After working together for over two decades and delivering such comedy classics as Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers, creative partners and seemingly still friends Will Ferrell and Adam McKay announced in 2019 they were pulling the plug on their joint company Gary Sanchez Productions. At the time, Ferrell and McKay released a statement saying, “The two of us will always work together creatively and always be friends. And we recognize we are lucky as hell to end this venture as such.” Unfortunately, they would never work together again nor remain friends, it appears.
In a lengthy new profile for Vanity Fair to promote his upcoming star-studded disaster film, Don’t Look Up, McKay has opened up about the split from Ferrell, which he blames himself for causing. According to the writer/director, the situation deteriorated after he made a decision to replace Ferrell as former Lakers owner Jerry Buss in a new HBO limited series about the team’s dominance in the ’80s.
As a huge Lakers fan, Ferrell was excited to play Buss. However, there were concerns that Ferrell wasn’t right for the part, and ultimately, McKay recast mutual friend John C. Reilly as Buss. The problem was that McKay did it without telling Ferrell first, and it imploded both their company and friendship. Via Vanity Fair:
McKay says he’s written emails to Ferrell, attempting a rapprochement, but has never heard back. “I f*cked up on how I handled that,” McKay laments. “It’s the old thing of keep your side of the street clean. I should have just done everything by the book.”
“In my head, I was like, ‘We’ll let all this blow over. Six months to a year, we’ll sit down, we’ll laugh about it and go, It’s all business junk, who gives a shit? We worked together for 25 years. Are we really going to let this go away?’” But Ferrell, he continues, “took it as a way deeper hurt than I ever imagined and I tried to reach out to him, and I reminded him of some slights that were thrown my way that were never apologized for.”
What stings even more with the split, as the profile reveals, is that Ferrell and McKay are not fans of “Hollywood clichés,” and now, they are one. “Let’s not become an episode of Behind the Music. Don’t let it happen,” McKay said. “And it happened.”
(Via Vanity Fair)