Adam McKay

Manimal

If there’s anything that modern police procedurals are missing, it’s a star on the force who can go above and beyond the call of duty by quite literally bending the laws of human physiology. It’s really not that much to ask for, is it? That dashing hero of law enforcement was found for a brief while in the short-lived 1980s series Manimal, which introduced us to Dr. Jonathan Chase, a cultured and wealthy individual who used his upbringing in Africa to unlock the many secrets that divide the human and animal worlds. Those secrets apparently uncover what allows humans and animals to seamlessly transition between species, because Dr. Chase takes advantage of his newfound knowledge by doing just that. As Manimal, he fights crimes by morphing into different animals. If that seems like a farfetched premise with not much reason behind his need to morph — he could probably catch a bank robber just as easily as a human man as he could as a bottle nosed dolphin, right? Then, it comes as no shock that the series was canceled after just eight episodes on air.

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Bring It On

If it suddenly got cold where you are, there must be some Toros in the atmosphere. After a wild, post-Wright ride to pick a director for Ant-Man, Marvel has picked a winner that absolutely no one could have guessed. Even when you tell your friends that it’s the director behind Bring It On, Yes Man and The Break-Up, they probably still won’t be able to pull his name out of thin air. But it’s right there in the headline, so we’ve got an advantage. Peyton Reed will step in where Edgar Wright has stepped out. According to Marvel, Reed will helm the project, and the major cast is all still in place. Paul Rudd is still Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Michael Douglas is still Henry Pym/Probably Old Ant-Man. Plus, Marvel is also reporting that Adam McKay — once thought to be in the running for the director gig — will be contributing to the script.

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The Flintstones

If someone put a gun to your head, then asked the following question: Who would you rather see in a Flintstones reboot – Seth MacFarlane or Will Ferrell? What would you say? Thankfully, none of us will be doing a prehistoric Sophie’s Choice anytime soon, because the decision’s already been made. THR reports that Ferrell and Anchorman series director Adam McKay will be executive producers on a new Flintstones movie for Warner Bros., with frequent Ferrell collaborator Chris Henchy penning the script (Henchy also wrote Land of the Lost, The Campaign, The Other Guys and the upcoming Ferrell vehicle Daddy’s Home). MacFarlane mounted a Flintstones TV reboot in 2011, but it fell apart for various reasons. Some (the executives at Fox) said the script was no good, while others (Seth MacFarlane) said MacFarlane was just too busy to work on it. Who knows where the truth lies.

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John C Reilly and Will Ferrell in Step Brothers

When Anchorman 2 was announced, the Adam McKay and Will Ferrell collaboration was a blessing for fans of the original film. Sure, another Anchorman movie meant that Ron Burgundy, Champ, Brian and the whole gang would be back for a new adventure after years of anticipation, but it also meant something truly terrible: a sequel to Step Brothers would never happen. The Ferrell and John C. Reilly film, in which two 40-something screw-ups are forced to move in together after their parents get married and then subsequently become best friends, is one of the finest comedies of our times — I’ve waxed poetic about its greatness before — and after the lackluster continuation of Ron Burgundy’s story, the fact that we wouldn’t be able to hear another refrain of “Boats ‘n Hoes” only hit harder. But today’s news is sweetening that bitterness just a little bit with word that Ferrell and Reilly are teaming up again for a different kind of story, and McKay is set to direct this one, too. According to Deadline, the duo will reunite for Border Guards, the tale of two All-American citizens who take it upon themselves to patrol our border with Mexico for illegal immigrants. Naturally, they’re both well-meaning idiots who can’t do their job properly, meaning they somehow wind up on the other side of the border without their passports or a way to get back home. It’s now up to them to figure out how to sneak back into the United States.

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Will Ferrell and friends in ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES

“It’s done. I think that’s it. It was great to do it, and it was so fun to work with those guys again, but I think that’s it for Ron Burgundy.” So says Adam McKay, director, co-writer and producer of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, and 2004′s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, when asked about a potential third installment. Will Ferrell, along with castmates Christina Applegate, Steve Carell, Paul Rudd, and David Koechner will make their final run together on the big screen starting today, with an R-rated, extended cut of the most recent theatrical release, with over seven hundred new jokes, which essentially turns this version of the film into a massive comedy stew of scenes that didn’t make the final cut, and a whole lot of improvisational comedy. It’s a seven day run in theaters, and according to McKay, that’s the last new Burgundy you’ll be getting from the Gary Sanchez Productions crew. Though it made $169,268,368 USD total gross worldwide, McKay appears content to move on to new projects, additionally shooting down another prospective sequel in Step Brothers 2 with some finality whilst discussing an Anchorman trilogy.

