The Truth About Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Breakup


| LAST UPDATE 11/30/2021

By Molly Houghton
Patrick McMullan / Contributor via Getty Images
Will Ferrell Adam McKay

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay were once the comedy duo that dreams are made of. Until they all of a sudden weren't. Now, the Don't Look Up director finally opened up about what went down between the two Hollywood icons and their not so amicable split.

Will Ferrell Adam McKay split
Jeff Kravitz / Contributor via Getty Images

Anchorman, Step Brothers, and more - it's hard to imagine our screens without them. But back in 2019, the power pair that brought us these hilarious masterpieces went their separate ways. "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," Ferrell and McKay said in a statement at the time. But that turned out to be far from the truth.

Will Ferrell Adam McKay breakup

Ahead of the release of his new comedy, Adam sat down and revealed the truth of their professional breakup and its aftermath. "I said, 'Well, I mean, we're splitting up the company,'" McKay recalled of his last phone conversation with Will Ferrell. "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."

Will Ferrell Adam McKay

While things were bumpy for a bit before then, their relationship really took a turn when Will caught wind that Adam would not be casting him as LA Lakers' former team owner Jerry Buss in his HBO series. "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."

Will Ferrell John C. Reilly
Columbia/Kobal/Shutterstock via Getty Images

And when he cast Will's Step Brothers costar John C. Reilly instead - and didn't warn his friend - there was no going back. "I should have called [Ferrell], and I didn't," McKay confessed. "And Reilly did, of course, because Reilly, he's a stand-up guy... I f***ed up on how I handled that."

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
John C. Reilly Adam McKay
Patrick McMullan / Contributor via Getty Images

Adam continued, "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 sh**? We worked together for 25 years. Are we really going to let this go away?'" But his ex-partner in crime saw things differently. "[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."