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Ben Stiller Reveals What Shook Him The Most When Making Zoolander 2

Dumb decisions could be considered one of the defining characteristics of Ben Stiller's role in 2001's "Zoolander." As a male model who has issues turning left, Derek Zoolander is often confused by the simplest commands or suggestions, which results in some truly hilarious quotes involving schools for ants, mermans, and iconic looks that bring people to their knees. Featuring appearances from Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson, and Christine Taylor, the first "Zoolander" is chock full of celebrity cameos and wild moments that helped cement the movie in the collective minds of comedy fans.

Unfortunately, the lightning in a bottle captured by the original "Zoolander" did not transfer to its 2016 sequel, which bombed in the theaters. Earning a score of 22% on Rotten Tomatoes, "Zoolander 2" was not received by critics nearly as well as the first film. Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post was particularly brutal in her review, where she wrote, "Lazily written by Stiller and three collaborators (including Justin Theroux), this is the kind of lame, warmed-over movie that gives sequels a bad name. For 'Zoolander' fans, however, it resembles a betrayal of public trust." 

With this in mind, we have to ask — what was going through Stiller's head while making "Zoolander 2"?

Stiller questioned his own talents after Zoolander 2

Recently, Ben Stiller has been earning praise for his directorial work on Apple TV's "Severance" series, a psycho-romp drama that sees the minds of individuals fractured between work and home-based personality that renders both aspects ignorant of the other. Holding an impressive 98% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the success of "Severance" helps to overshadow the critics and audiences who savaged "Zoolander 2."

In a round table discussion involving Stiller and other directors with The Hollywood Reporter, the group was asked if any of them suffer from imposter syndrome, which is the self-belief that one's success is the result of serendipity or deception. Stiller responded, "Whenever I do something, I have no idea how people are going to accept it, how they're going to relate to it or if they're going to think it's good or not. I don't know if it's imposter syndrome or just insecurity syndrome. That doesn't go away. But as you get older and keep doing it, you have the confidence to go, 'I'm going to do this because I enjoy it.'"

In response, Dan Fogelman, who is best known for creating "This Is Us," referenced his "Life Itself" film and said how proud of it he was but acknowledged that the film failed in every way it could. Fogelman then talked about how failures like that cause psychological trauma, to which Stiller replied, "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. The worst happened, but I want to keep doing this, so I'm going to." However, much like his character in "Zoolander," even failure can eventually lead to success — as highlighted by the glowing reviews of "Severance."