Paramount releases the trailer for The Big Short.
Ferrell and McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions, along with Miller’s Mosaic, receive the go ahead from Sony Pictures Animation to start a live-action/animation hybrid action-comedy based production of Manimal, the cult 1980s TV show about a man who fights crime using his ability to morph into animals. McKay:
I think it’s right down our alley, it’s what we do—it’s tongue-in-cheek and has an action component, but overall it’s a comedy. Like The Catcher In The Rye or The Sound And The Fury, Manimal has always been one of those elusive projects every producer dreams of taking to the silver screen,” said McKay. “I know the movie will be funny and entertaining, but will it be the first film to win a Pulitzer? We’ll just have to see.
Writing duo Ferrari and Barrer are hired to rewrite Adam McKay’s revised script for the film. The pair will serve as production writers based at the Atlanta set.
Marvel announces Reed as the new director of the film scheduled for release July 17, 2015. Previous director candidate McKay is rewriting the script. Marvel also releases the film’s extended logline:
Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang (Rudd) must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Douglas), protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
McKay decides against directing the upcoming Ant-Man film. The director was one of several replacements considered after former director Edgar Wright exited the project. Directors Rawson Marshall Thurber (We’re the Millers) and Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) are still in the running. McKay has tweeted on his decision:
And yes, met w/Marvel. Kirby & Lee r my Lennon Mccartney so it was awesome. But have other projects I'm committed to. Not sure it can work.
— Adam McKay (@GhostPanther) May 31, 2014
The director is attached to the film adaptation of Michael Lewis’s The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. The film is faced on the housing and budget crisis of the 2000s. McKay is writing the script for the film, which is being produced by Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Paramount.
Michael Lewis has the amazing ability to take complex formulas and concepts and turn them into page turners. Plan B and I connected over that breathless quality the book has.
Bidding opens at CharityBuzz for a role as an extra in McKay’s next film. A minimum of $2,850 is required for bidding, with proceeds going to The Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence. The bidding rules specify:
Location, dates and cast of Adam McKay’s next film are not yet set.
McKay, Ferrell, and Henchy announce Gloria Sanchez Productions, a new female-focused movie and TV division that will help establish new female voices. Jessica Elbaum, a collaborator with the trio’s Gary Sanchez Productions, is the new division head. Ferrell and McKay say:
When Jessica came to us with this idea, we thought it was fantastic. She has worked with some of the great female voices in comedy and has proven herself as a gifted producer who has a keen eye for material.
Nine years after the original Anchorman, the sequel is released. Ferrell and Applegate reprise their roles with a script written by Ferrell and McKay. McKay also returns as director. The film starts with Corningstone being promoted to full-time anchor and Burgundy being fired and forced to work part-time at Sea World. McKay says Burgundy is more relevant than ever:
It’s crazy — “Anchorman” is a movie that certainly fit the time when it came out and every year it gets more and more relevant. Part of what inspired the movie was just how ridiculous the news had become. It was all ratings driven. The people were getting better and better looking. The weather women were getting outrageously beautiful. It was all about the voice and the hair…So yes, sadly, the character has gotten more and more relevant as the news has gotten to be nothing more than a ratings-driven profit machine that is never going to examine any of the real power in this country. The ridiculousness of “Anchorman” got less and less observed.
The Roach-directed political comedy appears in theaters. Working titles include Dog Fight and Southern Rivals. The film stars Will Ferrell and Zack Galifianakis as rivals in a North Carolina election being manipulated by the Motch brothers. Henchy and Harwell write the script, with McKay assisting on the original story. When asked about the film’s appeal for audiences, Ferrell says:
We’re hoping the audience enjoys it. It’s poking fun at the political system. There’s very good jokes in it and also there’s a little bit of a message that doesn’t swing right or left. It’s just a good message for the American people at home, I think.
McKay again teams with star Ferrell and co-writer Henchy for this action comedy, focused on uncouth NYPD officers Allen Gamble (Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg). McKay explains how the idea to collaborate with Wahlberg came about:
We just came to him strictly as fans. He just made us laugh in a lot of movies that aren’t necessarily considered comedies but have tons of funny stuff in them — like Boogie Nights and The Departed and I Heart Huckabees especially. I just thought he was really funny in that. So we kept kind of saying, “God, that guy’s good every time I see him.” And then we did a bit at the Oscars where we did a song called Comedian at the Oscars, and it was Jack Black and Will and John C. Reilly. And they kind of sang out a line saying something like, “I’m gonna fight you Mark Wahlberg.” And then Will was like, “Not really. You really are a tough guy.”
The film is made on an estimated budget of $100 million and earns $35.5 million in its opening weekend.
