Way back in the 2004 film Anchorman, Ron Burgundy was a local TV-news host in '70s San Diego. Fast-forward to this year's sequel, and that epic haircut is national news: Set in 1980, Anchorman 2 follows Will Ferrell's vain, shallow character as he graduates to a CNN-style cable news network.
"We felt like we needed to jack up the stakes," director and co-writer Adam McKay tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "It was just perfect timing that, in '79, '80 — that's when you saw 24-hour news come about. You saw ESPN, MTV, the whole broadcast media [universe] completely changed. And anytime you say the word 'change,' that's a fun world to throw Ron Burgundy into. You know he's not going to handle change well."
Ferrell and McKay, who co-wrote both Anchorman films, started working together on Saturday Night Live. They've collaborated on the films Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, among others, and co-founded the website Funny or Die. They joined Fresh Air to talk about why the sequel took so long — and the meaning of that mustache.
On doing a sequel
McKay: For years we never even thought about doing a sequel, and people kept asking us. And rather than it getting quieter, it actually got louder. About five or six years after the first movie, Will and I actually said, "Hey, could we actually pull off a sequel?" And then from that point, it took another three years to get the budget together and do all that stuff. Yeah, this was really a movie that fans asked for.
Ferrell: What's so funny about the original movie was that it literally, it had a modest opening, it was a modest hit, but it just kept growing in popularity through DVDs and cable to the point where we just couldn't ignore the fans. And we thought, "Why should we? This would be fun."
On getting into character
Ferrell: Once I start growing the mustache, you put the wig on, you start wearing the clothes, I end up standing a certain way because Ron Burgundy is so rigid and moves like slightly robotic. I found myself holding my shoulders and neck a certain way because he's someone who — even though he's very confident, in a way, he's still wildly insecure and not comfortable in his own skin. So all of those things I kind of pull together, and then he's back and we go from there.
On the Ron Burgundy mustache
Ferrell: The mustache is real even though people think it looks fake. People think the hair looks real, but that's a wig. And they think the mustache is fake, but the mustache is real.
There is a lot of maintenance when it comes to facial hair. It gets in the way of eating. My children kept asking me when the movie was [going to be] over, "so you can shave your scratchy face." It's an encumbrance to a lot of things, so I have a lot of respect for those who lived in the 1800s when facial hair was mandatory. It's fun. It makes the character. It's such a vestige of television news from the '70s, and now you hardly see it, so it's a very distinctive thing.
McKay: That would be our best goal as a result of this movie, Terry, if we could start seeing mustaches return to news anchors. I want to see Brian Williams with no irony wearing a mustache.
On what motivated them to write Anchorman
McKay: We just love the ensemble comedy where you don't know where the jokes are coming from, and the idea of a dense movie that you want to watch over and over again. ... When we wrote the first Anchorman we talked about those old ensemble comedies like Stripes and Animal House and Caddyshack, and how no one was doing those anymore, so the idea of like four funny guys in the lead with Christina Applegate was fun for us.
Ferrell: I think when Adam and I met on Saturday Night Live and started working together, you're surrounded by writers who have all these rules, and I think when we decided we would write a feature one day, we were really rebelling against all these rules — the three-act structure and how you can't do this and this has to be set up in a certain way. The original Anchorman was kind of function of wanting to break through all of that. Why can't you have a scene break into an animated sequence?
On why Ron Burgundy plays jazz flute
Ferrell: It's just incongruous. It makes no sense in terms of — it's not a manly instrument, and he thinks it's so sexy and yet, in a weird way, the way we staged it in the first one, he kind of makes it look cool.
McKay: We were talking about [how] back in the '60s and '70s I feel like men had different hobbies. A lot of these anchormen are licensed pilots. And we were just talking about how back in the day ... they would have those Chinese pinball machines people would have in their house. Some people were into making bird houses. So it felt oddly appropriate, as strange as it was. It felt like, "This guy might actually play jazz flute."
