Adam McKay recalls scary ‘near accident’ involving Will Ferrell on Anchorman set

‘We were sick about it for two days,’ said the filmmaker

Annabel Nugent
Thursday 09 December 2021 09:30
Anchorman 2 teaser trailer

Filmmaker Adam McKay has described a “really scary” incident where a stunt involving Will Ferrell went wrong during the filming of Anchorman 2.

McKay recalled the incident during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter when he was asked for his thoughts on the fatal Rust shooting that left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead.

The Step Brothers director said the tragedy was his “greatest single fear as a producer and a director”.

He went on to recall a “really scary” incident that occurred during the filming of the 2013 sequel to his hit comedy Anchorman.

“It was a scene where Ron Burgundy [played by Ferrell] was going to hang himself. It was a silly joke,” he said.

“For half a second, the rig didn’t operate properly and there was actually tension on the rope, but then it gave way and Will was OK. Thank God no one was hurt.”

He added that “we were sick about it for two days”, stating: “We said, ‘All right, let’s stop. Let’s have a meeting.’”

McKay also described another moment involving a bear during the filming of 2004’s Anchorman, which led him to never again use live animals in his films.

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay speak onstage at Sony Pictures Entertainment

“The bear did a hint of a bluff charge for a second,” he said. “From that moment on, I said I will never put a live animal in a shot with an actor ever again. So every time I do it, it’s a composite shot because it’s not worth it.”

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A “bluff charge” is when a bear charges but stops before making contact. It is intended to intimidate or scare.

McKay’s forthcoming film Don’t Look Up – which stars Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio – will be released in cinemas on 10 December.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, the Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to to find a helpline near you.

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