Will Ferrell’s former longtime collaborator Adam McKay has revealed how the pair fell out and ended their friendship.
The duo frequently worked together on huge comedy hits like Anchorman, Step Brothers, The Other Guys, and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and even had a production company together.
But in a new interview with Vanity Fair, McKay, 53, admits that things turned sour between them when he decided to cast John C. Reilly in a role that Ferrell, 54, wanted, that resulted in them parting ways personally and professionally.
McKay explains in the interview how he was working on the upcoming HBO limited series about the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team in the 1980s – and wanted to cast Reilly, 56, in the lead role to play team owner Jerry Buss.
Formerly close: Will Ferrell’s long-time collaborator Adam McKay reveals they fell out after the director cast John C. Reilly in HBO show instead of the Elf star (the pair pictured in 2013)
However, McKay admits that he should have handled his decision better, as it was expected by many that Ferrell would land the role due to their close working relationship.
‘I f***ed up on how I handled that,’ he said in the interview.
‘The truth is, the way the show was always going to be done, it’s hyperrealistic,’ he explained.
‘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.”‘
In character: John C. Reilly looked unrecognizable while in character as late Lakers owner Jerry Buss during shoots for the HBO series Showtime in Los Angeles just last month
Not for Will: Adam McKay wanted John C. Reilly to play Lakers owner Jerry Buss (pictured above in 2006) for an upcoming HBO show
‘It was a bit of a hard discussion. I should have called him and I didn’t,’ McKay admitted.
‘And Reilly did, of course, because Reilly, he’s a stand-up guy. Maybe there was a little shadow in there where I wasn’t able to confront a harsher, darker side of myself, that would ultimately err on the side of making the right casting choice over a lifelong friendship.’
The damage to their friendship was so severe, that in 2019, after the casting decision had been made, the former pals split up their production company.
In a statement at the time they said: ‘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.’
No longer pals: Adam revealed Will told him to ‘have a nice life’ at the end of a very abrupt phone call
Team: The duo frequently worked together on huge comedy hits like Anchorman, Step Brothers, The Other Guys, and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (pictured above)
However, the interview profile points out that the statement was not sincere, as the pair would not ‘always’ be friends.
In fact, Ferrell told McKay to ‘have a nice life’ at the end of a very abrupt phone call ending their partnership.
‘The last time they talked was a curt phone conversation agreeing to break up,’ Adam recalled
‘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, “F*ck, Ferrell’s never going to talk to me again.” So it ended not well.’
Reading for the same part? McKay cast John C. Reilly over his pal Will Ferrell in the upcoming series Showtime for HBO (Pictured above in Step Brothers from 2008)