Director Adam McKay has opened up for the first time about his feud with former business partner and longtime collaborator Will Ferrell. 

The duo created the comedy video site Funny or Die and founded Gary Sanchez Productions together. On top of that, Ferrell starred in several of McKay’s films, including Step Brothers and Anchorman.

The pair announced they were ending their working relationship in 2019, claiming in a statement that they would still “always work together creatively and always be friends”.

However, McKay has told Vanity Fair that he hasn’t spoken to Ferrell since they parted ways professionally, claiming that his emails to him have gone unanswered.

“I’ve learned some lessons. It’s always hard feelings,” he said.

McKay explained that their rift started when he decided to cast John C. Reilly, Ferrell’s co-star in Step Brothers, instead of Ferrell in the role of LA Lakers’ former team owner Jerry Buss for an HBO series.

“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,” he said.

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He continued: “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.”

He continued on to reveal that he “fucked up” how he handled both the recasting and the decision to part professionally, saying it “ended not well”.

“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,'” he said.

“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?’” he continued.

However, 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 apologised for.”

Meanwhile, Ferrell also opened up about the friendship breakup in an October interview with the Hollywood Reporter, saying: “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,” he said.

For more on this topic, follow the Film & TV Observer.

Check out Adam McKay and Will Ferrell in a 2004 interview:

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