In an interview with Vanity Fair, McKay discussed the breakdown of their two-decade long relationship that included movies such as Step Brothers and Anchorman.
McKay says their relationship faltered when he fired Jimmy Miller, who also represented Ferrell, as his manager: “I’ve learned some lessons. It’s always hard feelings.”
The end point for the duo, who created Gary Sanchez Productions together, came when McKay recast Ferrell’s part in a forthcoming miniseries about the Los Angeles Lakers. He gave the part to John C Reilly without telling Ferrell first.
“I should have called him and I didn’t,” McKay added. “And Reilly did, of course, because Reilly, he’s a stand-up guy.”
He also added that Ferrell was never his first choice for the role, which was former Lakers owner Jerry Buss.
“The truth is, the way the show was always going to be done, it’s hyper-realistic,” he said. “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.”
McKay also admitted that they have not spoken since they dissolved their creative partnership and production company.
He says he has reached out to Ferrell, who he first met when they auditioned for Saturday Night Live together, but received no response: “I f***ed 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.”
McKay concluded by saying he never thought he and Ferrell would fall out permanently over their disagreements, saying: “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 s***? We worked together for 25 years. Are we really going to let this go away?’”
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He states that 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’s new movie, Don’t Look Up, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio and Meryl Streep is released in select cinemas in the US from 10 December and can be streamed on Netflix from 24 December.
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