Director Adam McKay says his creative split from Will Ferrell left both of them “bummed out”
The end of Adam McKay’s creative partnership with Will Ferrell felt more “like a breakup,” the writer-director said in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
McKay, 53, and Ferrell, 54, both began their production company Gary Sanchez Productions in 2006 but the two announced they were parting ways in 2019.
“As clean as we both tried to make it go, there were moments afterward where we weren’t exactly chummy,” McKay told THR. “I kept trying to frame it like, ‘Hey, it’s okay. It’s its natural conclusion,’ but as I would say it, it didn’t quite feel right. It felt like a breakup.”
Despite ending their partnership — which spawned films like Step Brothers and Anchorman — McKay said he isn’t closing the door on working with Ferrell again in the future.
“I’m looking forward to when the dust has settled. I’d love to just go watch a Lakers game with him and kick back and get back to our old kind of rhythm,” he said. “But, yeah, I can’t lie, at the end of it we were both kind of bummed out.”
McKay added, “I love Ferrell. Always will. I had the best, most fun run of my life with him. Yes, I wish I had talked to him about it out of respect, but we were both focused on our new companies and life just took over.”
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Ferrell recently told The Hollywood Reporter of the split, “Adam was like, ‘I want to do this, and this, and this.’ He wanted growth and a sphere of influence, and I was just like, ‘I don’t know, that sounds like a lot that I have to keep track of.’ To me, the potential of seeing a billboard and being like, ‘Oh, we’re producing that?’ I don’t know. … At the end of the day, we just have different amounts of bandwidth.”
McKay then told Vanity Fair, however, that other conflicts led to the end of their partnership.
“I’ve learned some lessons. It’s always hard feelings,” said McKay, who won an Oscar in 2016 for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Big Short.
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According to Vanity Fair, the pair had talked about disbanding Gary Sanchez Productions prior to the split, but according to McKay, the breaking point came when he decided to recast the role of the Los Angeles Lakers’ former team owner Jerry Buss for an upcoming HBO series, hiring their pal and frequent collaborator John C. Reilly instead of Ferrell for the part.
“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,” said McKay.
He added, “Didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Wanted to be respectful. … I should have called [Ferrell] and I didn’t. And Reilly did, of course, because Reilly, he’s a stand-up guy.”
Ferrell currently stars in Apple TV+’s The Shrink Next Door series alongside Paul Rudd. McKay directed the upcoming Netflix film Don’t Look Up. Both Ferrell and McKay continue to serve as executive producers on HBO’s Succession.