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Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay have made some of the biggest comedy hits of the last decade, but their working relationship transcends the silver screen. After meeting on Saturday Night Live, the duo achieved an instant connection that would spawn movies such as Talladega Nights, The Other Guys and Step Brothers.

Their biggest hit together was Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, a movie that made modest returns on its initial release but gained a monstrous afterlife through word of mouth and DVD sales. The long anticipated sequel is Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and it brings back all of the pieces of the original that made it successful in the first place.

Director Adam McKay recently came to San Francisco to promote the film and talk about making a new story with familiar characters. He’s happy to have waited to make the sequel and not rush anything, making the film stronger as a result. The following is a transcription of that conversation.

Q: How did you and Will Ferrell approach making the sequel?

The reason we didn’t do it for so long was that we were just like, “Why do a sequel?” They usually feel kind of perfunctory, or like a cash-grab. But then people kept asking us, “What about ANCHORMAN 2?” It suddenly became intriguing. We looked at what makes sequels work and what doesn’t. The ones that work continue the story and the ones that don’t just repeat it. The key at that point was, “Is there another chapter to this?”

We spent an afternoon kicking around ideas when we realized, “Oh my god — 24-hour news started in 1980…″ and that’s not that far from when the first one took place. That’s even bigger than “the first female [news] anchor.” Once we had that, we knew we had a movie. That is a different story to tell and it does put them through different paces.

Q: Your brand of humor is so tangential and wild, exploring corners of comedy that very few other films have the balls to approach. With this movie, was it difficult to one-up yourself and go to places that were even more absurd and hyperbolic?

I think, fortunately or unfortunately, that we could do that all day long. If you gave us 300 days to shoot, we could give you 300 days of tangential comedy. That’s never a problem. If you give us the straightest script in the world… if you gave us TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, we could fill it with comedy. Our background is improv. Ferrell [came out of the] Groundlings and I come out of Second City. The key is [having] a good story with enough emotional beats you can hit, and that engine is working and holding it up enough. We just want [a story] that holds it up enough. Once we knew we had that story of them coming to New York and all this change, we could do the comedy forever.

Q: It’s also because of the cast.

Yeah. The fact that you have four go-to point of views for comedy, you can always, in any scene, throw it over to Rudd, throw it over to Carell, Ferrell can become the straight man, or he becomes the guy doing the messed up thing and Rudd’s the straight man. It’s never-ending with that sized cast.

Q: You said you were kicking around several ideas for ANCHORMAN 2 before you decided on one. Could you share any of the ideas you discarded with us?

Keep in mind–the other ones were bad ideas! One was an “Irwin Allen” idea. I think it was still about 24-hour news, but the guy who owned 24-hour news built an underwater hotel, and the news story was that the glass they were using was faulty and Burgundy covered up the story because he didn’t want to lose his job. The end of the [film] was this crazy, 1970′s, Irwin Allen, underwater thing with the glass cracking, water flooding the room, those bad TOWERING INFERNO shots. We actually wrote and ending with that, but we could see it getting a bit boring.

Another one was as dumb as this–they go to space, somehow. Ferrell was like, “I don’t know what this is, but somehow we’re in space.” You could justify it! You go to the space shuttle; you could have it be that this is the first reporter to go up. I was wary of those action-y third-act endings, where it’s like, you’re in a comedy, so you’re doing action, but not quite as well. It can get a little boring. Ultimately, we stuck with the characters and made it about [Ron], his wife, his son, the news, and staying in that pocket.

Q: You still have an explosive climax in the movie, though.

We do. You’re talking about the gang fight?

Q: Yes.

We kind of knew that somehow it’s crazy, since in the first movie, [the fight] is operating within the logic of that movie. Somehow, as crazy as it is, it became somewhat of a conservative ending. We weren’t going to do it at first. We said, let’s not repeat anything from the first movie. We were going to be really strict about it, but we said, “We’ve got to do another gang fight!” It would be too much fun, and now that we know how to make movies a bit better, we could do stuff we didn’t do the first time.

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Q: How easy or difficult was it to secure some of the cameos for the climactic fight?

It was pretty crazy. We drew up a wish list of all the people we wanted, and what we ended up with was basically our wish list. It’s never happened before. Usually, when you do your dream casting, you get 30%, 40%, only one of the people. In this case, they all said yes and it was insane. When they all said yes, I thought, “Should we try crazier ones?” So we actually tried Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton was an immediate, decisive “no.” Oprah’s person was like, “You never know!” There was an hour where we thought, “She might do this!” But then [her reps said] no.

