On the Friday episode of Bill Simmons's podcast, Will Ferrell finally disclosed his favorite of his own films, and it didn't feel like a surprise: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Ferrell also told Simmons about the film's original plot, however, and apparently the first version of Anchorman was completely bonkers.
Ferrell said one of the reasons he loves the movie is it was enormously difficult to get to the big screen and was—according to him—rejected ten times in one day.
“The first version of Anchorman is basically the movie Alive," he told Simmons. It took place in 1976, according to Ferrell, and Ron Burgundy and his fellow anchors—Brick Tamland (Steve Carell), Champ Kind (David Koechner), and Brian Fontana (Paul Rudd)— were "flying to Philadelphia to celebrate the Bicentennial, and also, all the newsmen from around the country are flying in from their affiliates to have some big convention.”
So far, so good, right? Ha. Ferrell continued: "Ron convinces the pilot that he knows how to fly the charter jet, and he immediately crash-lands it in the mountains. And it’s just the story of them surviving and trying to get off the mountainside. They clipped a cargo plane, and the cargo plane crashed as well, close to them, and it was carrying only boxes of orangutans and Chinese throwing stars."
Ferrell said that no less than Boogie Nights director Paul Thomas Anderson had told Ferrell to write "whatever you wanted to write" and he'd "shepherd it for you and kind of find out how to make it."
Anderson read about the orangutans and throwing stars, apparently, and he was like, "nope."
It's obviously fate that Ferrell and co-writer Adam McKay had to go on and re-write Anchorman in order to sell it, as it's become an epic comedy classic.
We'd still kind of like to see the throwing star-hurling orangutans in action, though.