That's what Adam said so that's pretty much it! If he's not part of it, then there isn't one. I think he didn't say no to doing Anchorman 3. He just said that that's it for Ron Burgundy. That's it for Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy. Isn't that what he said? Which I think leaves the door open for someone else to step in and play Ron Burgundy, someone much better than Will.

You don't really mean that do you?

Koechner: No, of course not!

Would you like to do a Champ Kind spinoff?

Koechner: No. It is what it is. We've had a blast and those guys aren't huge fans of sequels in the first place. They like to generate original material. I completely respect that.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues will be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning April 1st. 

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