Long-awaited sequel finally arrives for Zoolander
FIFTEEN years after his cinematic debut, Derek Zoolander is finally getting the film opening he deserves.
The comedy's long-awaited sequel debuts worldwide next week and star Ben Stiller has been popping up at landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge flashing Derek's signature look Blue Steel.
It was a much different situation in September, 2001, when the original film's cinematic release was disrupted by the 9/11 terror attacks.
"We probably would have made a sequel the year after the movie came out but nobody came to see the first one in the theatre really, so no one wanted it," Stiller said.
"This movie has been a long time in the making."
The film, based on a series of comedy sketches by Stiller and Drake Sather, eventually became a cult hit but only after it was released on DVD.
"The movie became something that got passed around and felt like an underground studio movie, almost like finding vintage vinyl," said Justin Theroux, who appeared in the film and serves as writer on the sequel.
"Audiences got to feel like it was their own special discovery and had ownership of it."
Stiller returns to direct the sequel, in which Owen Wilson reprises his role as supermodel Hansel and Will Ferrell returns as the evil designer Mugatu.
"We wanted to make a movie that would try to live up to the first one and the expectations of people who loved it," Stiller said.
"I feel very fortunate that there are people who loved the movie that much and I didn't want to let them down.
"When someone tells me that they love Zoolander, to me that means that they love the characters because they are what make it what it is."
Derek and Hansel were last seen opening the Derek Zoolander Centre for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too.
But in the intervening years, disaster strikes and Derek and Hansel both vow to live in solitude.
A mysterious invitation to a fashion show in Rome brings them out of hiding and the former male supermodels discover the world has changed during their self-imposed exile.
"One of our jokes from the first film was Derek's ridiculously little phone, which is of course the opposite now," Stiller said. "The world has changed because of social media and the fact that everyone is glued to their screens is something that is hard to ignore."
The models are soon drawn into an international investigation when murdered pop stars flash Derek's Blue Steel in their final moments.
They team up with sexy Interpol investigator Valentina, a role Stiller wrote specifically for Penelope Cruz.
"While we were writing, I loved imagining her saying the lines with her accent," he said.
"She was one of the first people I called and she said yes very quickly. I was so happy because I couldn't imagine anyone else doing it."
Zoolander 2 opens on Thursday.
Stars: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Benedict Cumberbatch.
Director: Ben Stiller
Reviewer's last word: It's going to take a lot for this long-awaited sequel to live up to the kooky charms of the original, which has been cemented in popular culture.
Star Profile: Penelope Cruz
Quirky fact: Second Spanish performer to win an Oscar for acting. The first was her husband Javier Bardem.
Best known for: Blow, Vanilla Sky, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
If you like this movie you'll like these: Zoolander, Ghostbusters, Hail, Caesar!
Quote: "The most difficult thing in the world is to start a career known only for your looks, and then to try to become a serious actress. No one will take you seriously once you are known as the pretty woman."