Adam McKay Did an Uncredited Rewrite on ‘Zoolander’ – And Wanted to Kill Off the Character
There were three credited writers on the original Zoolander: Drake Sather, John Hamburg, and director and star Ben Stiller. But like so many Hollywood movies, the credited writers aren’t necessarily all the men and women who wrote stuff for the movie. In fact, Anchorman and Step Brothers creator Adam McKay actually worked on Zoolander, contributing some of the most important stuff to the screenplay — along with a joke that was basically too amazing to exist.
/Film has the story, from an interview with McKay about his superb new film The Big Short. As McKay tells it, he was the one who came up with Zoolander’s second look, “Magnum,” the one he spends the entire movie perfecting (and, in a great gag, turns out to look exactly like his old look, “Blue Steel”). That idea made it from McKay’s draft all the way to the finished product. But McKay originally envisioned a different payoff to the Magnum concept. McKay takes it from here:
In the end, I thought there should be a train coming at him, and there should be a big buildup of music, and he should unveil Magnum. Then, the train should just hit him, and he should die. The movie should end with people going, “Why do you think a look would stop a train?” And he’d say, “But…it’s such a great look.’ That would’ve been the ending of the movie [Laughs].
Not shockingly, producers were less than enamored with the idea of killing off Zoolander; they had plans to turn him into his own franchise — plans that are finally coming true next year with the long-awaited release of Zoolander 2. So all in all, it’s good Adam McKay wasn’t allowed to run Derek Zoolander over with a train. But it would have been mighty funny if he had. Zoolander 2 opens on February 12; Adam McKay’s The Big Short debuts on December 11.