Judd Apatow Reveals Anchorman’s Original Plot, And It’s Wild

Ron and Veronica in Anchorman

Will Ferrell has had a long career in comedy, starring in countless movies throughout the years that highlight his talent and passion. But a few of these movies stand out as fan favorites, including Step Brothers and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. The latter movie came out in 2004, and has remained apart of pop culture with its quotable lines and iconic performances. Director Judd Apatow served the sole producer for Anchorman, and recently shared the wild original idea for the movie.

When Anchorman arrived in theaters, there was no way the movie's cast and crew would have predicted what a massive success the comedy would be. Judd Apatow helped make Adam McKay's movie into a reality as a producer, starting with the movie's wild original pitch. Apatow recently opened up about that initial concept for Anchorman, saying:

Will Ferrell and Adam Mckay wrote the script Anchorman and they showed it to me. The first drafts were really hilarious and crazy. It was about the anchor team flying to an anchorman convention. The plane crashes and they wind up on the side of a mountain where they are all trying to survive and it almost becomes like the movie Alive but with anchormen. We were trying to get it made for years and slowly they started changing the story, because nobody would make this crazy version of it.

Well, that's one way of introducing Ron Burgundy to the world. Rather than being a cartoonish take on the news industry's history, it looks like Anchorman's original plot revolved around the Channel 4 News Team being stranded on a deserted island. Those circumstances definitely would have brought out some hilarious scenes from the movie's starring cast, although Judd Apatow seems happy that the vision eventually pivoted to the Anchorman we know and love.

Judd Apatow's comments come from his recent conversation with Vanity Fair about his long career in TV and film. Eventually the conversation turned to Anchorman, with Apatow revealing the movie's wild initial pitch. In the end Apatow and company pulled back the reigns, and instead told a more contained story that was full of over the top comedic beats.

Make no mistake, Anchorman wasn't actually going for any realism. There's an over the top anchorman melee fight in the streets, a jazz flute that shoots fire, a musical number about daytime sex, and Ron is somehow able to communicate with his dog Baxter. But these crazy leaps are effective because they're so out of this world, and often highlight the ridiculous ideas that America clung to in the 1970's.

Putting Ron Burgundy and his buddies on a deserted island does sound like a great idea for a sequel, given how well audiences know the characters at this point. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues didn't go that route with its plot, but who knows? Maybe an Anchorman threequel could end up happening down the line.

Judd Apatow's new movie The King of Staten Island is available on demand now. Be sure to check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.