- Adam McKay recalled a scary moment in the bear pit scene in his 2004 comedy “Anchorman.”
- “The bear did a hint of a bluff charge for a second,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
- He said from that moment on he vowed to never put a live animal in a shot with an actor again.
On the set of the 2004 comedy, “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” in which the main characters face off against live bears, there was a close call with one of the bears that scared director Adam McKay straight.
“The bear did a hint of a bluff charge for a second,” the director told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview, referencing the hilarious conclusion of the film. “From that moment on, I said, ‘I will never put a live animal in a shot with an actor ever again.’ So every time I do it, it’s a composite shot because it’s not worth it.”
In the “Anchorman” scene, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his news team members jump into a zoo’s bear pit to help Burgundy’s love, Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), who was pushed into the pit by a rival news anchor. Once inside the pit, we see Burgundy’s news team fight with real-life bears.
Thanks to some camera trickery it looks like Paul Rudd’s character, anchorman Brian Fantana, is slapped by a real bear. Thankfully Rudd is far back from the live bear.
And clearly it’s a dummy body of actor David Koechner, who plays sportscaster Champ Kind, that a bear throws like a rag doll.
But Steve Carell, who plays weatherman Brick Tamland, has multiple encounters with a bear, including one where it looks like he’s cuddling up with a real bear.
The memory of the bear came to McKay’s mind when the topic of set safety came up during his Hollywood Reporter interview, which happened in the wake of the fatal “Rust” shooting.
Back in October, a prop gun that Alec Baldwin was holding discharged on set and killed the film’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and injured the film’s director, Joel Souza.
“That’s my greatest single fear as a producer and a director,” McKay said of the shooting.
“We’ve used blanks on our set, including on ‘Don’t Look Up,’ and everything is quadruple-checked,” McKay continued, noting his latest film. “No one is ever in front of that pointed gun, and the chamber is triple-checked. When I heard what happened, I was like, ‘How could that possibly have happened?’ That set sounded sloppy and dangerous.”
Baldwin recently said in an interview with ABC News that he never pulled the trigger, which conflicts with police reports that allege he did.