Ben Stiller reveals ‘Zoolander 2’ flop left him ‘blindsided’ for ‘a long time’

Opening up about the impact on his life and career of one of his biggest movie failures, Ben Stiller has admitted he was left “blindsided” for “a long time” by ‘Zoolander 2’ turning out to be a commercial and critical turkey.



Ben Stiller was left  ‘blindsided’ for ‘a long time’ by his ‘Zoolander’ sequel being a turkey
Ben Stiller was left ‘blindsided’ for ‘a long time’ by his ‘Zoolander’ sequel being a turkey

Ben Stiller was left “blindsided” for “a long time” by his ‘Zoolander’ sequel being a turkey.

The 58-year-old actor, who wrote, produced, directed and starred in the 2016 follow-up to his 2001 male modelling farce, said he thought he had messed up his career and lost the ability to do comedy when it was a commercial and critical flop.

He told ‘The X Files’ actor David Duchovny, 63, on his upcoming podcast ‘Fail Better’ about the devastating impact the failure of ‘Zoolander 2’ had on his life and mental state: “I thought everybody wanted this.

“And then it's like, 'Wow, I must have really (messed) this up.

“Everybody didn't go to it. And it's gotten these horrible reviews.

“It really freaked me out because I was like, 'I didn't know was that bad?'

"What scared me the most on that one was I’m losing what I think what's funny, the questioning yourself… on ‘Zoolander 2’, it was definitely blindsiding to me.

“And it definitely affected me for a long time."

‘Zoolander 2’, which saw Owen Wilson, 55, and Will Ferrell, 56, return from the first film, made only $29 million against its $50 million budget.

The sequel also featured cameos from celebrities including Justin Bieber, 30, and 39-year-old Katy Perry.

Ben said the failure gave him the “space” to “kind of sit with myself and have to deal with it and other projects that I had been working on”.

When he said he didn’t want to pursue anything new amid the failure, David – whose podcast will be available from 7 May – asked him if it was “anger” holding him back.

Ben replied: “It was just hurt. Finding yourself in terms of what creatively you want to be and do, I I always loved directing. I always loved making movies.

“I always, in my mind, loved the idea of just directing movies that since I was a kid, and not necessarily comedies.”

Ben went on to direct the crime drama ‘Escape at Dannemora’ in 2018, for which he won a DGA Award for Outstanding Directing – Miniseries or TV Film.

In 2022, he also produced and directed the Emmy-nominated series ‘Severance’.