Adam McKay Working On Script For Next Film & It's All About "Big, Dirty Money"

Fresh off last year’s apocalyptic comedy “Don’t Look Up” and directing the pilot for HBO’sWinning Time,” Adam McKay has his sights on his next motion picture. And, for good or ill, his follow-up to a movie about the end of the world as we know it tackles another thorny, controversial subject.

READ MORE: The Essentials: The Films Of Adam McKay

Deadline reports that in a Q&A at the Tribeca Film Festival, McKay revealed he’s hard at work on a new script, another dramatic comedy in the vein of “Don’t Look Up.” But this time, McKay has “big, dirty money” in his satirical sights. “If the last movie [“Don’t Look Up”] was about the outcome of what’s broken about us, that we’re staring at the collapse of the livable climate, this one is more about the actual arterial blocks in our hearts, what’s causing it, which is, of course, big, dirty money,” said McKay. So, a movie about corruption in the USA’s corporate and financial sectors. That’s not too far off from “The Big Short,” McKay’s 2015 film that ushered in a topical shift in his filmmaking style. “An it’s a comedy as well … blended with drama,” added McKay, “but I would overall call it a comedy.”

Those who know McKay’s films well will know this isn’t the first time he’s alluded to the systemic corruption of dirty money in the US government in his movies. In fact, there’s a deleted scene from 2010’s “The Other Guys” where ex-Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, deep undercover, debriefs Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell‘s detectives about their next case: taking down the dirty CEO of a corporate firm. Of course, that’s just one scene from the cutting room floor, but it indicates that McKay has had this topic on his mind for quite some time.

McKay’s message movies aren’t for everyone. “Don’t Look Up” was a polarizing film, to say the least. And critics and audiences had similar criticisms of smug superficiality for how “The Big Short” and “Vice” dealt with their respective serious topics. That’s won’t stop McKay from dealing with serious subject matter, though. He’s also writing HBO Max‘s anthology series “The Uninhabitable Earth,” based on David Wallace-Well‘s bestseller. “We have less than eight years before we cross the tipping point of a livable planet,” he quipped. “No one is even arguing with that and yet we are all like ‘Johnny Depp, Amber Heard.’ So you have to laugh at it, but you also have to get to work on it,” he said.

And McKay insists that he’s always had a polemical bent in his work. When asked about his work with long-time collaborator Will Ferrell, McKay said, “with every one of the comedies that [Ferrell and I] made, we would have a conversation about the political, social economic center of the movie, and say ‘Let’s never tell anyone that we had this conversation.” Huh, so what’s the “political, social, economic center” of a movie like “Anchorman“, Adam McKay? The director had no comment on that movie, but with “Step Brothers,” he said it’s consumerism: “that the customer is always right, which I think is the headstone of America. I think that has killed us.” Well, then.

Whether or not you think Adam McKay is kind of sort of full of shit when it comes to this some of his takes on contemporary issues, at least he is willing to confront them.  And he does so with an inimitable comedic style. That style may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that doesn’t bother McKay. “I tried on a lot of different emotional suits, and I tried the freaked-out-I-can’t-sleep-at-night,” he said, “But, ultimately the people who survive keep their sense of humor. I don’t think that has to be separate from being serious and emotional and profound. I think you can laugh about something while still recognizing that it is serious.”

We’ll have to wait and see if Adam McKay’s big, dirty money movie gets the Hollywood green light.