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Ben Stiller Is The Only One Standing In The Way Of A Dodgeball Sequel

Is a "Dodgeball" sequel in the works nearly 20 years after the original premiered? It could very well be, says "Barbarian" star, Justin Long — assuming Vince Vaugh can convince Ben Stiller to get on board.

Vaughn began discussing the idea for a "Dodgeball" sequel with Long during the production of their upcoming holiday-comedy feature, "Christmas with the Campbells." Long proposed the idea to Stiller himself on "Life Is Short," a podcast Long hosts with his brother, Christian (via ComicBook.com). Unfortunately, Stiller was less than enthusiastic about the idea of reviving something so "beloved" by fans. It's possible that Stiller is worried about repeating recent mistakes, having written, directed, produced, and starred in 2016's "Zoolander 2" — the critically maligned box-office bomb of a follow-up to the 2001 classic "Zoolander."

Stiller's high-concept fashion-espionage-comedy was a cult hit in the early 2000s, so much so that Stiller stated he was eager to pull together a sequel as early as 2008 (via SlashFilm). The development process proved taxing, with Stiller telling Collider in 2013 that the project was still moving forward but failing to come together as he'd hoped (retrieved via DigitalSpy). When it was eventually released in 2016, the film, with a budget in excess of $50 million, failed to gross even $60 million (per Box Office Mojo). The experience was an important lesson for Stiller, who still seems to carry residual anxiety as a result of the movie's failure to this day.

Zoolander 2 shook Ben Stiller's confidence

Earlier this year, The Hollywood Reporter assembled several high-profile television producers — Stiller included — for a roundtable discussion about the ins and outs of their industry. Dan Fogelman ("This Is Us") shared a vulnerable personal account of the abysmal critical and commercial response received by his passion project, "Life Itself," and how it affected his fear of failure. "For me, it was like when you're a hypochondriac and then you get the cancer diagnosis," he said. "The worst has happened. Now I can breathe. But then you also have this PTSD for a while. Everything else you're putting out, you go, 'Is it going to happen again?' It scares the s*** out of you."

Stiller responded directly to Fogelman, "I had that exact experience on "Zoolander 2." It makes you question your own sense of what you think is good. That was the thing that shook me the most." While "Zoolander 2" may have seemed like a waste of money and time to those outside its production, it's clear from how involved Stiller was that he truly believed in his product. Though he currently produces Apple TV+'s critically lauded series "Severance," it's hard to imagine how good Vaughn's pitch would need to be to convince Stiller to wade into such familiarly murky waters. Then again, maybe Stiller feels ready to apply the lessons he learned from "Zoolander 2." Either way, his overall resolve is as strong as ever, telling his peers, "The worst happened, but I want to keep doing this, so I'm going to."