Fans first got to know Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's friendship through their viral 2007 comedy short The Landlord, but the truth behind their professional rift is no laughing matter.
According to McKay, who told his side of the story to Vanity Fair in a recent interview, his fallout with Ferrell came about after he chose not to cast the comedian in the coveted role of former Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss in the highly anticipated HBO drama about the franchise in the '80s. The part ultimately went to frequent Ferrell collaborator John C. Reilly, who replaced Michael Shannon in the project.
"I f--ked up on how I handled that," said McKay, who added that he's tried reaching out through email to Ferrell.
"It's the old thing of keep your side of the street clean," he continued. "I should have just done everything by the book."
Per McKay, he thought Ferrell would get over the casting snub in "six months to a year," allowing them to resume their friendship. However, Ferrell "took it as a way deeper hurt than I ever imagined," McKay revealed. And while the Don't Look Up director owned his part in the situation, he noted that there were some slights from Ferrell's side "that were never apologized for."
"Maybe there was a little shadow in there where I wasn't able to confront a harsher, darker side of myself," he shared, "that would ultimately err on the side of making the right casting choice over a lifelong friendship."
Through their production company Gary Sanchez Productions, Ferrell and McKay put out some of the most critically acclaimed movies and TV shows of the last decade, including Step Brothers, Succession, Daddy's Home and Eastbound & Down. But in April 2019, this successful partnership was brought to an end when the pair announced that they were going their separate ways professionally.
"The last 13 years could not have been more enjoyable and satisfying for the two of us at Sanchez Productions," the duo noted in a joint statement. "We give massive thanks to our incredible staff and executives and all the writers, directors and actors we worked with through the years. 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."
"Adam was like, 'I want to do this, and this, and this';" Ferrell said at the time. "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."
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