Adam McKay’s “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” is mostly celebrated for its ridiculousness, especially some of its more absurd moments like the news anchor street melee battle.
At one time though, the original storyline for the film was far darker and stranger. Instead of dealing with more general themes of 1970s sexism and the change over to cable news, the San Diego news team would instead be facing cannibalism and wild animals:
Will Ferrell explained to The Bill Simmons Podcast what was originally going to happen in the film:
“The first version of Anchorman is basically the movie ‘Alive’. The year is 1976, and we are flying to Philadelphia to celebrate the bicentennial, and all the newsmen from around the country are flying in from their affiliates to have some big convention. And Ron convinces the pilot that he knows how to fly the charter jet, and he immediately crash-lands it in the mountains.
And it’s just the story of them surviving and trying to get off the mountainside. They clipped a cargo plane, and the cargo plane crashed as well, close to them, and it was carrying only boxes of orangutans and Chinese throwing stars. So throughout the movie we’re being stalked by orangutans who are killing, one by one, the team off with throwing stars.
And Veronica Corningstone keeps saying things like, ‘Guys, I know if we just head down we’ll hit civilization.’ And we keep telling her, ‘Wrong.’ She doesn’t know what we’re talking about. So that was the first version of the movie.”
Ferrell admits the idea was “a little too kooky” but Ron, Brian and Brick’s dismissiveness of Veronica was kept in the final film. At present there’s still no word if a third “Anchorman” will get made, but the idea is one that could still be reused if they so wished.