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Anchorman 2 Shark

February 28. One week only. See Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues in theaters nationwide. That sounds a little odd, doesn’t it? Anchorman 2 was already in theaters nationwide. It was actually there for a period of several weeks, during which anyone who wanted to see it probably did so. But director Adam McKay knows there’s always an audience for more of Ron Burgundy’s classy-yet-extremely-deplorable hijinks, and more importantly, he knows that there’s a mountain of unused improv footage from the filming of the Anchorman sequel. And so next week will see the release of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: Super-Sized R-Rated Version. It’s the same movie, more or less. Same story, same characters, same proud, firm mustache hair. The only difference is that McKay, Will Ferrell and several editors, through the ease of modern digital editing, have gone through the original cut and excised every single joke (save for a few that are story-necessary). Then, they filled each gap with an unused yuk found on the cutting room floor- 763 yuks, to be specific.

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Ferrell and McKay

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay wear many hats in this industry. As writers, directors, and actors, they’ve leant their touch to countless comedies that have that distinct Ferrell-McKay edge: both Anchorman films, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers, among others. That’s because they wear one of those hats together, as Gary Sanchez, Paraguayan financier, enterprenuer, and film producer at Gary Sanchez Productions. Ferrell and McKay have announced that Gary Sanchez’ next move is to launch a sister label that will focus on female-driven television and film projects. Gloria Sanchez Productions, named after Gary’s favorite step-grandaughter of course, will be headed by longtime Sanchez executive Jessica Elbaum. Elbaum worked with the duo on Step Brothers and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, and served as the producer of their female-centric film Bachelorette in 2012, which starred Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fisher, and Rebel Wilson. Apparently the Gloria Sanchez venture was Elbaum’s idea, one that Ferrell and McKay wholeheartedly backed, if their official statement is any indication: “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.”

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ferrell and mckay 02

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. When people talk of the best modern actor/director duos, they tend to leave out Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Maybe it’s because unlike 12 Years a Slave (the latest Fassbender/McQueen), Inside Llewyn Davis (the latest Goodman/Coens) and The Wolf of Wall Street (the latest DiCaprio/Scorsese) Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues won’t be winning any major awards this year. But the latest from Ferrell/McKay is scoring high marks from critics and audiences. And since their first feature collaboration, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy, they’ve consistently delivered the comedy goods. Look at the funniest of Ferrell’s movies over the past decade and you’ll see they’re primarily McKay’s. And you won’t even find any movies directed by McKay not starring his old Saturday Night Live buddy. It’s actually at SNL where this perfect duo technically made their first film together. While Ferrell was a cast member and McKay was head writer, McKay began his move to directing by creating the show’s Digital Shorts brand of videos, which were initially just sketches fully produced prior to the live airing of the program. The original Digital Short debuted on February 5, 2000, during an episode hosted by Alan Cumming and featuring J.Lo as musical guest. Titled either The H is O or The Heat is On depending on which part of the credit sequence you accept as being the title, it […]

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mckay

As their world keeps evolving, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) and his news team remain the same guys we met 10 years ago in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. They’re stuck in their adolescent and ignorant mindsets, which Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues challenges. For a man like Burgundy, real drama is having to accept a black woman as his boss. Heavy stuff. The old Channel 4 news team may not have changed, but their sequel has. Co-writer/director Adam McKay and his characters were barely bound by structural rules, giving Anchorman 2 some wild directions to go in. To no surprise, McKay took full advantage of those opportunities, and 60% of the time it worked every time. I spoke with McKay, who explained his improv method for the film in depth, described his minor battles with the MPAA and revealed the cameos he wanted but couldn’t get.

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review anchorman 2

Comedy sequels hardly ever inspire confidence. Most attempt to recapture what worked about the first movie, but that’s never proved to be the right way to go about it. That decision tends to lead to a calculated and stale result, missing the point of why its predecessor caught on with an audience in the first place: it was unexpected. Thankfully we have one exception to the rule, and it’s called Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Co-writer/director Adam McKay‘s sequel stays in tune with the spirit of the first movie, and sometimes revisits beats as well, but that approach is fitting for characters aren’t exactly fond of change. Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), Champ Kind (David Koechner), Bryan Fantana (Paul Rudd), and Brick Tamland (Steve Carell) are more or less the same people we saw in the first movie. The world is going through changes, but these four haven’t developed in the slightest. Some of the film’s best laughs come from them having to embrace these changes, like, having a black female boss. The movie starts with Ron Burgundy being fired, pushed away from his home, and, worst of all, working at SeaWorld. It’s the beginning of the end until a man, played by Dylan Baker, offers him an unlikely position as an anchor on a 24 hours news station. At first Burgundy scoffs at the idea, but when money comes into the equation, he takes the job and goes on a road trip to wrangle up his old news team. Bryan Fantana is […]

