What a Champ: A Q&A with David Koechner of Anchorman 2
The highly anticipated sequel to 2004’s Anchorman opened Wednesday at midnight after what was possibly the greatest (and most hilarious) marketing campaign in the history of film. David Koechner, who stars as Champ Kind, the sportscaster on Ron Burgundy’s (Will Ferrell) news team, attended a Tuesday night premiere at Washington D.C.’s Newseum and offered this advice to anyone worried that The Legend Continues will tarnish the beloved status of the original: “Don’t worry!”
Koechner, whose acting past draws heavily from improv teams like ImprovOlympic, Second City and Saturday Night Live, then quickly added: “You know, I should lower your expectations. I’m sorry. We did our best.”
The Credits spoke to Koechner after the event about the educational value of Ron Burgundy and his news team, working with Baxter the dog, and a potential alternate version of The Legend Continues.
Ten years from now, will we be talking about Anchorman 3?
Well, it has to be 18, doesn’t it? It was 9 years for the first one, and so my math would be: double 9, is 18.
Would you be up for it?
Of course. I’d be up for it tomorrow. I think everybody involved would be up for it. In fact, I know that.
Here we are in a museum. Can you talk to me about the educational value of the Anchorman movies?
Well, oddly enough, there is certainly an educational value because at the real core, the heart and center of Anchorman, it’s a satire of the white, American chauvinist. It is a satire of any number of entitled attitudes American have, especially the American male. So if you really look at the movie and you’re laughing at these dumb, old attitudes, it can inform anyone’s daily life. How’s that for high-falutin? But it really does exist if you look for it.
Is it pretty intense to bring a movie making fun of reporters to a media-heavy audience like this one in DC?
They’re already fans. I’ve said before, and many people have commented on it, initially when the first movie came out, the news media was reluctant to embrace it, and thought ‘how dare you?’ And then I think they, since then, have become the most intense fans of it.
Do you think there’s something about the occupation that makes it ripe for comedy?
Well, they’re supposed to be the fourth estate, right? And they’re supposed to be the ones digging for honesty and truth, and if they don’t, then they’re making fools of themselves and us at the same time.
Can you tell me about a favorite scene in Anchorman 2?
There’s nearly a dramatic scene when Ron has harsh words for Brick and we’re all there, and we don’t like it. That was one of my favorites to film, and then the lighthouse scene was nearly impossible to film because it was so ridiculously funny.
I’ve heard there could be an alternate version of this movie.
There is, and they’re making that cut, they’re assembling it. It will be a DVD you must have. There may even be a limited release of an alternative cut. Adam McKay’s said there’s an additional 300 jokes we didn’t even use. I know there are amazing scenes from the first movie that simply could not be included in this film for a variety of reasons. It’s an embarrassment of riches. Every day, we would shrug our shoulders, have a great time, go ‘I don’t know, can that fit?’
Ending on a very important question: What was it like to work with Baxter?
Did I have any scenes with Baxter?
Well, there was a scene where he’s biting you in an RV…
Oh, right! Then I would have to say it was unpleasant. Apparently Baxter does not like Champ. (laughs) I didn’t think about that. We both proved ourselves to be professionals. Well-behaved dog. They found that dog in a parking lot. That’s what I was told. It was a stray. So there’s hope for all of us. If a stray dog can make it into show business, imagine what humanity could accomplish.
Is it the same dog that was in “Anchorman”?
The first movie was shot in 2003. That dog, if it was 4 years old, would be 14, and most little dogs…
This story is heading somewhere sad.
I don’t know where it is; this is show business. There’s a Springsteen song (starts singing): Everything dies, baby/and that’s a fact. But what’s the next lyric? Everything that dies/someday comes back. So there you go: Baxter lives. It’s amazing how important it is to people that Baxter’s in the film and that it’s the same dog. So the answer is yes, it’s the same exact dog. How about that for truth in journalism?
Featured image: (Left to right) David Koechner is Champ Kind, Will Ferrell is Ron Burgundy and Paul Rudd is Brian Fantana in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Courtesy Paramount Pictures.