Adam McKay Describes 'Near Accident' on Anchorman Set Involving Will Ferrell: 'It Was Really Scary'

·3 min read
Will Ferrell Adam McKay
Will Ferrell Adam McKay

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Adam McKay is opening about a scary incident that happened on the set of Anchorman 2 nearly eight years after the film premiered.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that was published on Wednesday, McKay, 53, was asked what he thought of the fatal Rust shooting that took the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. After describing the on-set tragedy as his "greatest single fear as a producer and a director," he told the story of a "really scary" "near accident" on set of Anchorman 2 involving Will Ferrell.

"It was a scene where Ron Burgundy was going to hang himself. It was a silly joke," the Don't Look Up director started. "For a half a second, the rig didn't operate properly and there was actual tension on the rope, but then it gave way and Will was OK. Thank God no one was hurt. We were sick about it for two days. We said, 'All right, let's stop. Let's have a meeting.' "

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Will Ferrell Adam McKay
Will Ferrell Adam McKay

Craig Barritt/Getty

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The Big Short director went on to describe another incident on the set of the first Anchorman movie involving one of the scenes with a live bear. "The bear did a hint of a bluff charge for a second," McKay recalled. "From that moment on, I said, 'I will never put a live animal in a shot with an actor ever again.' So every time I do it, it's a composite shot because it's not worth it."

According to the U.S. National Park Service, a bluff charge is "meant to scare or intimidate," and a bear will "pull itself up to look bigger" during the charge.

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McKay and Ferrell, 54, worked together on numerous films throughout their careers in Hollywood, including Step Brothers, Talladega Nights, and The Other Guys, and also served as partners in their Gary Sanchez Productions company.

However, after being in business together for 13 years, Ferrell and McKay decided to go their separate ways and dissolve their partnership in 2019. At the time, the longtime friends released a joint statement that read, "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."

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Adam McKay, Will Ferrell
Adam McKay, Will Ferrell

George Pimentel/Getty Adam McKay and Will Ferrell in September 2014

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in October, Ferrell opened up about no longer working with McKay, revealing partly why they split.

"Adam was like, 'I want to do this, and this, and this.' He wanted growth and a sphere of influence, and I was just like, 'I don't know, that sounds like a lot that I have to keep track of,' " Ferrell admitted. "To me, the potential of seeing a billboard and being like, 'Oh, we're producing that?' I don't know. … At the end of the day, we just have different amounts of bandwidth."