Check Out the WE THE ECONOMY Animated Shorts, Adam McKay’s “The Unbelievably Sweet Alpacas” and Chris Henchy’s “GDP Smackdown”

by     Posted Yesterday

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Financial institutions have a leg-up on the American populace because economics are difficult to understand.  They’re also kind of boring, and Americans love to be entertained.  We the Economy: 20 Short Films You Can’t Afford to Miss is a series of short films that attempt to use entertainment as means of educating people about the economy.  Funny or Die has released two animated shorts from the anthology: “The Unbelievably Sweet Alpacas” directed by Adam McKay (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy) and “GDP Smackdown” by Chris Henchy (writer on The Campaign).

These are interesting shorts, but they unintentionally reveal another problem in America: confirmation bias.  For example, those who deny income inequality exists in America or that any solution is “socialism” won’t be swayed by McKay’s short. There’s no argument that can upset their worldview.  These shorts may use entertainment to convey economic facts, but in America, the only “facts” we want are the ones that don’t make us reconsider the world.  Hit the jump to check out the short films.  We the Economy is now available on multiple platforms.

Adam McKay Says UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT Isn’t Happening; THE BIG SHORT Is Next But STEP BROTHERS 2 Could Happen in a Few Years

by     Posted 2 days ago

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Adam McKay is certainly one of the most talented people working in the comedy genre today, with a career that goes back to his days as head writer on SNL and includes writing and directing evergreen comedies like Anchorman, Talladega Nights, and Step Brothers.  Recently, though, McKay has shown an ambitiousness that sees him branching out into different avenues.  He tackled his first sequel with the absurdly funny Anchorman 2, he worked with collaborator Paul Rudd to rewrite Marvel Studios’ upcoming superhero film Ant-Man, and his next film may seem him taking on dramatic material.

Steve recently sat down with McKay in anticipation of the upcoming short film series We the Economy: 20 Short Films You Can’t Afford to Miss, and during the course of their conversation he provided updates on a number of upcoming projects.  He revealed that his Uptown Saturday Night remake is not going forward, but said it’s looking like he will next tackle the housing/credit crisis film The Big Short, adapted from the Michael Lewis (Moneyball) book of the same name.  He also discussed other projects that are in the works, and said Step Brothers 2 is ready to go but he wants to tackle a few other kinds of films first before going back to another sequel.  Much more after the jump.

Adam McKay Talks Rewriting ANT-MAN with Paul Rudd; Reveals They Added “a Giant Action Sequence”, Made the Film Bigger and “a Little More Aggressive”

by     Posted 5 days ago

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While Ant-Man was one of the first feature film projects that Marvel Studios began developing, it went through some rather dramatic changes just months before finally starting production this summer.  Filmmaker Edgar Wright had been developing the movie for years, writing the screenplay with Joe Cornish and even casting the majority of the roles, but he left the project a few months before production over creative differences with Marvel.  The studio worked quickly to keep the project together and eventually signed Peyton Reed to direct, but before that Anchorman and Step Brothers director Adam McKay briefly flirted with the director’s chair.  While McKay subsequently opted not to take the helm, he did agree to come onboard as a screenwriter, fine tuning the script in the months leading up to the start of filming.

Steve recently spoke with McKay in anticipation of the upcoming short film series We the Economy: 20 Short Films You Can’t Afford to Miss, and during the course of their conversation McKay talked a bit about his involvement with Ant-ManPaul Rudd told us at Comic-Con that he had been working with McKay “every day for six weeks” on the Ant-Man script, and McKay confirmed as much in this new interview, elaborating on how he got involved in the project and his initial apprehension.  McKay also discussed the nature of the rewrite, saying they added some action beats and made the script “a little bigger, a little more aggressive, and funnier in places.”  Much more after the jump.