The Barack Obama one was crazy. We had a semi-connection in the White House, and the connection was like, “He might do this! If he gets to say something with a point of view…” The joke was going to be that he was from C-SPAN. He was going to say that C-SPAN was going to change the news, because it was going to be stripped-down, and you’d see the truth. “Someday, everyone’s going to be watching C-SPAN.” Of course, I’m sure someone underneath him was like, “Are you f—king crazy? He’s the President!”

Q: How did you and Will Ferrell develop your particular brand of humor?

It’s always been what I’ve liked, going back to the Fawlty Towers episode when the German comes in with a head injury. I remember laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. Or in AIRPLANE, there’s a spinning headline that says, “Boy Trapped in Refrigerator, Eats Own Foot.” A lot of comedy writers have pointed to that joke as a seminal joke. It’s those moments when all order goes away and chaos [takes over]. To me, as a kid, there was nothing more exciting than watching a movie and realizing, “Oh my god, anything can happen!”

The first time Will and I ever collaborated was our first year on SNL, a sketch called “Wake Up and Smile,” which was about what happens when the teleprompter breaks [during a newscast]. It basically becomes LORD OF THE FLIES since they’re not being told what to say. They all revert to their animal selves. It ends with Ferrell ripping the head off of David Allen Grier, with lots of blood, and they form a cult like “The Order of the Hand.” They just regress immediately. The first sketch he and I ever wrote was called “Neil Diamond: Storytellers.” That was another one where we just got f—king insane. The joke was [that Neil Diamond was telling all the stories behind his songs, and he] has all these harmless pop songs, but the stories are just horrible. “When I killed a drifter to get a hard-on.” They just get more and more out of control, and we realized, “We both like this!”

Q: You have all this footage of these funny guys saying and doing funny things – so much footage that you have enough for a second edit – which you’re going to release. How much fun is it in that editing room and is the second edit done?

It’s done. I just went in and gave all the last notes on it. It’s crazy. It’s 350 new jokes. I think there’s, like, seven jokes we couldn’t replace that were spoken jokes. Otherwise, every single joke [has been] replaced. It’s about 10-15 minutes longer… whole new runs and riffs. I can’t imagine doing a comedy any other way. When we’re in that editing room, the worst feeling is when you’re painted into a corner by a crappy joke. “Shit! We have nowhere else to go!” With every movie I do, I hate that feeling more and more, so I just make sure to have alternate takes no matter what we’re doing. It’s the greatest. I’ll go to the editor and say, “There’s got to be a better joke than that.”

A lot of times I’ll remember [something we did on the day] and he’ll go and dig it out. One of the other editors will cut four versions of the scene, I’ll go “That one!” and we’ll test screen it. The sheer volume of improv on this one, because there are so many actors, we were doing two screenings at the same time most of the time. We’d run another cut in a different theater and I’d get to see every joke. You record the laugh track and you go, “Holy shit, that worked!” We were finding new jokes up until we locked. We screened the alternate version before we had locked picture on the regular release and I found four new jokes in the alternate version that went into the regular movie. By the way, I could still be doing it now. It never ends. It’s a blast.

Q: Were there any discarded plot lines?

No, amazingly. There are a lot of plotlines, too. I was joking with [Judd] Apatow that it’s like we’re 11-years-old and into minotaurs and tridents, that’s what [this movie’s] like. There are five storylines [running] through [the sequel]. There’s the love story with Meagan Good, there’s the broken marriage, there’s the relationship with the son, Tamland has a love affair going, there’s the news and the synergy thing…there’s a lot. I thought for sure one or two of them would be cut, but they all seemed to play.

In this case, it was just the alt jokes, the sheer tonnage of improv. It’s very funny when you tell the studio, in the first [movie’s] case, “We have a second movie.” They can’t comprehend it. I told them, and they were like, “Haha! Must feel like that, right?” I told them that we had a second movie and that we’d already cut it and it just didn’t compute. Later, when the movie kind of hit, they were like, “What did you mean about that second movie?” They didn’t even do anything with it the first time. It was the same thing in this case. I kept telling them we had a second movie with all new jokes. This time, they believed us a little more and they’ve already scheduled it to be released.

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Q: What made you decide to give Brick a love interest? Why him?

I think the answer is almost in the question. Just say, “Brick has a love story.” Will and I sit down and just spray out possibilities. We write this 25-page document of what we’d want to see in the movie that makes no sense with the story at all, these dream moments. I don’t remember which one of us said, “Brick’s got to fall in love.” It wasn’t calculated at all. It just came out of what we wanted to see in the movie. I think it’s a little bit inspired by the first movie’s ending where it says he’s married with 11 kids.

