Remember back in 2010, when Justin Theroux was hired to write and direct “Zoolander 2”? The announcement was seen as a little odd at the time, but Theroux did have a small role in the original movie and was coming off successful writing contributions to Ben Stiller’s “Tropic Thunder” and “Iron Man 2.” And there was also the matter of Theroux’s directorial debut, the little-seen indie film “Dedication” starring Billy Crudup and Mandy Moore.
There hasn’t been a lot of movement on the project since. Ben Stiller said in 2011 that the ball was in Paramount’s court and he and Theroux had handed in a draft. But many assumed the relative underperformance of “Anchorman 2: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy” might have been the final nail in its coffin. The Will Ferrell-starring comedy lived a similar lifespan as ‘Zoolander’: a beloved cult-comedy that eventually inched its way towards a sequel ten years after the fact. But ‘Anchorman 2’ hardly lit up the box office with a $127 million domestic gross. That film was modestly budgeted, but surely Paramount would have liked a much higher return on their long-in-development investment.
So what is the status of ‘Zoolander 2’? Not dead and a definite maybe. In an interview with Vulture about Theroux’s starring role in “The Leftovers,” the actor says the sequel is still coming. “Yeah, we’ve got a script for the sequel, and we’ve just been in talks again,” he said. “We’re trying to sharpen it and hone it and, actually, I don’t want to jinx anything, but it looks like it actually might be starting to get up and running.”
And while Theroux says that the first season of “The Leftovers” is now complete, he’ll have time to dedicate to the sequel, but it’s likely he won’t direct. “I don’t think I’m going to do it anymore. It really depends on whether the show gets picked up,” he said, referring to whether or not “The Leftovers” gets a second season order from HBO. “If it gets picked up, then I don’t think I’ll have the time to do it. So it’ll probably get handed to Ben, which would be awesome.”
While reviews for “The Leftovers” were initially mixed, they’ve certainly gotten better and the show has picked up a lot of attention this summer. It seems very unlikely that HBO won’t pick it up for a second season, which means that if the project finally gets a green light, we may see Ben Stiller direct “Zoolander 2.” Hey, that’s probably better than a “Secret Life Of Walter Mitty 2,” no? Answer: absolutely.