Seth Rogen, Adam McKay, and Ben Schwartz Teaming Up on New Comedy

by     Posted 34 days ago

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A formidable comedy trifecta is taking shape for a new comedy film.  Gary Sanchez Productions, Point Grey Pictures, and Good Universe announced today that they have acquired an untitled comedy pitch from actor/writer Ben Schwartz (House of Lies, Parks and Recreation), with Seth Rogen attached to star and Anchorman and Step Brothers helmer Adam McKay onboard to direct.  Schwartz will also co-star in the film, with Rogen noting, “Every two thousand years the planets of our galaxy align in a perfect line that funnels the cosmic energies of the universe to flow into one perfect comedic collaboration. The time is now. This is that project. Nothing will ever be the same.”  Rogen will also produce the film alongside McKay, Evan Goldberg, and Will Ferrell.

Schwartz recently worked with Rogen and Goldberg as an actor on the upcoming comedy The Interview, and he is a constant scene-stealer whenever he pops up on NBC’s Parks and Recreation as Jean-Ralphio.  Throw in the impeccable comedic talents of McKay and Rogen, and this project looks incredibly promising.  Read the full, humorous press release after the jump.

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay to Executive Produce HENCHMEN Adaptation

by     Posted 70 days ago

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A feature film adaptation of the short Henchmen: Ill Suited is moving ahead with some serious pedigree behind the scenes.  Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and Chris Henchy have come aboard Henchmen as executive producers and creative collaborators through their Gary Sanchez Productions company.  Based on the short film by Adam Wood, the story revolves around a janitor working in the bad guy museum of Supervillain City who happens upon a super-powered suit, causing mayhem as a result.  The feature adaptation will also focus on a “fallen henchman named Hank overseeing a motley crew of blue-collar workers in the Union of Evil.”  The short is animated, but it’s unclear if the feature film will move into the live-action realm or remain animated.

Per Deadline, Dennis McNicholas (Saturday Night Live) is completing a script rewrite, and Wood will direct the feature-length adaptation.  Gary Sanchez will partner with Bron Studios on the production, which is eyeing a 2016 start.  Watch the teaser for the original short film after the jump.

Paul Rudd Talks ANT-MAN Script at Comic-Con; Reveals He’s Been Working with Adam McKay ‘Every Day for Six Weeks’

by     Posted 87 days ago

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Over the past few months, Marvel’s production of Ant-Man has been in the news constantly, and not in a good way.  Fans were over the moon Edgar Wright was going to helm a Marvel movie that he co-wrote with Joe Cornish.  When Wright left the project over “creative differences,” most fans were angry with Marvel, and it’s the first time the company had to publicly deal with serious venom from the online community.  While Marvel has done their best by hiring Peyton Reed (a fellow geek who is dealing with the situation the best he can) and bringing in Adam McKay to help tweak the script, even if the movie is a home-run, fans are always going to wonder what might have been.

However, while I’ll always be upset we won’t see a Wright-helmed Ant-Man, I’m definitely curious what McKay is bringing to the script.  While many wondered if he just did a soft pass and tweaked some dialogue, Paul Rudd told me during a group interview at Comic-Con that he’s been working with McKay on the script “every day for six weeks and we’ve spent a lot of time on it.”  He went on to say “I love where we’re at.  It’s still the story that Edgar and Joe wrote and created and while we’re still polishing some things, I feel really good and excited about where we’re at.”  Hit the jump to watch the video interview with Rudd where he also talked about Michael Douglas, how they will shoot the Ant-Man sequences, what fans can expect with the dialogue, and more.

Will Ferrell and Adam McKay to Produce MANIMAL Adaptation for Sony Pictures Animation

by     Posted 92 days ago

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When Hollywood sets their sights on an adaptation, you never quite know how it’s going to turn out.  Is the tone going to be similar to the original and recreate what made it endearing, or will it be a tongue-in-cheek contemporary take?  Either approach can fail spectacularly or succeed beyond all expectations.  Now when the property in question is the short-lived TV series Manimal, it’s easy to write it off.  Enter Adam McKay and Will Ferrell.  You know what you’re getting with Gary Sanchez Productions, who might just be the best team to tackle the oddity that will be the Sony Pictures Animation live-action/animation hybrid, Manimal.  Hit the jump for more.