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Anchorman 2 Shark

Ron Burgundy! Yes. The latest trailer for Anchorman 2 is pitch perfect in its racist, chauvinist, animal-loving majesty. Trying to rise through the milk-soaked ashes, Burgundy and the team attempt to make their mark on the world of worldwide news. It looks like they’ll be facing all sorts of progressive ideas and a handful of ball checks. Plus, Ben & Jerry’s just announced they’d be making a Scotchy Scotch Scotch ice cream flavor in honor of the movie, so daydream about that while this:

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anchorman-commentary1

One of the funniest films of the new century is Adam McKay’s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. While it didn’t necessarily launch Will Ferrell’s lucrative film career, it definitely put him on the map as a comedy A-lister. However, it did help Steve Carell go from a somewhat obscure TV and movie bit player to a funny man in movies. While Anchorman was still in release, Ferrell and McKay sat down to record an unconventional commentary, which includes mostly random (and often facetious) discussions with no relevance to the film. There are also surprise guests who drop by, including call-ins from Paul Rudd and Christina Applegate, as well as an in-person visit from David Koechner. In line with the film’s absurdity, some people who have nothing to do with the film whatsoever (including Andy Richter, Tenacious D’s Kyle Gass, and even legendary musician Lou Rawls) join in. This commentary is not to be taken seriously, and quite possibly the same can be said for this article. Still, who knows? There might be some nuggets of truth in here as well.

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Anchorman 2 Poster

The world is about to meet Ron Burgundy. Again. Anchorman 2 hits theaters this Christmas, and even though there’s a second Anchorman movie already exists, this one still gets a “2″ in its name.  This time, Ron, Brick, Champ and Brian are re-teaming to polyester their way through the 1980s with the prospect of a 24-hour news channel dangling overhead. They’ve teased with images and one-liners and appearances on late night talk shows, but now the first trailer reveals that — just as he evolved for a world where women were empowered — Ron is learning a lot about race relations as his legend continues:

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The Boys Comic Book

Director Adam McKay (Anchorman, Eastbound & Down) might not be the first person you would expect to be pushing to get an adaptation of an ultra-violent Garth Ennis comic up on the big screen, but nonetheless the comedy veteran has been involved in putting together a film version of the creator’s anti-superhero yarn “The Boys” for quite a while now. For the longest time the director was set to put the project together for Columbia Pictures, but those plans hit a snag in February when the studio suddenly dropped it. Nonetheless, the director assured us that the film was not necessarily dead, and that he had multiple studios chomping at the bit to come on board and see that development of the property continued. Though, in the process of kicking the project around from place to place, it had unfortunately gone from being a faithfully hard-R recreation of Ennis’ work, to one that would have to be PG-13. Or, as McKay put it, “It’s now PG-13. But I found cool ways to keep it edgy. Nolan does so much with that rating. I want this movie to have the conceptual floor of MIB: the police for the superheroes, with the bad ass action groove of The Matrix or Oldboy.”

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Culture Warrior

Will Ferrell is a funny man. This seems to be a fact undeniable even to those who don’t otherwise care for his brand of comedy. Even though his schtick has become reliably familiar – he often plays variations of an over-privileged adult child who is hopelessly naïve in certain categories of social life and prone to random bursts of livid anger – its regularity has yet to prevent Ferrell’s comic talents from growing stale. There seems to also be some indescribable aura at the core of Ferrell’s comic talent, something about his appearance and demeanor that can’t be explained through analyses of timing and punchline, as evidenced by his strange appearance on Jimmy Fallon last May. For many, Ferrell’s comic appeal has been this essential, indescribably funny core since his SNL days. Ferrell is funny not exclusively because of his physical comedy or imitable characters; he, as a force of nature, is pure farce (a farce of nature?). But as his film career continues to accumulate titles and as his unique comic sensibilities become better-known with his roles as producer and writer, it’s clear that, beneath his farce, Ferrell has a confrontational political and satirical streak underlying much of his work, which has naturally led to him portraying a politician in Jay Roach’s The Campaign. Ferrell’s roles, however, often exercise a fascinating and occasionally self-defeating tension between satire and farce, with one element substituting, rather than laying the groundwork for, the other. Here’s an overview of the politics of Will […]

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Eastbound and Down ended on the perfect note last season. Whether there would be a fourth season was still up in the air, but Jody Hill and company gave their series a sense of closure. Unlike that cheap slap in the face Entourage gave to its fans – “It may not really be over because of that silly movie idea, but it might be!” – Kenny Powers’ arc and the show itself felt completed. However, apparently HBO disagrees, considering that they’ve recently ordered a fourth season.

