Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues - Christina Applegate and Meagan Good interview
Interview by Rob Carnevale
CHRISTINA Applegate and Meagan Good talk about filming Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and why it was so much fun in terms of getting to hang out with their fellow cast members and playing characters who have something to say.
They also discuss sexism in Hollywood, while Good reveals a surprising source for her role and Applegate talks about the effect playing Veronica Corningstone has had on her career/
Q. Meagan, how was joining the Anchorman fold?
Meagan Good: It was awesome.
Q. Did they welcome you?
Meagan Good: No, they absolutely welcomed me. It’s been great.
Q. Did you watch Faye Dunaway in Network? Or was that just my imagination?
Meagan Good: I did actually. I did a lot of research and that’s one of the movies that I watched that I found very helpful.
Q. In what way?
Meagan Good: In terms of the character being so ambitious that she’ll stop at nothing to get where she needs to be. So, I wanted to have that but also to kind of embody a little bit of a moral compass as well.
Q. And what about you, Christina, how was returning to Veronica?
Christina Applegate: At the table read it felt incredibly comfortable. I felt like it was my second skin. But then when we finally got on-set I started to get really nervous that I had lost who she was because she had actually changed so much, so it wasn’t the same skin I was wearing. At this point, she’s 10 years older, she’s a mother, she’s highly successful, she’s achieved so much and that starts to change a person, especially being a mum. It changes your priorities and your drive. In the first one, Veronica’s whole motive is power and she needs power. In this one, I felt innately softer because she really wanted love, so it’s kind of changed up a little bit. And so it felt very awkward because I was so used to the three-piece power suit feeling of drive. She just felt softer. Everything about her felt softer, which I liked because it was a nice change.
Q. Was it at the read through that everyone got together? How was that for you Meagan?
Meagan Good: It was a little bit nerve-wracking at first because I was such a huge fan of the first one and you just want to do a good job and you want to make sure you do it justice. So, at first I was a little bit nervous but once I met everyone, especially Christina, I got so much more comfortable because of how supportive and nurturing she was. She wanted me to do well. And everyone had that quality about them – a true desire for you to do a good job.
Q. The two of you were representing the females. Was there a lot of testosterone?
Christina Applegate: Actually, they’re kind of the most fey kind of guys I’ve ever met in my entire life [laughs]. They’re soft. They’re not sports and burp and… they’re these incredible family men. Most of them are pretty soft spoken. They’re not zany. They save that really for on-camera, except when everyone gets together and everyone gets silly and ribs each other. But they’re such a welcoming group. You never feel you’re not part of it. I probably have more manly qualities than they do as far as my sense of humour and as far as my behaviour.
Q. How are you at keeping a straight face during takes?
Christina Applegate: It’s not easy. On the first one, I was proud of myself because for 90% of the time I did keep it together and stayed in the scene and remained professional. On this one, I don’t know what went wrong – I forgot about all of that and decided to be an audience member in the middle of my own scenes and I ruined a great deal of takes.
Q. Is there a lot of improv?
Christina Applegate: Oh my God, yeah! It’s probably 80% improv. We do it as written. There is a script. A lot of people wonder whether there’s even a script. But there’s a very structured script and very structured jokes and a lot of that is still in the movie. But we do one or two passes as written and then it’s a free-for-all. And that free-for-all can go on for an hour of improvisation in the same scene. So, they have different versions of this movie with completely different dialogue. I think it’s going to be on the DVD. They’re making a whole new movie – or rather, same movie and same plot but completely different dialogue.
Q. What was it like to film the dinner party scene?
Meagan Good: That was my second day of filming and it was funny because a lot of the people there, that were playing my family, hadn’t read the script, so a lot of the reactions were genuine, like “what is going on?” But it was a lot of fun. It was crazy but I thought the jokes were hilarious. But that’s what I love about Will [Ferrell] and Adam [McKay], they’re so clever and brilliant, if you will, with addressing stereotypes and addressing a lot of different things, even political things, and kind of making light of it but not making light of it – bringing it to the forefront and talking about it in a way that’s disarming.
