When four outsiders see what the big banks, media and government regulators refuse to — the impending collapse of the global economy — they have an idea: The Big Short. Their bold investment leads them into the dark underbelly of the modern banking industry where they must question everyone and everything. Based on the true story and best-selling book by Michael Lewis (The Blind Side, Moneyball), and directed by Adam McKay (Anchorman, Step Brothers), ‘The Big Short’ stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt.
Writer and director Adam McKay is best known as the comedy mastermind behind Will Ferrell blockbusters including Step Brothers and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, as well as the Tony Award®-nominated Broadway Show “You’re Welcome America.” But five years ago when he read ‘The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine’ he became fascinated with a farce of a different kind. Intrigued by the mixture of comedy, drama, and outright tragedy in Michael Lewis’ brilliant behind-the-scenes look at the lead-up to the global economic meltdown, McKay yearned to take a break from absurdist comedies and bring The Big Short to the big screen.
“I started reading the book at around 10:30 at night and thought, ‘I’ll just read 40 pages,’” McKay recalls. “I couldn’t put it down. I ended up reading the whole thing that night and finished at six in the morning”.
After McKay finished directing the hit sequel Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, his agent challenged him to name the movie he most wanted to make. “Before I even knew what I was saying, I told him, ‘If I could do anything, I would do The Big Short.’” Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B Entertainment, who had partnered with Paramount Pictures to develop The Big Short as a motion picture, sent McKay an early version of a screenplay written by Charles Randolph. “I saw some good stuff in the script and I also knew exactly how to make it better,” McKay says.
The resulting screenplay incorporated McKay’s signature wit into a story about an era-defining moment in recent U.S. history. “People know me from movies like Talladega Nights and Anchorman or the Funny or Die videos, but I’ve always been involved in different causes,” says McKay, who mastered political satire as head writer for “Saturday Night Live” before launching his movie career. “I feel like it’s your job as a citizen to pay attention to what’s going on in politics and society. You can be a clown and get sprayed with seltzer bottles but you’ve also got to vote and know what you’re talking about.”