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Once upon a time, Adam McKay’s upcoming football comedy Three Mississippi was going to be a glorious re-teaming of not only Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell’s dueling idiots act from The Other Guys, but also a re-teaming of Wahlberg and Alex Baldwin’s meathead chemistry from The Departed. But now Mark Wahlberg is dropping out of the movie, and heck, it isn’t even an Adam McKay comedy anymore. Just when things were looking so promising too. What happened? It’s a sad tale of other movies taking priority. With Peter Berg’s Battleship sinking at the box office, Universal got cold feet when it came to financing his next movie, Lone Survivor, which is about a Navy SEAL on a doomed mission. Without Universal fronting the bill, Berg needed a big name attached to the project in order to procure some new financing, and he got that in the form of Mark Wahlberg. As part of the deal, Wahlberg had to agree to make Lone Survivor his next project. The other movie that took the wind out of the sails of Three Mississippi is McKay and Ferrell’s upcoming Anchorman sequel. For the longest time nobody thought that movie was going to happen, but then it got unexpectedly green lit and suddenly McKay found himself in the position of having to drop out of Three Mississippi. Ferrell’s own commitments to that film made it pretty impossible for he and Wahlberg’s now inflexible schedules to synch up, so something had to be done.

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This past weekend, a new teaser trailer for Adam McKay’s highly anticipated comedy sequel Anchorman 2 played in theaters, but not many people got to check it out because it was attached to The Dictator and paying movie ticket prices and sitting through over an hour of Sacha Baron Cohen’s stale act just to see a few seconds of Anchorman goodness wasn’t a proposition for the weak at heart. But everybody who missed out can stop crying and start rejoicing, because not only has that teaser trailer now hit the net, but there’s also an alternate version of said trailer being hosted over at Funny or Die. Both trailers have a similar set-up: the guys strike iconic poses, get a chance to riff a funny line, and liberal use is made of that Alan Parsons Project song that Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat used to come out to in the ’80s and the Chicago Bulls used to come out to in the ’90s. But you should give each a look, because the one that appeared in theaters is dirtier and the one that’s exclusive to Funny or Die brings back Anchorman narrator Bill Kurtis. Hurry up and hit play before I keep typing and give away all the gags:

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The teaser trailer for Anchorman 2 is in front of The Dictator, which means it should be swimming its way onto the internet any second now. Wait for it. Wait. For it. But while you’re waiting, scope out this new poster for the forthcoming film which seems to have taken forever to greenlight and yet no time at all to film. It’s nowhere near being done, but doesn’t it feel that way? With Will Ferrell announcing the project on Conan, a trailer that’s already ready to roll and now one sheet work, it almost seems like we should be seeing Ron Burgundy in theaters next week or something. Nevertheless, by great Odin’s raven, here’s the poster:

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Culture Warrior

Tomorrow, the Sacha Baron Cohen-starring, Larry Charles-directed The Dictator opens. Unlike the previous two docu-prank collaborations between Charles and Cohen, the humor of the fully staged Dictator doesn’t so much rely on the reactions of ‘real people’ to an idiosyncratic foreigner as it uses its fish-out-of-water arc to chronicle the pseudo-enlightened changes that its eponymous character experiences (this is all based on the film’s advertising – I have yet to see it). With its riches-to-rags narrative, The Dictator seems to be the newest iteration of a long tradition in Hollywood comedy: the story of the redeemable asshole. It’s rather appropriate that the teaser trailer for Anchorman 2 will be premiering in front of The Dictator.  Will Ferrell has made the redeemable asshole into something of an art form in his collaborations with Adam McKay. Ferrell’s often narcissistic, privileged, ignorant, and empathy-challenged creations should, by any measure of any other genre (audiences are far less tolerant of asshole protags in, say, dramedys) be reviled by audiences. But we ultimately find something redeemable, even lovable, in Ferrell’s jerks, even if this surface-level redemption overshadows the fact that they never quite achieve the level of self-awareness that would actually redeem one from assholedom. These are characters we would likely avoid in nearly any real-life circumstance, but yet we go see movies about them learning life lessons which add up to little more than common knowledge for the rest of us. The redeemable asshole is often a white male who is conniving, manipulative, entitled, […]

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