Update: Wednesday, February 23, at 12:20 p.m.: Adam McKay reiterated that he “fucked up” by not telling Will Ferrell first about casting John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss in Winning Time in a cover story for The Hollywood Reporter, saying that the casting happened “at this weird moment where Will and I weren’t exactly hugging each other, even though there was nothing that terrible.” McKay says that Reilly is the one who let Ferrell know that he was offered the Buss role. “Will is one of my best friends, Adam is one of my best friends, I was delighted to get the job, and that’s all I really have to say,” is all that Reilly really said. It’s all giving “high-school play callback” drama.
Original story follows.
It’s as though he’s stuck in a glass case of emotion. In an interview with Vanity Fair, writer-director Adam McKay spoke about the dissolution of his creative partnership — and friendship — with Will Ferrell. The two founded Funny or Die and Gary Sanchez Productions together; collaborated on such comedy classics as Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers; and had been friends and collaborators since they started at Saturday Night Live in 1995. But in 2019, they released a joint statement announcing the end of Gary Sanchez: “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.”
It turns out that wasn’t entirely true. McKay says the two have not spoken since before they released that statement and the conversation ended with Ferrell “basically” saying “Have a good life.” The reason for Ferrell’s cold shoulder, McKay says, can be traced to the them developing an HBO limited series called Showtime about the ’80s-era Lakers; Ferrell wanted to play owner Jerry Buss, but McKay went behind his back and cast John C. Reilly instead. McKay admits, “I fucked up on how I handled that,” 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.’”
Succession-style petty drama behind the scenes of the Succession production company. You hate to see it.