In a recent interview posted on Scifiwire: Ben Stiller and Shawn Levy, the star and director of the fantasy comedy Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian, told reporters that they invested a lot of time in finding just the right story on which to build the sequel.

“We wanted to find a way to separate the first movie from the second movie that was different, because we had already done the idea of things comings to life,” Stiller said in a news conference at the Smithsonian Institution over the weekend in Washington. Night at the Museum 2 picks up two years after the original film and finds that Stiller’s character, former New York Natural History museum security guard Larry Daley, is now a successful infomercial product inventor. Preoccupied with his business, Daley is shocked to learn from curator Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais) that all his magical museum friends, from Jedediah Smith (Owen Wilson) to Dexter the monkey, are being boxed up for the federal archives in order to make room for new high-tech exhibits. Daley then heads to the Smithsonian to help his pals escape new threats, while meeting new friends such as Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams) and Gen. Custer (Bill Hader) along the way.

Stiller and Levy spoke alongside screenwriters Ben Garant and Tom Lennon and cast members Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais, Hank Azaria and Amy Adams at a news conference; the following is an edited version. Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian opens on Friday.

By Jim Warren

Jim Warren began his professional career in the television and production industry working in Southern California where he discovered that he had a natural sales talent. Combining this talent with his love of film and video production, he built (and eventually sold) the largest infomercial production company of its day. Jim learned how the direct-response industry is an effective training ground for an analytical thinker who loves measured marketing and business metrics. With today’s focus on accountable marketing and online media, those lessons provided him with the advanced insight and skills needed for today’s online metric-driven business model. Connect with Jim Warren on LinkedIn