The veteran actress is experiencing a career rebirth thanks to a major role in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
It's no wonder that Ron Burgundy loves Meagan Good—she's kind of a big deal. The 32-year-old L.A. native has starred in successful movies (Stomp the Yard, Jumping the Broom, Think Like a Man), yet she's often overlooked on the Hollywood roll call, relegated to "urban" flicks. That's about to chance, thanks to Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, in which Good plays Ron Burgundy's new boss/love interest. It doesn't get more mainstream than swapping spit with Will Ferrell.
Has all of the pre-release insanity started for Anchorman 2 yet?
Yeah, I’m already starting to see madness breaking out everywhere, but it’s actually fantastic because the movie is really, really good. I’m excited for people to see it.
It’s one of the most anticipated movies to come out in a long, long time. Does that make it nerve-wracking at all for you?
It’s nerve-wracking, in general, because I hadn’t done a whole lot of comedy, so there were parts of it that were very new for me. That part of it was nerve-wracking because you want to do a good job, and you’re a little bit nervous. It was great because [director] Adam McKay is just amazing—he creates this atmosphere where you can do no wrong, and you can just try stuff and trust your instincts. If it doesn’t, you don’t get shot down—it’s just like, “OK, let’s try something different.” It’s fantastic that he created that atmosphere, and all the guys helped with that because they’re all so nurturing. They want you to do well. If there’s any way you want to go into something new, I had the best-case scenario. Everyone was so supportive and sweet.
Was this a tough role to land? Playing Ron Burgundy’s new love interest seems like a role that every actress in Hollywood would want to chase after.
It was the strangest thing, because I was in New York and I was filming Deception. I heard that they were officially going into making Anchorman 2. I got the script and the sides and just said to myself, “OK, I’ll just send in my audition tape and see what happens.” I got a call about a week later; they were like, “Do you think you can come to New York to do a chemistry read with Will?” And I was like, “Do you mean will I walk on foot right now from Atlanta? Because if so, then yes.” [Laughs.]
I got in, did the chemistry read, it went amazing. Will was very sweet and supportive; I kind of beat him up in the audition, and threw him around the room a little, and he let me. About a week later, they called me and say, “Hey, you got the part!” And I just was blown away, and so appreciative. I started thanking God immediately. I know there were a lot of people up for it, and I know it was all God. I just feel like…I was just excited. I was over the moon.
What kind of stuff did you put on tape for a project like this? Was it trying to sell yourself as being funny?
Well, that’s the thing. It’s a trick thing to pull off, but it also gives you a little bit more freedom, because usually you’re with someone you know who’s reading the lines off with you. You’re comfortable with them. I was blessed to have [Deception co-star] Katherine LaNasa, who was in The Campaign with Will, so she was doing, like, a perfect Will Ferrell impression for me. She is, like, the sweetest, wackiest, most amazing woman, and she was going all the way in, so it allowed me to go all the way in. I didn’t add anything too much to the lines. You never know, when you’re working with someone who’s a genius in their field, you don’t want to tamper too much unless you know you can.
Once I put myself on tape, when I got there in person, Adam was like, “Just go for it. Whatever you’re thinking, just say it. Go for it.” In the audition, that’s what I did. I tore off my shoes and threw them against the wall—I just totally went for it. I think I might have punched Will in the stomach by accident, too. [Laughs.]
Did the scene call for that, or was it just your improve skills?
[Laughs.] It called for it a little bit, but I took it to another level. You can’t hold back anything in a situation like that, and I really wanted the role. I gave it 110% in the audition, and by the grace of God it paid off.
Tell me about your character.
Linda Jackson is Ron Burgundy’s boss. She is one of the first black women to be the head of a news station like that, and a network like that. It’s very interesting, because this takes place at the end of ‘70s and the beginning of the ‘80s, so he’s never seen anything like that. Initially, I just think he’s an idiot; I don’t care for him, they’re at odds with each other. During the duration of the film, she realizes that she’s finally met her equal in this crazy, silly guy. That is kind of the turning point where she starts to go, “This is the one who will stand up to me, and will tell me what he thinks, and will do all the intimidating things I tell him to do—maybe there’s something there.”
Your character falls in love with Ron Burgundy, an arrogant, hairy, obnoxious guy. Could you fall for a man like that?
Definitely. He’s endearing. He’s sweet, he’s ambitious, and he’s this lovable, gentle teddy bear. That sweetness is a turn-on. It shows you that he’s not a bad person, even when he says ridiculous things.
Have you dated any real-life Ron Burgundys?
No, because I’m that person. [Laughs.] Often times, when I try to make a joke, I don’t know what I’m talking about and people look at me all confused. I was homeschooled, and I remember thinking when I was around 19 that New England was a country. No joke, I asked somebody, “What is that country that you can get to by train from New York?” [Laughs.] I’d seen New England in Valley of the Dolls and didn’t realize it wasn’t a country.
That’s not something you’d ever want to share on a first date.
You never know. I appreciate it when people are authentic. There’s a difference between having wisdom and having knowledge. I have a lot of wisdom, having grown up in this industry, but I’ve had to work on the knowledge part. So it never bothers me when I meet another person who doesn’t have a whole lot of knowledge, as long as they have wisdom. I’m more attracted to someone’s wisdom than their book smarts.
Earlier in your career, your sexuality was a big selling point, from 50 Cent’s “21 Questions” video to playing the sexy love interest in various movies. How do you feel about that time in your life?
When I got into my 20s, I was fighting for people to see that the little girl from Friday and Eve’s Bayou wasn’t a little girl anymore. That’s why my career took the “sexy” turn. By my mid-20s, it had backfired. I was always playing the sexy roles. It was hard for me to be taken seriously as a good actress. I had to fight my way out of that box that people put me in.
Playing the female lead in an Anchorman sequel must feel like a huge accomplishment.
It does. I’m just now getting into my 30s, and this is the best I’ve ever felt inside and the best I’ve ever looked. I’m so ready. It’s like reliving your 20s but so much better, with a stronger sense of who you are and who you’re not. Because of that, I’ve never felt sexier. It’s a whole new kind of “sexy” turn for me.
We welcome the whiplash.
(STYLING) Jessica Paster. (HAIR) Maisha Oliver. (MAKEUP) Jamie Greenberg. (CLOTHING) This spread: swimsuit by Wildfox / Shorts by One Teaspoon / earrings by Karine Sultan / rings and bracelets by Isharya / belt by Ann Taylor. Opposite Spread: Swimsuit by Seafolly / earrings by Karine Sultan / ring by Isharya / socks by American Apparel