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'Anchorman' Director Adam McKay Gets Serious With Finance Drama 'The Big Short'

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by Kevin Jagernauth
March 24, 2014 1:45 PM
3 Comments
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While he's best known for capturing the various absurdly hilarious things that come out of the mouth of Will Ferrell, Adam McKay has a serious side to him, that perhaps showed through most publicly with the compelling (if wildly random and out of place) closing credits of "The Other Guys." The end of the 2010 buddy comedy featuring Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg featured an extended animated sequence detailing how ponzi schemes work, the ugly side of bailing out banks and corporations and more. It probably wasn't the best venue for that kind of stuff, but now McKay has a vehicle that will let him blow off some steam.

Paramount has tapped McKay to direct the long-developing adaptation of "Moneyball" author Michael Lewis' book "The Big Short." Brad Pitt's Plan B is producing the project that McKay will also write the movie that will delve into the incomprehensible world of derivatives. Here's the Amazon synopsis: 

The real story of the crash began in bizarre feeder markets where the sun doesn't shine and the SEC doesn't dare, or bother, to tread: the bond and real estate derivative markets where geeks invent impenetrable securities to profit from the misery of lower--and middle--class Americans who can't pay their debts. The smart people who understood what was or might be happening were paralyzed by hope and fear; in any case, they weren't talking. 

Michael Lewis creates a fresh, character-driven narrative brimming with indignation and dark humor, a fitting sequel to his #1 bestseller Liar's Poker. Out of a handful of unlikely--really unlikely--heroes, Lewis fashions a story as compelling and unusual as any of his earlier bestsellers, proving yet again that he is the finest and funniest chronicler of our time.

Essentially, this one tackles the folks who played fast and hard in this world, which paved the way for those too big to fail banks to, well, fail. It's a long time coming for McKay who has wanted to do something like this for a while, signing up in 2011 to direct a buddy comedy called "Swear To God" about a narcissistic hedge fund manager who claims to have seen the man upstairs. But this material sounds like it has the potential to be a sharper bite at the apple, and a nice gear change for the director.

Check out "The Other Guys" credits below.

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3 Comments

  • Jonathan | March 24, 2014 9:22 PMReply

    An odd choice, but maybe inspired. It's one of the best business journalism books I've read. And Lewis himself said he would have cast guys like Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill in the roles of the twentysomething Berkeley kids who were trading from a backyard shed. Still, to live up to the material, this has gotta be the best thing McKay's done. By far.

  • Glass | March 24, 2014 9:15 PMReply

    lol the Big Short book cover looks like an Onion parody. The token "financial crisis best-selling exposé" book cover.

  • Paul | March 24, 2014 2:10 PMReply

    A strange marriage of director to material, though McKay can spot some good material from comedy and bring it up a level. Could be interesting

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