McKay was largely known as the writing partner of Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live and their collaborations on Funny Or Die and the hit movies Anchorman, Step Brothers and The Other Guys.
Then in 2015, McKay directed the adaptation of Michael Lewis’ The Big Short, winning a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, and was nominated again last year for the Dick Cheney biopic Vice. In addition, McKay is an executive producer of the buzzed-about HBO series Succession, and is working on a Showtime series about the Los Angeles Lakers’ dynasty in the 1980s. The director’s turn towards seriousness even led to he and Ferrell dissolving their production company earlier this year.
Now, there’s news about McKay’s next move. Per Deadline, McKay has both established a new production company, Hyperobject Industries, and worked out a first-look deal with HBO. The first project is a limited series based on the story of the notorious financier and convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein.
In a story that drew massive attention earlier this year, Epstein was arrested, and then died in a New York jail under somewhat controversial circumstances. Meanwhile, stories continued to trickle out about Epstein’s connections with a long list of famous people, including presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.
McKay’s series will be based on the reporting of Julie K. Brown, about the Epstein case, in The Miami Herald, with her upcoming book serving as source material. McKay has had success in the past with adapting the work of journalists, even when it’s tricky material – which The Big Short was. However, the breezy, gimmicky style that McKay brought to that film and Vice isn’t likely to work so well in telling the story of a serial sex offender.
It’s unclear what this means for Bad Blood, the story of the fraudulent blood testing startup Theranos and its founder, Elizabeth Holmes. Since 2016, McKay has been attached as director of that project, based on the work of thenWall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou, and with Jennifer Lawrence reportedly set to play Holmes.
However, there’s been just about no news about that project since a writer, The Shape of Water‘s Vanessa Taylor, was hired in May of 2018, even as Carreyrou’s book, also called Bad Blood, emerged as a nearly universally praised bestseller and other Holmes-related projects have been hits.
CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.