Will Ferrell on 'Step Brothers' Sequel: 'You Have to Resist the Temptation'

"Things everyone wants you to do sequels of are special because there's not a sequel of it," says Ferrell

'Step Brothers 2' has been talked about for years, but Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay tell us why "You have to resist the temptation." Credit: Columbia/Everett

In the nine years since the Will Ferrell/John C. Reilly comedy masterpiece Step Brothers hit theaters, fans have been clamoring for a sequel. But as Ferrell tells Rolling Stone, the odds of that happening are getting increasingly slim. "You have to resist the temptation," Ferrell says. "It's just tough because the things everyone wants you to do sequels of are special because there's not a sequel of it. I guess we'll see, but as of now there are no plans. We just don't want to be doing sequels of everything."

Things were different in 2011, with Ferrell and Step Brothers writer/director Adam McKay tossing around ideas for Step Brothers 2 and seeing if anything stuck. "We feel like there's way more fat to be mined there," McKay told Collider in 2014. "[The idea is] one of them's married and has a kid. They're still kind of goofballs but they've taken three or four steps. Then we have an idea for something that happens that knocks him back to square one."

The movie was in its initial planning stage when McKay and Ferrell got a surprise green light for Anchorman 2. That film grossed $173.6 million, but got somewhat mixed reviews and was seen by some fans as not living up to the original. "I think we personally feel great about what we did with Anchorman 2," Ferrell tells Rolling Stone. "And I think there are actually some people who like it more than the original. But then you always get that little bit of people saying, 'Awww, why'd they have to do that?'"

Meanwhile, McKay has turned his attention to more serious fare like 2015's The Big Short and the upcoming Jennifer Lawrence movie Bad Blood. He shares some of Ferrell's reservations about a Step Brothers sequel. "Maybe we'd do it in 10 years," McKay tells Rolling Stone. "I said 'no' at one point. And then I realized it was foolish of me to say that, because the older they get, the funnier the joke may get. I definitely would not say no to that now. For a second I did, just 'cause comedy sequels are like the hardest thing to do 'cause half the joke's out of the bag already."

Ferrell is less certain it'll be funnier as he and Reilly age. "Then do [the characters] become pathetic?" he asks. "Possibly funnier, I guess. But maybe more pathetic. We did have a great idea and got real close, but it just didn't happen." McKay declined to divulge the proposed plot on the record – it's a doozy – and when pushed, he says there's just a six percent chance it'll ever get made.

"There's so many projects Will and I have together," he says. "We just wrote a script together that I think is as funny as anything we've ever written, so I don't know if we are dying to do another Step Brothers. But like I said, I never would say never. I just never know what's going on in eight, nine years, so it could happen."