Adam McKay Reveals Reason For Split With Will Ferrell
After one of the most prolific and creatively successful comedy partnerships of the 21st century — they made Anchorman and Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, and produced countless other projects through their various companies — Adam McKay and Will Ferrell simply stopped working together. In 2019, they announced they were dissolving their partnership, sold their Funny or Die website, and broke up their Gary Sanchez Productions into two separate entities. When they announced the split, they released a statement claiming “The two of us will always work together creatively and always be friends.” But so far, they haven’t worked together again.
According to McKay, in a new profile in Vanity Fair, they’re not friends anymore either. He revealed that while their interests had begun to diverge years before — with McKay choosing to focus on more overtly political and less overtly comedic projects, and Ferrell mostly wanting to make comedy movies (and stuff he could star in) — their breaking point came during the development of a still-unreleased HBO series about the Los Angeles Lakers. McKay initially cast Ferrell as longtime Lakers owner Jerry Buss. But then he changed his mind and decided that for the “hyperrealistic” tone he was going for, John C. Reilly would actually be a better fit. So he recast Ferrell’s part without telling him.
Here’s how McKay describes his actual last conversation with Ferrell to date:
I said, ‘Well, I mean, we’re splitting up the company,’ recounts McKay. ‘And he basically was like, ‘Yeah, we are,’ and basically was like, ‘Have a good life.’ And I’m like, ‘F—, Ferrell’s never going to talk to me again.’ So it ended not well.
For his part, while not going into specifics about any individual projects, Ferrell said in a recent interview that his partnership with McKay ended because “[McKay] wanted growth and a sphere of influence” and that didn’t appeal to him.
As for a potential reunion, it doesn’t sound likely in the immediate future; McKay told Vanity Fair he’s emailed Ferrell, trying to find a way to reconcile their differences, but “has never heard back.” So don’t hold your breath for that Step Brothers 2. As for McKay, his next film, the apocalyptic comedy Don’t Look Up, premieres on Netflix on December 24.