Q: Are there any jokes that you went with even though they maybe didn’t quite work with test audiences?

That’s an interesting question. That’s the fun of it–there’s artistry to that. You’re not a slave to those test audiences. We put jokes in even though they don’t work just because we think they’re funny. But you need the audience to go on the ride with you. You can’t just isolate them. It’s this give and take you’re constantly playing with. There’s the line between Brick [and his romantic interest] Chani (Kristen Wiig) where she says, “I’m trained and certified…” (and then Brick finishes the sentence) “…to fire a military-grade missile launcher.” It never got a peep out of the audiences, but at one point I was like, too f—king bad, it’s going in the movie. Sometimes, there’ll be a joke that I don’t necessarily love, but then it kills, and you’re like, “What? Why is it killing?” If they love it that much, it’s like, all right, they can have that one. That process is just so much fun. You’re taking the audience on a ride, but messing with them a little bit.

They do test scores [with the test audiences] where they combine the “Excellents” and the “Very Goods” and you get a number out of it. You hear about movies that get a “98″ or “100.″ We don’t want that. For this one, I said the highest we should ever get is a “90″–I still want 10% of that crowd not liking the movie. That was the highest we got. There still should be some people walking out going, “That got too weird for me,” you know?

Q: It’s been going around that Paramount had cold feet about giving ANCHORMAN 2 the green light. What was their concern, and what changed their minds?

It was purely about the fact that since the first one, all these guys have become incredibly successful. They all have high quotes, and rightfully so. On paper, if you’re going to do the movie and pay everyone what they should be paid, it was going to be a certain budget level. We told them that, and they went, “Are you f–king crazy!?” We said all right, we won’t do it, and made THE OTHER GUYS [instead]. People kept asking us and asking us about it, and we went, “Shit, man. We should do this anyway.” We went back to the studio and said we’d [take] a pay cut and we still couldn’t get it right. Then at the last second, they were able to find the right budget level, but it still involved everyone taking 60% pay cuts. But, you know what? We can’t complain. We still get paid ridiculous amounts of money for the jobs we do. Ultimately, it’s so much fun.

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is now playing in theatres nationwide.

Moviegoers may be getting the Spidey we’ve all been hoping for! A new report reveals that Sony’s animated Spider-Man movie, set to hit theaters in 2018, will focus on the Miles Morales Spidey.

Update (January 18, 2017): Sony Animation confirmed on Wednesday, January 18 that their animated Spider-Man movie will star Miles Morales!

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Moviegoers may be getting the Spidey we’ve all been hoping for! A new report reveals that Sony’s animated Spider-Man movie, set to hit theaters in 2018, will focus on the Miles Morales Spidey.

Update (January 18, 2017): Sony Animation confirmed on Wednesday, January 18 that their animated Spider-Man movie will star Miles Morales!

Original story (May 2016): Heroic Hollywood, who has a good record of breaking superhero news, is the source behind the exciting development. As was previously announced, the animated Spider-Man movie will be produced by LEGO Movie helmers Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The duo are also set to direct the Star Wars Han Solo spinoff for Lucasfilm.

Who is Miles Morales? As we wrote in a lengthy tell-all about the character last year:

Miles Morales is the current Spider-Man in Marvel’s Ultimate Comics series. Introduced in 2011, Miles is a black-hispanic young man who, like Peter Parker, is a talented scientist and self-proclaimed nerd. However, unlike his predecessor, Morales steps into the superhero’s shoes at the surprisingly young age of 13.

Raised in Brooklyn, Miles was born into a family plagued by criminal activity. Before settling down with his wife Rio, Miles’s father Jefferson used to be crime partners with his brother Aaron (Miles’s uncle). However, where Jefferson tried to shrink away from the lifestyle, Aaron continues to embrace it — assuming the role of classic Marvel villain the Prowler. After pulling off a heist on Oscorp, Aaron unknowingly takes a genetically modified spider home with him. It is at Aaron’s house that Miles is bit by the spider and starts the transformation into Spider-Man.

Where Peter Parker relished the opportunity to become spidey, Miles is reluctant to enter the world of vigilantism. What’s more, his family’s criminal history causes him to question whether or not he can ever be a hero, or if evil is hardwired into him.

Oh, and one other cool thing about him: The guy is immortal, unlike the Peter Parker version of Spider-Man.

