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Step Brothers Cut a Seaworld Scene That Made Will Ferrell Cry With Laughter
Looking back on Step Brothers 10 years later, it’s a film that very perfectly captures the time and place of the late 2000s. It was right after Talladega Nights and Anchorman, when Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly had become the most powerful comedic duo in Hollywood. They could do anything—including build an entire movie around the idea that it would be funny to see a bunk bed collapse on two grown men.
To celebrate the 10-year anniversary, The Ringer put together a lengthy oral history detailing the euphoric making of Step Brothers. In the feature, director Adam Mckay explains that he, Ferrell, and Reilly wrote nearly 200-pages of script that they had to cut down significantly.
One of these 20-page scenes was an absolutely insane part involving guns and Seaworld. As McKay explains:
There was one run we had where Dale and Brennan’s dysfunction got to such a point. … It was in the middle of the night and somehow it’s mentioned that Dr. [Robert] Doback [Dale’s physician father, played by Richard Jenkins] keeps a pistol in his safe. Dale and Brennan are in bed, and Dale is scaring Brennan. And he was doing that thing where you get all wound up at night, listening to sounds, and Dale is scaring him. And then Dale starts to get scared, and they both get really freaked out and they convince themselves that there’s an intruder downstairs. And they shake Richard Jenkins and Mary Steenburgen awake, like, “There’s an intruder in the house, and he’s armed.” And so Dr. Doback goes for the gun in the safe and Dale and Brennan light off Roman candles in the house and Dr. Doback fires a round off in the chaos. Then the police are there and they say, “There’s no one here. There’s nothing going on.” And then Dr. Doback says, “This is so fucked up. This is so unhealthy. You guys have to get out of here.” And then basically Dale and Brennan are like, “Can’t we just go to SeaWorld?”That’s somehow the answer: “Can we not be so angry? Why is everyone so angry? Why can’t we just go and have a nice time at SeaWorld?” And Mary kind of acquiesces. And then it’s this giant trip to SeaWorld. It’s the greatest day ever. The parents both just buy into the dysfunction and have this amazing time at SeaWorld—except that Mary’s purse gets snatched. It’s all a montage, and then they’re driving home with giant grins on their faces. And then all of a sudden, Dr. Doback hits the brakes on the car and he’s just like, “What the fuck are we doing?”
And I remember Ferrell and I had tears in our eyes at them freaking themselves out thinking there’s an intruder. I remember that run was, without exaggeration, like 14 pages.
Even though this scene didn’t make the cut in Step Brothers, editor Brent White reveals that a version of it ends up appearing in the Anchorman sequel. White also describes another scene that didn’t make it into the final film, where Ferrell and Reilly’s characters beat up a clerk while sleep walking.
There’s this other version of this sleepwalking scene where [Dale and Brennan] get up and they get in a car and they drive to a convenience store and they beat the convenience store guy up and tear up the gas station. Then they drive home and hit a fountain in the neighbor’s yard. And they wake up and they have no memory whatsoever of what they’ve done, but they’re just covered in junk food. It’s super funny. But it was just so long that it couldn’t physically be in the movie.
Somewhere, I’d like to see the full 200-page version of Step Brothers, which sounds like it’s just many hours of some of the greatest improv actors of all time just doing funny shit.