Q. Was that part of what attracted you to the script, that there was more to it than meets the eye?
Christina Applegate: Well, yeah. I didn’t even see a script. I didn’t care. I was going to be in this movie. I was in the first one and after you have an experience like that you beg and plead… please, please if you do another one I have to be there. For the first one, at least, I loved the fact that what they were exploring was that those newsrooms were so misogynistic and these women really did have to fight for their life. It wasn’t a bunch of women wining that they’re not being treated with equality, they literally were treated as pieces of meat and were not taken seriously. Some of my favourite stuff [from the first film] came from when I say to him: “I wanted to be an anchor. I told you that.” And he says: “I thought you were joking!” But that was indicative of the disbelief at the time that these men had of women coming in to their bunker. I think that’s also how Will and Adam carve these ideas into it without it being offensive. They do that Meagan when Ron sees her for the first time. Ron just keeps going: “Black! Black!” Now, that coming out of any other person’s mouth in any other person’s movie, I think, would be like: “Hey, let’s tone that down!” But he was really showing that people feel this way and it’s ridiculous and we’re going to show you how ridiculous it is.
Q. Being women in Hollywood, has it got any easier?
Christina Applegate: I think it still exists. I think the gender thing exists. But no one says anything. It’s there. You can feel it. It is a boys’ club and as women we know that. They don’t realise it. But we feel it. Not with these guys. These guys are really all-inclusive with everyone. But in Hollywood it does feel a bit like a boys’ club.
Q. Is that evident in the scripts?
Christina Applegate: It’s in the scripts. It’s in the decision making and how we’re treated if we have an opinion about things. Not to get it too serious in here but people don’t want to hear that we’re displeased with something because we’re women and now we’re just complaining as opposed to trying to solve an issue in a script or an issue in a show.
Meagan Good: And that complaint is perceived as different. Even if it’s a strength with specific ideas and points, it comes off a certain way, whereas a man saying it, it will come off a completely different way.
Q. What comes into your head when you think about the ‘80s? Were you into the music that’s featured on the soundtrack?
Christina Applegate: Well, my ‘80s was very different. My ‘80s was very Cure, Smiths, shaved head kind of ‘80s. So, that’s where I was at. But I lived through it and remember what was happening during that time.
Q. The first one took off after a little while. What kind of fan reaction has that slow burn given you over the years?
Christina Applegate: What’s been great for me is that people always used to come up to me and talk about Kelly Bundy [from Married With Children] but over the last six years no one mentions that so much anymore; they mention Veronica Corningstone. And that’s from all ages, from teenagers to older people. And by having this 10-year gap, our fan-base has grown exponentially in that sense because it just all of a sudden became this thing and all these new people got to discover it… new generations of people. So, I think this was a great time to do it [the sequel].
Q. Do you have any friends who are in the news area?
Christina Applegate: I don’t have any friends [pauses and then laughs]. Do you know, none of my friends are in this industry.
Q. That must be quite nice…
Christina Applegate: It is. I’ve got friends who are bartenders and hair stylists…
Q. Would you ever go back to musical theatre, such as Sweet Charity on Broadway?
Christina Applegate: I would love to. I don’t know if my body could handle it again. It’s just a gruelling, gruelling, gruelling thing. But then again, that was one of the hardest parts for a female to play. It’s a hard one – two and a half hours without leaving the stage and then dancing on a broken foot. By the end of it, I was practically in a body cast. But I would love to. If I could ever touch my toes again, I would definitely go back to it. I love New York City.
Q. What did you have to do to win the role?
Meagan Good: It’s strange and I was in New York and I was doing a show called Deception and the other actress on it was in Talladega Nights, and I told her that I’d put myself on tape for the Anchorman sequel in the middle of filming, at like 2 or 3am because it was the last kind of deadline, and she did the best Will Ferrell impression I’ve ever heard. We did the tape and then a couple of days later I got the call to come down to Atlanta to chemistry read and I said: “I’ll start walking right now from New York City.” So, went down, did the read and a few days later I heard I got the part. I was just in the living room by myself and they called and I started crying because I was so excited. So, I didn’t do much improv in the audition but then I got to beat Will up and be really aggressive.
Q. Did you know you’d have to molest him?
Meagan Good: It was fun.