Adam McKay and Will Ferrell had one of the most fruitful working relationships of the early 2000s. They collaborated wonderfully, producing comedies, writing, directing, and leaving their mark on Hollywood. Perhaps their most successful collaboration was Anchorman, whose endlessly quotable lines still dominate memory today. But the two actually stepped away from a production company they had together.
Now we're hearing the story from behind the scenes.
In a new Vanity Fair profile, McKay opened up about a friendship that's on the rocks. While the rumor was that McKay wanted to produce more projects than Ferrell was comfortable engaging with, McKay said that was only the start of it. It came down to the casting of McKay's Los Angeles Lakers TV show, Showtime. Ferrell wanted to play Jerry Buss, but McKay had other ideas.
He told Vanity Fair, “The truth is, the way the show was always going to be done, it’s hyperrealistic. And Ferrell just doesn’t look like Jerry Buss, and he’s not that vibe of a Jerry Buss. And there were some people involved who were like, ‘We love Ferrell, he’s a genius, but we can’t see him doing it.’ It was a bit of a hard discussion.”
Ferrell was replaced by John C. Reilly, who was his Step Brothers co-star. McKay said, “I should have called him and I didn’t. And Reilly did, of course, because Reilly, he’s a stand-up guy… I fucked up on how I handled that. It’s the old thing of keep your side of the street clean. I should have just done everything by the book.”
This is a real bummer to hear. This business is hard enough, and friends are not just connections but relationships that can support you through the ups and downs of this industry. Losing one is devastating. Losing one because you didn't pick up the phone truly sucks.
If there's a lesson to walk away with here, it's that you should always go the extra mile, especially for friends. Working with them on your plans is one of the greatest joys, but things can be messy when people are fired or contract talks begin.
McKay, to his credit, seems to understand this and has been trying to restart talks with Ferrell. We hope they find common ground and work together again soon.
Let us know what you think in the comments.