Interview: David Koechner on getting the team back together with ‘Anchorman 2′

David Koechner returns to the role of alpha male sports reporter "Champ" Kind in "Anchorman 2." Credit: Getty Images
David Koechner returns to the role of alpha male sports reporter “Champ” Kind in “Anchorman 2.”
Credit: Getty Images

The actor David Koechner has a long history with improvisation and comedy troupes. He was a regular at ImprovOlympic and The Second City in Chicago before spending a year on “Saturday Night Live,” where he worked with Will Ferrell. His background made him an ideal person to be among the head quartet on Ferrell’s “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” a modest hit in 2004 that has blossomed into a highly quoted cult sensation.

When the sequel inevitably came around, getting back into gear with Ferrell, Steve Carell and Paul Rudd wasn’t difficult. “This particular group, the rhythm never leaves,” Koechner say. “We’re so fortunate there’s a certain chemistry that’s just bountiful and works.”

Much more gracious and humble in person than his character, brash alpha male sports reporter “Champ” Kind, he defers to his bosses for hatching a creative environment. “The ensemble atmosphere is created by [director] Adam McKay and Will Ferrell. Their approach to the work is to be inviting and joyful. They pursue joy every moment of their lives.”

Like the first “Anchorman” — and the other McKay-Ferrell projects, like “Talladega Nights,” “Step Brothers” and “The Other Guys” — the sequel features a fair amount of improvisatory moments. It wasn’t a competition, though. “Everyone wants the scene to be as good as anything. If anybody has an idea, they offer it readily. No one’s trying to outdo anyone else.”

That said, it’s not like McKay and Ferrell write their script with gaps to be filled in by improv on the set. “If we didn’t change a syllable, it would still be amazing,” Koechner says of their scripts. “I remember when we were making the first ‘Anchorman.’ I was thinking, ‘How are we going to beat what’s already written? It’s brilliant.’” After shooting the scene as written three or four times, though, McKay would open it up to improv.

“Adam has a belief that more is better, and he’s right,” he says. “You want choices, especially now that you’re not shooting on film. Digital is disposable and cheap. You can just keep rolling. Give yourself different ideas, because when you’re in the editing bay, you want another laugh.”

The first “Anchorman” was also notable for having filmed so much that there came a separate, feature length film — called “Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie” — made from material that wasn’t used in the theatrical film. Koechner says that may happen again. “This one we have three hours or more of movie. McKay has said there’s about 230 additional jokes that are great that we haven’t even used.” Koechner and cast even lobbied for McKay to “Kill Bill” the movie, which is to say cut it in half and release it separately.

Koechner also praises McKay and Ferrell’s ability to plot out narratives that take strange turns, which is further swelled by the improv. Says Koechner, “That’s what comedy is: it’s unexpected.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…