For as insane as the concept sounds, it’s kind of surprising no one else has attempted what the “Super-Sized R-Rated Version” of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” did. The alternate cut of the Will Ferrell comedy replaced every single verbal joke with a different take, 763 in all.
The idea came to director Adam McKay and his editing team while they were assembling the sequel. “We were editing. We have this great ensemble, and we have all of these great improvises. Every scene, we were getting other ideas,” McKay told me. “We went in the edit room, and we realized that the quality of the alts was really high.”
But “Anchorman 2″ isn’t exactly McKay’s first movie with great improvisers. Pretty much every movie he’s made fits his description of what made an alternate cut of this movie possible, but there’s only one other that he thinks could have pulled off another version.
” ‘Step Brothers’ we maybe could have done it with,” he said. “That would be one I would be curious about. It had never occurred to us, but if we went back and looked at it…. I would be curious to look at the alternates takes on that. There might be another cut on that.”
Though McKay loved how the alternate cut turned out, he would never make a movie with the intention of later assembling a similar version.
“I would never aim for it,” he said. “I think everything has to be aimed for the theatrical, but if it’s a byproduct, for sure. I think it’s a really fun thing to do.”
From McKay’s point of view, a fan of any movie would be interested in seeing a cut of the movie made from alternate takes… even if he or she doesn’t want to watch it in one sitting.
“I try to imagine, as a fan, what would I think of that, and there’s no way that I wouldn’t at least watch chunks of it. I may not watch it all in one sitting, or I would get a bunch of friends to come over, and we’d get beers and watch the whole thing. I just don’t know how that wouldn’t be fun,” he said. “If I think of other movies that I love, like ‘Office Space’ or ‘Airplane’ or ‘Idiocracy,’ if someone there was a whole different cut of those movies with different jokes in it, I would be thrilled.”
“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” is available on Blu-ray and digital download now.