Yesterday came the joyous news that we would finally be getting a sequel to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. We know that Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, and Steve Carell will all be reprising their lovably buffoonish character, Adam McKay will return to the director’s chair, and filming is set to begin in February. If Anchorman 2 returns with only people from the original cast, I have no problem with that. But sequels usually bring new faces, so I’ve compiled a list of 12 actors who would fit well within the Anchorman universe. Keep in mind: I have no idea what the plot will be, or if there will be roles for these actors, and how radically McKay will change the look of the first movie. The Legend of Ron Burgundy has a goofy 70s vibe, but it’s possible they’ll reset the time and place (the first movie ends with Ron and Veronica leaving San Diego to become worldwide news anchors). Also, I’m not saying that all of these actors should be in the movie. I’m just saying I can see them fitting into an Anchorman sequel.
Hit the jump for my criteria on making the list and who made the cut.
Here’s the criteria for the list:
1) Based on the actor’s look and previous work, could you have seen them in the first movie? Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Adam Scott, and are all hilarious, but they come off as a bit too modern. The youngest cast member in Anchorman is Seth Rogen, and he only has a bit part as a cameraman.
2) The actor could not have been in the first movie or the alternate/spinoff cut, Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie. The reason being is that we already know they would work. Amy Poehler wasn’t in Legend of Ron Burgundy, but she’s in Wake Up, so that’s why she’s not on this list.
3) The actor must have previously worked with McKay and/or producer Judd Apatow, and Funny or Die doesn’t count. However, there are two actors on the list who are an exception to Rule #3.
Now, in no particular order…
John C. Reilly
It’s a wonder he’s not in the first movie, but after his chemistry with Ferrell in Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, he’s an obvious choice. Reilly is hilarious, and Walk Hard proves that he can fit into any decade. The only holdback is that if he plays a newsman in Anchorman 2, there will be the inevitable comparison his popular Tim & Eric character, Steve Brule. But that’s a minor issue, and if Reilly is cast in Anchorman 2, you won’t hear anyone complaining.
Lynch is familiar face to Apatow’s movies and she also laid down Granny Law in Talladega Nights. There’s seemingly no end to her versatility, but she’s got an Emmy for playing a character who’s ego has ballooned far beyond the likes of gods and men. The way Lynch plays cocksure confidence would make her fit right in with the likes of Ron Burgundy, Brian Fantana, and Champion Kind. Hell, she can probably play a character who’s even cockier than those guys. Just don’t go the predictable route and cast her as anyone’s mother.
Riggle could go two ways on a character. I assume he doesn’t simply want to carry his Daily Show newsman persona into a movie, so if he does play an newscaster, I imagine it will be a radical break like Steve Carell made for Brick Tamland. However, Riggle not only brings the insane over-confidence to his characters, but he can also provide a comic aggression that wasn’t present in the first movie. Also, for those who think he can only play alpha males, please watch him steal scenes as a literal man-child in the The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (a film produced by Ferrell and McKay).
Offerman would be a fun addition because he already looks like Ron Burgundy. But whereas Ron has the lighthearted, party-animal demeanor, there’s nothing smooth about the way Offerman has played his recent characters in Casa de mi Padre (produced by Ferrell and McKay), 21 Jump Street, and Parks and Recreation. Actors always want to branch out and try new things so they don’t get pigeonholed, but I do get a little giddy at the idea of Offerman playing Ron Burgundy’s brother and seeing how those characters would interact.
Bateman only made a brief appearance in the Apatow-produced Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but I’m willing to cheat on this one because Bateman is a chameleon when given offbeat parts. He’s best known for his dry-witted straight-man characters, but he’s been memorable in goofy minor roles like State of Play, Smokin’ Aces, and perhaps most relevant to Anchorman, a dim-bulb color commentator in Dodgeball. Bateman’s look is a tad on the modern side, but like Paul Rudd, there’s been enough diversity in Bateman’s resume to let him disappear behind funky hair and makeup.
Kristen Wiig & Tim Meadows
I’m grouping these two actors together because they share the same desirable qualities: 1) they’re both SNL alums, which means they’ve both had to play a wide variety of broad, farcical characters over the years; 2) they both worked on SNL when McKay was the show’s head writer and Ferrell was a cast-member; 3) they’ve both been Apatow-produced movies (Bridesmaids for Wiig, and Walk Hard for both of them). Some may be a bit hesitant on Meadows because of the The Ladies Man, but I’d like to remind those people about how great he is in Mean Girls and Walk Hard (“You don’t want no part of this shit!”).
Jenkins had to play the stern, stick-in-the-mud in Step Brothers, but his “I wanted to be a dinosaur” speech at the end absolutely killed. He’s a secret weapon in all his comedies. He even managed to wring a memorable performance out of the mostly forgettable Hall Pass. Anchorman doesn’t have an elder statesman character (the most “responsible” character is Fred Willard‘s Ed Harken), and it would be cool to see Jenkins play the silliest character with the most life experience (although it should be noted that while Fred Willard is older than Jenkins; Willard just looks younger).
Bana is known mostly for his serious roles even though he did get to deliver some laughs in Apatow’s Funny People. There would certainly be an element of playing against type, but here’s something a lot of people don’t know: Bana started out doing comedy. In his early career, he gained a reputation for impressions, and eventually wrote and starred in the short-lived 1996 Australian sketch comedy program The Eric Bana Show. It wasn’t until 2000’s Chopper that he moved into dramatic material. U.S. audiences have probably never met the pre-Chopper Bana, and I can see him fitting in to the Anchorman world, but also expanding it by throwing in someone with a chiseled jaw and rock-hard abs. And speaking of adding someone who’s handsome beyond all reason…
Perhaps Jon Hamm is even funnier because he’s so famous for playing the deadly serious Don Draper, but Hamm’s guest spots on 30 Rock, his times hosting SNL, and, of course, Bridesmaids have all shown he has an undeniable knack for playing goofy, ridiculous characters. If you take his Bridesmaids character, remove some of the overt dickishness, and throw him back into the 1970s, you would have a worthy member of the Channel 4 News Team.
And now the exceptions to the McKay/Apatow rule:
The majority of Cheadle’s career has been drama, and in the Ocean’s movies he’s overshadowed by the ensemble and the fake British accent, but there have been moments in his career where Cheadle has shown he can go big for comedy. In Ocean’s Thirteen, he takes on the guise of “Fender Rhodes” to distract Al Pacino, and then there’s his hilarious Funny or Die Captain Planet parody. I get the feeling that if you give Cheadle a chance to feature in an out-and-out comedy rather than simply providing sporadic moments of broad humor, the Oscar-nominated actor is going to impress.
If you replace the tragic with the comic in Sam Rockwell’s Chuck Barris performance in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, you have an Anchorman character. It’s all there: the bravado, the boorishness, the lewd behavior. Rockwell has also shown himself to be a master of all comic styles. You want sleezy? Look at Iron Man 2. You want cowardly? Look at Galaxy Quest. You want zany? Look at Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. And those are just to name a few. He can do it all, and he could certainly do anything Anchorman 2 could throw at him.
So who did I forget? Sound off in the comments about who you’d like to see in Anchorman 2 and why. And remember: this list is just based off past work. Sometimes the best performances are the ones that come out of nowhere from actors you never thought had it in them.