Physical Address

304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124

Completely New Ending Introduced

Completely New Ending Introduced

Will Ferrell has revealed intriguing details about the original ending of “Anchorman,” which never saw the light of day.

Speaking on co-star Christina Applegate’s “Messy” podcast, co-hosted by Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Ferrell commemorated the 20th anniversary of the iconic film.

“It was such a hard movie to get made in the first place, and when it finally came around that Dreamworks wanted to make it, it felt like we were playing with the house’s money,” said Ferrell. “So we thought, ‘They’re letting us make this crazy movie. Let’s just do all the comedy things we’ve always wanted to try that other people said, ‘No, you can’t do that in a comedy.’ We were just breaking the rules and having so much fun.”

However, the fun hit a snag with the original third act. Ferrell realized that the Patty Hearst-inspired storyline didn’t resonate well during test screenings.

“So here’s an interesting thing about ‘Anchorman,’” Ferrell began. “We put the movie together and did our first test screening. It’s scored from zero to 100. We thought it played great but got a 50. Not good. There can be panic, or you can figure it out. Luckily, the studio decided to figure it out and gave us a budget for reshoots. Judd [Apatow] was a steady hand in that regard. We ended up shooting an entirely new ending in just five days.”

Reflecting on the original ending, Ferrell said, “[In] the original movie, Christina’s character was abducted by a vigilante group. They were a comedic version of Patty Hearst, making a political statement. She’s taken to the conservatory, and we have to rescue her. The audience didn’t like that storyline at all. We lost them. When the news team interacted, we would get them back. So we had to reshoot the ending.”

Interestingly, outtakes from the original storyline were included in the “Wake Up, Ron Burgundy” spinoff film, which served as an unrated version of the initial script.

Ferrell had earlier shared with the Ringer in 2017 that the filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson helped steer the early ideas for “Anchorman” away from being overly quirky.

“The first version of ‘Anchorman’ is basically the movie ‘Alive,’ where it’s 1976, and we are flying to Philadelphia. All the newsmen from around the country are heading to a big convention,” Ferrell explained. “[My character] Ron convinces the pilot that he knows how to fly the jet, and he immediately crash-lands it in the mountains. The story is about them surviving and trying to get off the mountainside. They clipped a cargo plane that crashed nearby, carrying only boxes of orangutans and Chinese throwing stars. Throughout the movie, we’re being stalked by orangutans killing us one by one with throwing stars. Veronica Corningstone keeps saying, ‘Guys, I know if we just head down we’ll hit civilization.’ And we keep telling her she’s wrong. That was the first version of the movie.”

Source: Particle News, The Ringer