Marvel’s Kevin Feige Talks Edgar Wright’s Departure From ANT-MAN; Teases the Tone of DOCTOR STRANGE

by     Posted 96 days ago

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It will probably be a long time before we get some truly candid quotes regarding director Edgar Wright’s departure from Ant-Man.  Maybe in 20 years when Peter Biskind gets around to whatever book of his that will cover Hollywood from 2000-2020.  Today’s comments from Marvel head Kevin Feige on the matter are probably about as frank as things are going to get in the near future.  The fact of the matter is that this kind of stuff happens all the time, but the exceptions here are that Wright was on the project for eight years and was only months out from shooting.  For whatever reason, Disney and Marvel (with an emphasis on the former most likely) became unhappy with the script fashioned by Wright and co-writer Joe Cornish and brought on studio writers to take a crack at a polish.  When that polish wasn’t to Wright and Cornish’s liking, they exited the project.

Enter new director Peyton Reed (in my opinion a very talented filmmaker in his own right) and a new revision by Adam McKay (followed up by a production polish).  While Feige doesn’t give exact details of what went wrong, he does successfully paint a portrait of a flawed dynamic where everyone is being “too nice.”  Which can always lead to problems.  Hit the jump for more on the departure of Ant-Man director Edgar Wright as well as a few tidbits about Doctor Strange.

ANT-MAN: Marvel Confirms Peyton Reed as Director with Adam McKay Onboard as Screenwriter; First Official Synopsis Revealed

by     Posted 137 days ago

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The search is over for Ant-Man’s replacement director as Marvel confirms Peyton Reed as the new helmer.  In a bit of a surprising twist, Adam McKay will board the picture in a screenwriting capacity and will make contributions to the script.  Last night we reported that Reed had emerged as frontrunner for the position, though a rival story claimed that David Wain was also in contention.  Seems like the Reed story won out as the Yes Man director will now take over duties from Edgar Wright, who exited the film due to creative differences.  McKay was originally sought to replace Wright but turned down the offer fairly quickly, however, he must have shared a few notes with the studio to earn mention as a screenwriter.

Starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Michael Peña, Patrick WilsonEvangeline Lilly, and Corey StollAnt-Man opens July 17, 2015.  Hit the jump for more, including the first look at the film’s official synopsis.

TOP 5: MALEFICENT, ANT-MAN Director Search, New SNOWPIERCER Trailer, A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST, LEFT BEHIND Trailer Starring Nicolas Cage

by     Posted 144 days ago

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I’m a week late to the game on this one but I’m going to share my thoughts on X-Men: Days of Future Past today nevertheless. While not on par with the excellent X-Men: First Class, I found DOFP to be a worthy follow-up that does an admirable job of bringing continuity to the movie tapestry while mercifully retconning X-Men: The Last Stand out of the discussion almost entirely. Also, for all of the cynicism I threw the film’s way over Quicksilver’s costume design, Evan Peters steals the show during his all too brief screen time. Without giving away too much to those who still haven’t caught the movie, his primary scene is the best that DOFP has to offer and tops Nightcrawler’s attack on the White House in X2 which is not praise that I heap lightly. While not without its flaws (the scenes set in the future are far less compelling than the story playing out in the past), DOFP is still a solid entry in the series that has me looking forward to X-Men: Apocalypse.

All DOFP reflections aside, this week’s Top 5 features our Maleficent interviews and review, Marvel’s ongoing search to find someone/anyone to direct Ant-Man following Edgar Wright‘s departure, the new trailer for Snowpiercer, Matt’s review of A Million Ways to Die in the West and an interview with Seth Macfarlane and Charlize Theron, and Nicolas Cage starring in the first trailer for the new Left Behind film because he can. Keep reading for brief recaps and links for all of the above.