Related: Who is Miles Morales? We explain everything

The rumor mill was alive with chatter about the MCU’s Spidey being the Miles Morales version last year, but obviously those reports never panned out. The Peter Parker version of Spider-Man was introduced in Captain America: Civil War, played by Tom Holland. He’s getting his own spinoff film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, next year.

Telling the Miles Morales story on screen may be just the thing the animated Spider-Man movie needs in order for it to draw people into the theaters in December 2018. We’ve had enough Peter Parker stories!

2018 will be a great year for super hero diversity: Marvel’s Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman will be released a few months earlier.

‘The Space Between Us’ set report: What if a human was born on Mars?

Hypable visited the set and spoke to the film's stars.

12:00 pm EST, January 17, 2017

Could a human be born on a distant planet and later survive on earth?

It’s not only a premise that the upcoming science fiction tale The Space Between Us asks, but a real question and concern that people at NASA have considered as well.

Inspired by his son’s obsession with Mars, and the kernel of an idea from another writer he works with, film producer Richard Lewis picked up the phone and posed the question to members of NASA.

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Could a human be born on a distant planet and later survive on earth?

It’s not only a premise that the upcoming science fiction tale The Space Between Us asks, but a real question and concern that people at NASA have considered as well.

Inspired by his son’s obsession with Mars, and the kernel of an idea from another writer he works with, film producer Richard Lewis picked up the phone and posed the question to members of NASA.

He never would’ve guessed what was going to happen when he spoke to them.

“I called a group of NASA scientists and said, ‘So what would happen if an astronaut turned out to be pregnant on a flight to Mars?’ and there was just silence on the other end of the call. And they said, ‘Are you listening to our phone calls?’ I said, ‘No, I’ve never spoken to you in my life.’ And they said, ‘It’s going to happen, and we don’t know what to do.'”

That was when he teamed up with screenwriter Allan Loeb and started fleshing out an answer. “I thought, wow, that’s the beginning of an interesting story.” Lewis even worked with his father, a heart specialist, to examine how that muscle would develop differently on Mars, and aspects of this research became a big part of the story.

The Space Between Us is an interplanetary adventure following a human boy named Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) born on the distant red planet. His mother, an astronaut, only realized she was pregnant with Gardner after leaving on her mission to colonize Mars.

Once Gardner reaches his teenage years he becomes interested in leaving East Texas (yep, on Mars) and returning to the home of his species. Not only is he curious about Earth, but Gardner has also fallen for a girl named Tulsa who’s literally tens of millions of miles away in the state of Colorado. The two met online and can relate over their outsider perspectives.

There’s just one problem: Tulsa doesn’t realize that Gardner is literally living on Mars.

Hypable visited the Albuquerque, New Mexico set of The Space Between Us starring Butterfield, Robertson, and Gary Oldman in late October 2015. On the day we visited, Asa, Britt, and crew were at the tail end of their 37-day shooting schedule which took them through New Mexico, Las Vegas, and Malibu.

It was Day 31, and indoor and outdoor shoots were taking place at Highland High School located in the southeast quadrant of Albuquerque. Since it was a weekday, real classes were in session as Asa and Britt shot outdoor scenes.

The real students who walked by the production had mixed reactions. Some watched and Snapchatted the excitement, while others passed by as if a Hollywood production wasn’t filming right before their eyes. Later in the day, after the real students went home, production moved inside the school to shoot a scene where Gardner and Tulsa meet in person for the first time. It’s one of the more touching moments in the movie.

Earlier, Asa walked into our press tent carrying a drone in tow. He had recently purchased it to try and capture aerial footage for fun, and was learning how to operate it in between filming his scenes.

Both the aerial device and Gardner struggle to deal with Earth’s gravity.

When asked how he handles playing a character who has never been on Earth before, Asa describes it as a very unique experience. “It’s hard to put yourself in that kind of position because we [as humans] are so experienced in the world, and to completely strip all that back and be absolutely in awe at everything you see — a tree, a doorman — everything’s interesting,” he says.

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Tulsa (Britt Robertson) experiences zero gravity with Gardner (Asa Butterfield).

Living on Mars your whole life doesn’t mean you’re missing hormones, so girls are also of interest in Gardner. On the relationship between his character and Tulsa, Asa tells us, “They both have this longing desire for being somewhere. Belonging somewhere. Tulsa’s been jumping around through various foster homes, she’s never really settled anywhere. Gardner spends his life on Mars. No one knows he exists. They’re kind of united by this experience.”

