Together, they made many of the heyday of American comedy of the 2000s and 2010. But after a 25-year collaboration, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay went their separate ways professionally and then personally. A look back at the end of a legendary Hollywood duo.
Ferrell – McKay: an extensive and exceptional filmography
One gradually leaves the spotlight, the other takes it to the max. Two trajectories now reversed for Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, as the two men have built together, for more than a decade, a major part of American comedy. Will Ferrell has arguably remained most loyal to the original line, making the actor, screenwriter and producer in comedy films and series. Adam McKay made a radical shift in 2015 becoming director, screenwriter and producer of dramatic and political films. We owe him to the cinema The Big Short, Vice and Don’t look up, the latter being distributed by Netflix.
On the television side, he is the producer – with Will Ferrell for the first season – of the great series of the moment Succession.
But before that, the two men delivered together cult comedies. We particularly remember The legend of Ron Burgundy in 2005, Ricky Bobby: king of the circuit in 2007, Brothers in spite of themselves in 2008 and Very Bad Cops in 2010. Films directed by Adam McKay and interpreted by Will Ferrell, also in the scenario of the first three cited. An efficient and prolific collaboration, also with the series Kenny powers, and other films after 2010, under the banner Gary Sanchez Productions, their production company created in 2006.
Without forgetting the site Funny or Die, successful viral video platform. An exceptional partnership born from their meeting at the famous Saturday Night Live in 1995, for which they worked together until 2001-2002. But it’s all in the past, since the two men definitely fell out in 2019, as if to perfectly symbolize the radical direction taken by Adam McKay.
A different approach to success for Will Ferrell
We learned in April 2019 via Deadline that their collaboration within their company ended there, and that Gary Sanchez Productions would continue his activities but without Adam McKay. He then founded in October 2019 Hyperobject Industries. Two years later, it is in a big interview given to the Hollywood Reporter, in October 2021, that Will Ferrell brings for the first time some polite explanatory elements, without dwelling on the details.
Adam was like, “I want to do this, and this, and this”; he wanted to grow and develop his sphere of influence, and I was more like, “I don’t know, that seems to be doing a lot of things that I’m going to have to follow.” For me, the idea of seeing an advertisement and being surprised: “Oh, are we producing that too?” I don’t know … At the end of the day, everyone just has a different attention span.
Even if he has built a great reputation, a great fortune and has made almost an empire, it is this term “empire” that bothers him, and he sees this situation as “something that fell on him“. Quite the opposite of Adam Mckay, who would dream of continue building a media empire. This is so, according to the terms of the Hollywood Reporter and the testimonies gathered, the underlying reason for their professional separation. A cold separation but which only precedes a harsher separation between the two friends.
A final fallout over a program that Adam McKay wanted “realistic”
In 2019, the end of their partnership with Gary Sanchez Productions was not to mean the end of their artistic collaboration elsewhere. They just would do it in different business models. But around the same time as Adam McKay’s departure from their production company is announced, a developing project is definitely going to confuse them personally.
In 2019, HBO orders a pilot for a series about the legendary Los Angeles Lakers team of the 80s, a project initially led by Adam McKay and logically under the Gary Sanchez Productions banner. But the project lands in McKay’s new company, and Will Ferrell, a huge Lakers fan, sees his participation in the project become impossible. He wanted to play Jerry Buss, owner of the Lakers, but Adam McKay was of another opinion. A month after Will Ferrell in the THR, it is in a comparable format that the director of Vice give his version at Vanity Fair.
The truth is, since the series had always been thought about and developed, it would be very …