The result of Funny or Die’s partnership with HBO premieres with a cast featuring Kirkman, Ferrell, and Cheadle. Ferrell and McKay are among the executive producers, as well as former SNL head writer and site creative director Steele. Steele explains how he was wooed to join the new production:
We worked together there for five years. They were always trying to get me to come out to California. I felt like I had done everything I wanted to do at Saturday Night Live, and this was a strange and wonderful opportunity to be a part of the Internet and stay in television as well.
The first episode of the HBO comedy co-produced by McKay and Ferrell premieres. McBride stars as Kenny Powers, a former MLB pitcher forced to move back in with his brother in his hometown. The series receives a six-episode order from the cable channel.
McKay and Ferrell’s Broadway show You’re Welcome, America: A Final Night with George Bush opens in previews at the Cort Theatre on Bush’s last night in office. The show opens on February 1 and runs through March 15. The show is also broadcast on HBO on March 14. On the week ending February 15, the show breaks the theatre’s house record, taking in over $846,500.
McKay co-writes (with Ferrell) and directs this comedy about two middle-aged men who become roommates when their parents get married. Ferrell stars as Brennan Huff, while Reilly appears as Dale Doback. Ferrell explains his approach to his character:
Well, it’s not far from my current status. I just tried remembering back to those feelings when you felt awkward and shy in adolescence. One of those things about being an actor is that we don’t have to fully grow up in a way.
The film is made with an estimated budget of $65,000 and makes $30,940,732 in its opening weekend.
HBO purchases a stake in Funny or Die and commissions McKay, Ferrell, Henchy, and Judd Apatow to produce an initial series of 10 half-hour episodes. The cable channel looks for an experienced producer to join the project, which begins after talks between executives and Ferrell and McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions. McKay says:
Our idea in going into Funny or Die was that it would be a kind of clubhouse for us and friends of ours who could come and try stuff that they couldn’t do as easily in movies or TV. And it was also about us getting to find new talent.
McKay once again directs Ferrell and daughter Pearl in this short for Funny or Die. McKay also stars as a policeman alongside Henchy. Pearl appears as “The Confession Maker” as she interrogates Ferrell’s character.
McKay’s second film as co-writer/director starts showing in theaters. Ferrell co-writes and stars as Ricky Bobby, a top-ranked NASCAR driver, while Reilly plays teammate Cal Naughton. McKay explains how Reilly adapted to the director’s unique style:
He is incredible, a revelation. We were amazed at how well he did with improvisation.
The film makes $47,042,215 in its opening weekend.
McKay releases an “alternate film” to Anchorman comprised of sub-plots and alternate takes dropped from the original release, starring Ferrell and Applegate in the same roles. In addition to Burgundy’s conflict with Corningstone, the film includes a plot about a group of thieves known as “The Alarm Clock”. The film is not rated.
McKay directs and co-writes (with Will Ferrell) the comedy Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. The 1970s-set film stars Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy, the top-rated newsman in San Diego, and Christina Applegate as the ambitious female anchor who joins his team.
McKay hosts the opening program of the fourth annual Chicago Short Comedy Video and Film Festival at the Biograph theater. The program includes a screening of 16 shorts, including two of McKay’s. The Procedure stars Dafoe, Ferrell, and Richter in a story focusing on surgical implants, while Five Finger Discount stars McKay and Shannon as a pair of dog thieves.
We got this through simply because the first one did work really well, and everyone was going, “Are these hit characters?” But then, it was far too strange to be hit characters. But it was mainly John Goodman and Alec Baldwin are the sole reason we got to do a bunch of these ’cause every time they would show up, they would go, “Are we doing a Brasky?” And I could see Lorne and the other producers kind of roll their eyes like, “I guess we’re doing a Brasky.” That was how we got those on.
McKay writes his first episode for Saturday Night Live, Mariel Hemingway/Blues Traveler. He also appears in the cast as a Construction Worker and Bob (uncredited) alongside Jim Breuer, Will Ferrell, Darrell Hammond, and others.
The troupe emerges in Chicago as a collective of members from other improv and sketch performance groups. Founding members include Besser, Farahnakian, McKay, Roberts, Sanz, and Walsh. McKay says:
The first UCB show we ever did was called Virtual Reality. We would pluck someone out of the audience, and they would go with me and a cameraman in a car around the neighborhood—like we were doing sort of a Jack Kerouac drive around the country. Then we’d quickly edit the tape and show it to the audience ten minutes after we got back.
McKay drops out of Temple University and moves to Chicago after discovering improv.
I dropped out of college, sold my comic-book collection, bought a 1976 Chrysler New Yorker that was actually a dead man’s car, and set out to do anything I wanted. It’s almost a Johnny Cash song, but I was looking to do something that would give me infinite possibilities as a performer and would never bore me onstage.
He begins taking courses at ImprovOlympic.
Adam McKay is born in Denver, Colorado to a musician and cocktail waitress. He grows up in Malvern, Pennsylvania and remembers his first experience watching the Three Stooges at age 7:
I laughed so hard that tears came out of my eyes.