“He’s an alien, and she’s an alien, and this is the journey of the story,” Lewis tells us. “Watching these two characters connect, and the disconnects, the misunderstandings, and then ultimately they have a connection.”

Those good and bad connections were present in the scene we observed, which finds Gardner surprising Tulsa in her school hallway. As someone who is tough and reserved, Tulsa is understandably frustrated by Gardner’s sudden appearance. The two still haven’t communicated well with one another — Adorably, Tulsa is unaware that when he says he’s from “East Texas” he means the establishment on Mars.

With Gardner now on earth, the two begin to form a close bond as the Mars-born boy tries to discover his roots.

Co-starring in the movie is Gary Oldman, whose character originally organized the trip to Mars. He wasn’t on set the day we visited, but the actor has a very important role in the movie.

The Space Between Us opens in theaters February 3, 2017.

‘Rogue One’s’ best scene doesn’t involve the heroes

It's a nameless character who saves the day.

8:15 am EST, January 17, 2017

Among the many exceptional scenes in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, one of the most poignant ones doesn’t even involve any of the main heroes.

Rogue One  is full of memorable moments, some breathtaking, some endearing in the way we’ve come to expect from Star Wars, and all full of an epic sense of the lengths people will go to in the name of hope. It also stands out because of its representation, with a female main character and a diverse cast of supporting characters. But it’s the scene almost at the very end that makes its story truly unique.

It takes place after Jyn Erso and her band of rebels have already completed their mission, and the Death Star plans that they have given their lives to procure are being physically carried through the Profundity by a single individual, while the ship is under attack. Close at his heels is Darth Vader, finally revealed in all his lightsaber-wielding, terrifying glory, killing rebel soldiers left and right. The door jams in front of the man holding the plans, with only a slight gap left open – just enough for him to fit an arm through and frantically get the device to one of the fleeing rebels on the other side, knowing fully that this is the last action he’ll ever carry out.

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Among the many exceptional scenes in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, one of the most poignant ones doesn’t even involve any of the main heroes.

Rogue One  is full of memorable moments, some breathtaking, some endearing in the way we’ve come to expect from Star Wars, and all full of an epic sense of the lengths people will go to in the name of hope. It also stands out because of its representation, with a female main character and a diverse cast of supporting characters. But it’s the scene almost at the very end that makes its story truly unique.

It takes place after Jyn Erso and her band of rebels have already completed their mission, and the Death Star plans that they have given their lives to procure are being physically carried through the Profundity by a single individual, while the ship is under attack. Close at his heels is Darth Vader, finally revealed in all his lightsaber-wielding, terrifying glory, killing rebel soldiers left and right. The door jams in front of the man holding the plans, with only a slight gap left open – just enough for him to fit an arm through and frantically get the device to one of the fleeing rebels on the other side, knowing fully that this is the last action he’ll ever carry out.

This character has no name, and we know nothing about him beyond this scene. But faced by the most fearsome threat and terrible odds, he abandons fighting and uses his dying moments to get the plans across the doomed ship, and to Princess Leia.

It’s not common to see a scene like this one – scenes that convey the power of the collective action of many people across different areas – done so skillfully, especially in movies that are so character-driven.

In Star Wars, we’ve always focused on Luke and Leia and Han, and more recently on Rey, Finn and Poe. Although we knew that the Rebellion was the fruit of the efforts of many, we never had such a clear look into just how many lives were involved.

Rogue One the Rebellion

This final scene brings it all together, tying together the various storylines we know in an epic finale, and finally connecting them to Episode IV in a perfect mix of excitement and nostalgia. Without this character, driven by desperate hope rather than fear of his imminent death, Rogue One’s mission would not have ended successfully, Leia would have never received the plans… and none of the story we already know would have taken place.

For once, it was a character whose face we didn’t even see properly, dressed just like everyone else, fulfilling his own small role in a much bigger mission, who saved the day.

This ending, maybe even more meaningfully than the stories of the heroes we know and love, shows us the very essence of the Rebellion: a movement of dedication and sacrifice, full of people like the ones that died on Scarif, that put themselves between the plans and Vader, that drove the mission to success in their dying moments – and that stopped the race to save their own lives in favor of securing the mission’s objective.

We, as the audience, can find ourselves in the nameless rebel soldier and his sacrifice – a realistic and emotional portrayal of what makes any movement for change possible: the sacrifices of a vast number of people whose names and faces we may never know, whose stories may never be recorded, but whose lives were spent in search of a better future for the generations that follow.

What scene in ‘Rogue One’ impacted you the most?