Ice Network

That escalated quickly! Campbell in 'Anchorman 2'

Retired skater stands in for Ferrell in second saga of Ron Burgundy
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Wesley Campbell found Will Ferrell to be a "down-to-earth, genuine family man" after they spent a night shooting scenes at the rink. -courtesy of Paramount Pictures/Wesley Campbell

If you live on this planet and you're breathing, you've probably heard that Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues opens Wednesday. What you might, just possibly, not know is that Will Ferrell's character, Ron Burgundy, has a figure skating scene in the movie.

Ferrell hadn't skated before he filmed 2007's Blades of Glory, but his turn as skating megastar Chazz Michael Michaels must have left an indelible impression. In the new film -- spoiler alert! -- Burgundy takes to the ice in a fur-collared, blinding white suit, while playing his jazz flute. Wesley Campbell, who retired from competition earlier this year, was his skating double for the scene.

"All I really did in the movie is make Mr. Ferrell look good," Campbell said. "Nah, just kidding. I honestly just did some skating in a mustache! What could be better?"

The film's producers had to find a skater tall enough to double for the 6-foot-3 Ferrell. They searched rinks in Southern California to no avail. Sean Rabbitt recommended Campbell and called him to see if he was interested.

"Of course I was all over it," Campbell said. "P.S., thanks, Sean!"

Last March, Campbell flew to Atlanta to meet with Ferrell and the directors to work on choreography for the scene.

"We just played around for three hours on the ice one Sunday morning and had a blast," Campbell said. "Two days later, we had an overnight shoot because the scene takes place at night. We filmed from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. to get everything perfect. There are some epic pictures from that night of all of us taking power naps in the green room trying not to freeze or die of exhaustion."

To match Ferrell, Campbell was put in what he calls "a massive fat suit and a rough mustache."

"I only did double Axels and triple Salchows in the fat suit, so it wasn't too bad," he said. "It was really quite awesome to work with all those guys. Will was a blast. We got on great. His sense of humor really jives with mine, so you can imagine … learning choreography together had to have been a sight to behold. He's a down-to-earth, genuine family man. Great guy."

Campbell had seen the first Anchorman movie, which came out in 2004.

"I remember thinking it was hilarious," he said. "It will be exciting to see the second one, having gotten to work with these guys first hand and to kind of know what the storyline of the film is going in."

The shoot took place on a 50-foot square sheet of ice, which was good practice for Campbell. Shortly after filming, he went to sea for six months, performing on a cruise ship.

"We started in Barcelona and then did a crossing over to Asia with stops in Egypt, Jordan, Dubai, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong," he said. "The majority of the contract was spent in Shanghai, Taiwan and Korea, as well as multiple stops in Jeju Island off the coast of Korea. We did have a few days in Japan, but I would have loved to have more time there."

Looking back, Campbell says the 50-city trip was a blur, although Shanghai stands out.

"I spent 31 port days in Shanghai, which I have to say is the hottest place I have ever been in the summer," he said. "It's dirty and overcrowded and the cultural differences are rather jarring. [But] the shopping district and old Shanghai are absolutely spectacular, and some of the architecture is very modern and beautiful when juxtaposed with the remaining architecture in old Shanghai."

Campbell is performing in Tepic, Mexico, over the holidays, and then it will be back to sea on Liberty of the Seas for a six-month contract in the Caribbean and Mediterranean.

"I'm a bit sad I won't be at nationals this year, but it's the only time I'll have to take a real vacation," he said. "I'm going to miss the energy of it and, of course, the community."

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