Ben Stiller skewered the fashion industry nearly 15 years ago in “Zoolander.” But updating the comedy’s wisecracks beyond its last collection wasn’t easy.
“That’s been a challenge,” says Stiller on his follow-up “Zoolander 2” in an interview. “In satirizing the fashion world, it’s all so over the top anyway—you can’t really top it.”
“When you look at what people are doing,” he adds, “it’s all so crazy.”
Standing at a real-life 5’7”, Stiller played the titular dim-witted male model who was determined to prove “there’s a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking” in the 2001 comedy. Owen Wilson starred as his rival Hansel, and Will Ferrell camped it up as the short-tempered, latte-hurling villain Mugatu.
The sequel sees Zoolander grapple in an industry where a model’s shelf life is like that of an organic avocado—it expires fast.
“He’s living in the mountain because his career is over,” Stiller explains.
Determined to revive his career, he and Hansel are invited to participate in a fashion show by a new hipster designer, he adds. “They can’t resist—they take the bait and go.”
But an opportunity for a comeback for the duo is finally realized when they’re recruited by Interpol’s global fashion division to help solve the mysterious disappearance of “the world’s most beautiful people,” including Demi Lovato, Usher, Lenny Kravitz and Justin Bieber—whose cameo is splashed out in the film’s trailer. Penelope Cruz stars as the agent assigned to the case.
Ferrell returns as the nefarious Mugatu, stirring up lattes and more trouble among the fashion set, this time around in Rome—the fashion capital of the world.
“Zoolander 2” opens Friday.