"I f---ed up on how I handled that," said McKay, who thought the feud would blow over. It didn't.
Their legendary partnership resulted in "Anchorman," "Talladega Nights" and Funny or Die ... but Will Ferrell and Adam McKay parted ways in 2019 and, according to a new interview with the latter, haven't spoken since.
After almost 15 years working together, the two dissolved their partnership and Gary Sanchez Productions in 2019, insisting they'd "always be friends." But, speaking with Vanity Fair, McKay admitted the falling out behind the scenes was anything but amicable.
As McKay started dipping his toes into more serious fare with projects like "Vice" and "The Big Short," it became clear the two had very different ideas on the projects they should take on under the Gary Sanchez umbrella. Speaking with THR this year, even Ferrell admitted he felt like there would be "a lot that I have to keep track of" had they continued working together, saying the two "just have different amounts of bandwidth."
Though they had apparently discussed dissolving the company multiple times, the straw that allegedly broke the camel's back was an upcoming HBO limited series about the Los Angeles Lakers. Ferrell was set to star as the team's owner Jerry Buss -- a casting decision McKay made but wasn't exactly thrilled with.
"The truth is, the way the show was always going to be done, it's hyperrealistic. And Ferrell just doesn't look like Jerry Buss, and he's not that vibe of a Jerry Buss," McKay told Vanity Fair. "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 eventually recast the role with John C. Reilly, who also happens to be one of Ferrell's best friends. He also did it on the sly, without letting Ferrell know beforehand. "I should have called him and I didn't," McKay said in hindsight, adding that Reilly did reach out to Ferrell because he's a "stand-up guy."
Ferrell was apparently furious and they decided to split professionally shortly after. The last time they spoke was when they agreed to dissolve their partnership, a move which was announced more than two years ago.
"I said, 'Well, I mean, we're splitting up the company,' and he basically was like, 'Yeah, we are,' and basically was like, 'Have a good life,'" claimed McKay. "And I'm like, 'F---, Ferrell's never going to talk to me again.' So it ended not well."
"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?'" McKay continued. He said that Ferrell, however, "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."
"I f---ed up on how I handled that," added McKay, who also claimed he has sent emails to Ferrell to attempt reconciliation, but hasn't heard back. "It's the old thing of keep your side of the street clean. I should have just done everything by the book."
TooFab has reached out to Ferrell's reps for comment.