Ben Stiller takes on the roll of Derek Zoolander for a second time; on the cover of Vogue with co-star Penelope Cruz.

As film characters go, they don't get more farcical than Zoolander. He's the male model who can't turn left and also has the ability to stop weapons with his signature look.

Yet Zoolander actor Ben Stiller has revealed that some people find the film and its characters a realistic depiction of the fashion world.

The incomparable Derek Zoolander became a cult favourite and the film spawned millions of blue-steel moments across the globe in 2001 with its incredibly outlandish look at the world of fashion.

Designers were also assassins (Will Ferrell, as the brash and ridiculous Mugatu) and male models were at risk of death from frivolous fights at petrol stations.


But just as rockers, including Ozzy Osbourne, thought rock mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984) was actually a documentary of life on the road, Stiller says he's often approached by fashion-industry types who say Zoolander seems real.

"I get models and male models coming up to me saying 'that's my life, oh my God that's my life'. Some people think it's a documentary," Stiller says.

"For some reason, people in the fashion world do seem to connect with the movie.

"I look at it and go 'wow, this is a very cartoonish reality' but there are certain aspects of how people react in high-pressure fashion moments that relate in real life, even though it's all very heightened in the fashion world too," he said.

Realistic or not, Zoolander certainly struck a chord with audiences who like to laugh, and 15 years later Stiller has come back with a sequel.

In preparation for his return to the role, the actor went back and watched the first film again.

"At first it was a little bit like 'Oh wow, how do I do this?' I watched the first movie before we started shooting just to get a sense, because it's been a while," he said.

"But then we sort of fell into it after a week or two and it felt very natural. It was fun because Derek's a very specific character, he reacts to things in a very specific way."

In keeping with the tradition of the first film, Zoolander 2 has a lot of celebrity cameos. Justin Bieber's appearance has already been revealed in the trailer for the movie but the rest will remain a secret until its release.

One legendary appearance from the first film, which seems particularly poignant now, is the late David Bowie, who Stiller didn't approach for the sequel.

"I didn't think we could ever top that moment with David," he said.

"First of all, the fact that he even did the first movie was amazing because nobody knew what we were doing at that point and I don't know why he said yes.

"But he legitimised us and I just felt like there were certain scenes that I couldn't really top from the first movie so I didn't even want to try to attempt to do that," he said.

Another person who doesn't reappear in the sequel is US-presidential wannabe Donald Trump, although Stiller says he did approach him - albeit with an ulterior motive.

"I did ask Donald Trump to come back. I was just trying to get him to drop out of the presidential race," Stiller said.

The actor's wife of 16 years, Christine Taylor, played his love interest in the first movie but in this instalment, Stiller has enlisted Spanish actress Penelope Cruz for the task.

According to Stiller, this hasn't made for awkward moments around the dinner table because Taylor was cool with it.

"She was supportive of it," he said.

Having a new female lead gave Stiller the opportunity to kick-start the story and make some drama happen and - without giving too much away - Taylor does return for a small role in the sequel.

"She understood and she's in the movie which is great." And Stiller is happy to be back in the role again rocking Magnum, Blue Steel - and a new look, which will be revealed in the film.