‘Anchorman’ Director Adam McKay Reveals Will Ferrell Stopped Speaking To Him After HBO Lakers Series Casting

“We worked together for 25 years. Are we really going to let this go away?”

(Getty Images)

Looks like that Step Brothers sequel won’t be happening after all.

Adam McKay, director of the iconic Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly-led buddy comedy and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, opened up about the sudden end of his friendship and professional partnership with Ferrell for the first time in a new Vanity Fair profile.

As the New York Post notes, Ferrell and McKay created the comedy video website Funny or Die and founded Gary Sanchez Productions, the production company behind hit comedy movies and TV shows including Anchorman 2, The Other Guys, Drunk History and Eastbound & Down.

Their working relationship and friendship suddenly ceased in 2019, and now McKay is explaining why.

“I’ve learned some lessons. It’s always hard feelings,” McKay said. He decided to recast the role of former Los Angeles Lakers team owner Jerry Buss for a currently untitled HBO series, taking the plum part away from Lakers superfan Ferrell and giving it to his Step Brothers and Talladega Nights co-star Reilly instead.

“The truth is, the way the show was always going to be done, it’s hyper-realistic. 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,” McKay said.

“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.”

McKay added that he hasn’t spoken to Ferrell since they decided to dissolve Gary Sanchez Productions.

“I said, ‘Well, I mean, we’re splitting up the company,’ and he basically was like, ‘Yeah we are,’ and basically was like, ‘Have a good life.’ And I’m like, ‘Fuck, Ferrell’s never going to talk to me again.’ So it ended not well,” he continued.

“I fucked up on how I handled that,” McKay revealed. “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 “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.”

Ferrell revealed other reasons for parting ways with McKay in an October interview with the Hollywood Reporter.

“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,’ ” Ferrell said.

“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.”