Judd Apatow produced “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” the 2004 satirical comedy starring Will Ferrell. In the movie, Steve Carell plays supporting character Brick Tamland, Ron Burgundy’s dimwitted weatherman whom people seem to like because, as Tamland himself explains, “I am polite, and I’m rarely late. I like to eat ice cream, and I really enjoy a nice pair of slacks.”
Going back to the Jimmy Fallon interview, “The Morning Show” actor recounted how Apatow approached him after “Anchorman” wrapped up to schedule a pitch meeting. “So we got together, and I pitched all these other ideas,” Carell said. “Just before I left, I said, ‘You know what, there’s one more – there was this thing I was kind of trying to get going at The Second City that never really went anywhere.'”
He described the poker game sketch, and Apatow saw dollar signs; he jumped on the idea immediately. “The next week he talked to an executive, sold it, we wrote it, it got greenlit,” Carell explained. “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” went on to make more than $177 million at the box office worldwide against a $26 million budget, according to Box Office Mojo.
It’s fascinating that Carell pitched the idea at the very last minute. It’s almost as if he sensed that maybe Apatow wasn’t gravitating towards his initial ideas and felt the door of opportunity closing on him; his fight-or-flight response kicked in, and out comes a brilliant decade-old idea from out of nowhere. If that’s how it happened, then way to come through in the clutch, Steve Carell. But out of all the actors who worked on “Anchorman,” why did Apatow approach Carell?