Exclusive: Legendary cameos of 'Anchorman 2'

05:00 AM, Dec 23, 2013

Will Smith (center) makes a cameo in 'Anchorman 2.' Gemma LaMana/


Written By by Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY

For the filmmakers behind the new Anchorman 2 the cameo appearances had to be like Ron Burgundy’s salon quality hair — even more abundant and powerful than the first time out.

This was especially important when it came to staging a 2.0 version of the famous rumble royale between rival news teams from 2004’s Anchorman.

We were under pressure, we had to have cool and unusual people stepping out onto the screen this time,” says writer-director Adam McKay. “The fight had to be bigger, better and different.”

McKay and Will Ferrell (who plays Burgundy) pulled out all the stops as shown in this exclusive look at actors making cameos during an international news team rumble. Spoiler alerts follow!

Jim Carrey

It was Canadian-born Carrey’s idea to be part of a Canadian News Team joining the fray.

As an added bonus they signed up French actress Marion Cotillard to portray a Quebec anchor. The duo were unfailingly polite, but deadly — especially when the hockey sticks came out.

Considering it was a muddy field in Atlanta, (Carrey) got some torque on those slapshots,” says McKay. “He’s a comedic force of nature and he’s played some hockey.” Carrey even gave Cotillard — who had never wielded a hockey stick — a crash course.

John C. Reilly

As soon as McKay and Ferrell came up with the idea of placing the History Channel News Team into the scrum, they thought Reilly was the perfect choice to play the ghost of legendary Civil War general Stonewall Jackson.

If you were actually shooting a biopic about Stonewall Jackson, he’d be on your list of people you’d consider,” says McKay.

Reilly had a ball portraying the spirit in front of a green screen (ghostly effects were added later). “He loved it, he was on this pulley platform with this great wardrobe,” says McKay. “It was just the oddness of it all. He was in heaven.”

Vince Vaughn

McKay knew that Vaughn, who played the main villain Wes Mantooth in the original Anchorman, had to reappear. They decided to show him as a leather-clad motorcyclist in the gang fight. “We put him in the end, and thank God we did. The crowds love it,” says McKay.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

The dynamic duo made a perky, yet deadly Entertainment News Team gang.

I don’t know if it’s because they hosted Weekend Update or because they host the Golden Globes, but they seemed perfect,” says McKay. “And they are bad-ass.”

So much so that Fey and Poehler continually picked on Sacha Baron Cohen (part of the BBC News Team). “They would gang up and beat up on Sacha, every single take,” says McKay. “He finally asked if there was one take where he could throw them.”

Liam Neeson

Grabbing Neeson to play the head of the History Channel’s News Team was just the kind of boost McKay wanted to see. “Once we got Liam and Will Smith, we knew we were in good shape. You can build everything around these two,” says McKay.

Neeson calls the filming “quite a surreal day with lots of giggles amidst all that comic talent.”

Will Smith

Smith had to be shot separately from the other news rumblers due to scheduling commitments. But he gave a character voice to his battling ESPN news reporter character.

And he was pretty vicious with the baseball bat,” says McKay. “We actually did a thing where he and Will faced off with a clashing of swords and some tough-guy talk. I am sure it will appear on the DVD.”