Leaders of the United Methodist Church have defrocked a Pennsylvania minister who officiated at the wedding of his son to another man, NPR's John Burnett tells our Newscast Desk.
John reports that:
"Rev. Frank Schaefer had been suspended for 30 days by Methodist officials for marrying his son six years ago in Massachusetts, where gay marriage is legal. But the denomination's Book of Discipline is clear that same-sex marriage is 'incompatible with Christian teaching,' though gays are welcome to attend worship.
"Schaefer refused to give up his pulpit in central Pennsylvania as a show of his support for gay parishioners, and of his desire that Methodist doctrine be updated. And so Thursday morning, at a short meeting with Methodist officials at a retreat center outside of Philadelphia, the pastor was stripped of his ecclesiastical duties."
Though the wedding was in 2007, it wasn't until this year that Schaefer's congregation in Lebanon, Pa., learned of it, according to the Lebanon Daily News. Church member Jon Boger filed a complaint with Methodist officials. He said last month that Schaefer had "openly rebuked the United Methodist Church and its policies."
Boger's complaint led to Thursday's decision by the United Methodists' Board of Ordained Ministry.
For his part, Schaefer said this week that "I cannot uphold the Book of Discipline in its entirety. In fact, I don't believe anybody can."
Nightmares on Wax was one of the first acts to sign to the Warp Records label, and the man behind the moniker — Ibiza-based DJ and producer George Evelyn — has never stopped exploring new territories for musical inspiration. The latest album, Feelin' Good, is no exception, as Evelyn taps into a talented group of musicians who've contributed their individual styles to help create a fresh new sound.
Watch Nightmares on Wax perform "I Am You" here, and watch the entire session at KCRW.com.
In the U.S., Big Pizza is locked in a battle that's as much a testament to gluttony as it is to food science: How much cheese can you possibly stuff inside of wheat dough?
Earlier this year, Pizza Hut took it to the next level with the Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza: a regular pizza ringed with "pockets" oozing a five-cheese blend. (Our friends at Sandwich Monday sampled this addition to the pizza canon during its limited run.) By way of explanation of its existence, Pizza Hut's head chef told Yahoo, "Consumers always want more cheese."
But in Israel, apparently, they don't.
There, the cheese is being voted off the pizza, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported this week. It seems a passionate vegan lobby clamored so loudly for dairy-free pizza that Domino's had to acquiesce. The pizza chain's stores in Israel are now offering a family-size pizza with vegetables and a soy-based topping for about $20.
It all started with a Facebook campaign led by Vegan Friendly, a group that promotes the vegan lifestyle in Israel. Vegan Friendly claims to have a virtual community of 30,000 vegans in Israel, and has stamped hundreds of stores and restaurants with its vegan-friendly seal. The vegans wanted pizza, and they weren't going to stop until they got it.
"Israel is leading the vegan revolution around the world, and this is another indication," Omri Paz, the director of Vegan Friendly, told Haaretz's Dafna Arad. He said that with the new pizza on the menu, vegans could order from the chain "without pangs of conscience."
Domino's has 10,000 locations in more than 70 countries, including 50 branches in Israel.
We were curious whether the Israeli vegan pizza might inspire something similar on stateside menus. Not so much.
"We'll be paying attention to [the vegan pizza in Israel], but it's not something we're working on here in the U.S.," Domino's spokesman Tim McIntyre tells The Salt.
In the meantime, Domino's will continue selling Wisconsin 6 Cheese Pizza and the Stuffed Cheesy Bread to cater to the cheeseheads. (Americans consumed about 34 pounds of cheese per person in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which some argue is a bit too much.)
Still, vegans or people who may simply want a lighter pizza may have more pizza options in the near future. The Wall Street Journal reports that Chipotle is getting into the choose-your-own-topping pizza business, with a new concept in Denver called Pizzeria Locale it helped finance.