Special Program: An Evening With "Anchorman" Star Will Ferrell

December 03, 2013
Location: Walter and Leonore Annenberg Theater

Guests: Will Ferrell and Ann Hornaday

Will Ferrell Stays Classy at the Newseum

By Sharon Shahid and Christyn Enser

WASHINGTON — Actor Will Ferrell played himself Tuesday night during a lively, invitation-only program in the Newseum's Annenberg Theater to celebrate the opening of "Anchorman: The Exihibit," on display at the Newseum through August 2014.

Washington Post movie critic Ann Hornaday moderated the freewheeling discussion where Ferrell talked about his start in comedy, his popular Ron Burgundy character from the hit 2004 movie "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy," and the irony of making movie sequels, which Ferrell described in hilarious detail to the packed audience.

"The nature of entertainment media follows this pattern: 'When are you ever going to make a sequel?' Guess what? We made a sequel. 'Are you worried about upholding the legacy of the first movie? Sequels don't always work. They don't ever work, in fact.'"

"Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues" opens Dec. 18.

Many members of the audience wore burgundy, the signature color of the fictional character. Also in attendance were Al Primo, former news director at WABC-TV in New York, who is credited with creating the Eyewitness News format; and Melba Tolliver, a former WABC-TV reporter. Primo and Tolliver are featured in a Newseum-produced video that accompanies the exhibit.

Ferrell, who starred on "Saturday Night Live" from 1995 to 2002, said he originally wanted to be a sportscaster. The comedy bug hit him when he did radio plays in high school and realized "this doesn't feel like work."

Ferrell said the success of "Anchorman" and the popularity of Burgundy was something he and co-writer and director Adam McKay "never would have predicted."

"I think audiences like watching this guy who thinks he's an expert on everything. He's just very accessible. And coupled with the fact that the movie found second and third legs upon repeat viewings, I think that gives the audience real ownership, that they're discovering new things along the way," he said.

The buildup to "Anchorman 2" has found Ferrell promoting the movie in a variety of venues. He recently anchored a real, live news broadcast at KXMB-TV in Bismarck, N.D., which the actor said was one of the original ideas he had with the marketing department at Paramount Pictures. Since that broadcast, Ferrell said he's gotten offers from newsrooms in San Diego and San Antonio.

"Anchorman: The Exhibit" was also Ferrell's idea. In 2012, during the Washington premiere of "The Campaign" which was held at the Newseum, Ferrell thought there was a potential tie-in to "Anchorman 2" and a museum of news. Paramount agreed and provided more than 60 props and costumes from the original movie to the resulting exhibit.

On Dec. 17, the Newseum will host a screening of "Anchorman 2" with co-star David Koechner. At that time, a case of artifacts from the movie will be unveiled.

Ferrell joked that he knew his work would someday be enshrined in a museum.

"I remember the day we wrapped "Anchorman," and Adam and I turned to each other and said, 'One day, this will be in a museum. This will be considered a teaching tool.' We gathered the crew and we said, 'Mark our words.' So, it's pleasantly surreal to walk through that exhibit and see all the stuff we created."

Related Links:
Anchorman: The Exhibit
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
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