Adam McKay in Talks to Direct ANT-MAN for Marvel [Update: McKay Has Now Exited the Film, Comments on Meeting]

by     Posted 144 days ago

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Just yesterday, we reported that Dodgeball director Rawson Marshall Thurber was leading the trio of directors who were being eyed to replace Edgar Wright on Marvel’s Ant-Man.  Now, it looks like Adam McKay is the one who’s actually in talks to take on the job.  Wright recently departed the project (one he’s been attached to since 2006, before the dawn of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe) over disagreements with script changes, leaving the studio without a leader at the helm.  Keen to keep their July 17, 2015 release date in place, Marvel moved rather quickly to find a replacement.  While McKay is certainly an accomplished director of the funnies, he’s an interesting choice if only because his comedic and directing style is so different from Wright’s.  Hit the jump for more.

[Update: Wow, this project may actually be cursed. McKay was poised to sign his contract today, but THR reports that he has now pulled out of the film completely, adding that the decision was his alone. I guess this leaves us with Thurber or Ruben Fleischer. Read McKay's comments on the matter after the jump.]

ANT-MAN Director Contenders Include Adam McKay, Ruben Fleischer, and Rawson Thurber

by     Posted 145 days ago

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To say fans are dismayed at the abrupt exit of director Edgar Wright from his long-planned Marvel adaptation Ant-Man is an understatement.  The filmmaker departed the film last week after the studio heavily rewrote his script, leaving the studio scrambling to find a replacement with just under a year before the film’s release.  Since filming had already been pushed back to address issues Marvel had with the script by Wright and Joe Cornish, we knew a replacement announcement would be coming soon, and now a list of filmmakers that are meeting with the studio has surfaced.  With contenders like Adam McKay (Anchorman), Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), and Rawson Thurber (We’re the Millers) in the mix, it’s clear that Marvel is keen on landing a director well-versed in the comedy genre.  Hit the jump for more.

[Update: A new report pegs Thurber as the frontrunner for the job.]

THE FLINTSTONES in Development at Warner Bros. as Animated Feature with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay as Executive Producers

by     Posted 168 days ago

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The Flintstones are headed back to the big screen!  Thankfully, the new project in development over at Warner Bros. is not slated to be a live-action reboot, but rather a feature-length animated film.  (The 1994 Brian Levant picture starring John Goodman, and it’s Vegas-centered follow-up, was more than enough Flintstones live action for many a lifetime.)  With Disney/Pixar currently owning the animated market (with all due respect to the fine folks over at DreamWorks Animation), perhaps WB wanted to get in on the action.  What better place to start than with the modern Stone Age family, whose rights the studio acquired from Turner Broadcasting back in 1996?  Word that the Gary Sanchez Productions team is on board, which sees Chris Henchy penning the script for executive producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, is an encouraging bit of news.  Hit the jump for more.

Nicholas Stoller Talks Adam McKay’s UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT Remake with Will Smith and Denzel Washington

by     Posted 181 days ago

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While filmmaker Nicholas Stoller has been plenty busy with his own films as of late, he’s also been doing excellent work writing for movies that he didn’t direct.  Stoller co-wrote the screenplays for both The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted, and he’s currently working on a high-profile Uptown Saturday Night remake that would see the comedic pairing of Denzel Washington and Will Smith under the direction of Anchorman and Step Brothers helmer (and all-around comedy great) Adam McKay.

Steve recently spoke with Stoller in ancitipation of his latest directorial effort, Neighbors, and during the course of their conversation, Stoller provided an update on Uptown Saturday Night.  He said that everyone seems to be excited about the script, and spoke a bit about what the story entails.  Hit the jump to read on.

Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly to Star in Sony Pictures Comedy, BORDER GUARDS; Adam McKay May Direct

by     Posted 190 days ago

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The stars of Step Brothers and Talladega Nights are back!  Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly are set to reunite on screen in Border Guards, a new Sony Pictures comedy that Adam McKay is eyeing to direct.  The picture would see Ferrell and Reilly as two incompetent border guards who get stranded in Mexico and have to sneak back across the border.  While the the reunion of the comedic trio is cause for celebration in its own right, there’s also word that Sony has set British scribe and Peep Show creator Jesse Armstrong to pen the script.  Hit the jump for more.

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