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"Talladega Nights" Director Adam McKay Says He "F*cked Up" With Will Ferrell And Explained Why They Aren't Friends Anymore

"It ended not well."

Adam McKay is an Oscar-winning writer and director whose work you definitely know. He did The Big Short, and he's also the guy behind comedy classics like Anchorman and Step Brothers.

Adam McKay smiles for a photo at a red carpet event while wearing a suit jacket
Amy Sussman / Getty Images for Deadline

Of course, you know that Will Ferrell collaborated with McKay on those last two movies — and maybe you've wondered why they haven't worked together in recent years.

Will Ferrell sits at the anchorman's desk as Ron Burgundy
Dreamworks / courtesy Everett Collection

In a new Vanity Fair interview, McKay revealed that he isn't even on speaking terms with Ferrell anymore and doesn't anticipate reuniting with the actor any time soon.

McKay holds an award for a photo op
Stefanie Keenan / Getty Images for CDGA

Surprisingly, the reason for the split has to do with John C. Reilly, Ferrell's costar in the McKay-helmed Step Brothers and Talladega Nights, as well as Holmes & Watson.

John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell lean on a fence
Giles Keyte / Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

OK, so: McKay is currently developing an HBO series about the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s. Originally, Ferrell was cast as franchise owner Jerry Buss — but McKay didn't feel like he was right for the part.

Ferrell and Reilly hold resumes while sitting on a couch and wearing tuxedos
Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

“The truth is, the way the show was always going to be done, it’s hyperrealistic,” McKay 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.’ It was a bit of a hard discussion.”

So McKay ended up going with Reilly for the role — without letting Ferrell know. “I should have called him and I didn’t,” he said. “And Reilly did, of course, because Reilly, he’s a stand-up guy. … I fucked up on how I handled that. It’s the old thing of keep your side of the street clean. I should have just done everything by the book.”

Ferrell and Reilly fist bump in Nascar gear in front of a car in a garage
Sony Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

McKay claims that the last time he spoke with Ferrell was in 2019, when the pair decided to split up their production company, Gloria Sanchez Productions. “I said, ‘Well, I mean, we’re splitting up the company,'” he recalled. “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.’ So it ended not well.”

McKay and Ferrell talk on set of Anchorman 2
Gemma LaMana / Paramount / courtesy Everett Collection

The Vanity Fair story also notes that McKay has emailed Ferrell to mend fences but has yet to receive a response — and the director is pretty sure that their friendship is on ice for now.

Reilly, McKay, and Ferrell wave to the camera on the set of Step Brothers
Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

“In my head, I was like, ‘We’ll let all this blow over,'" McKay claimed. "[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.”

McKay puts his hands on his waist while smiling at Ferrell
Dreamworks / courtesy Everett Collection

Read the entire story here.