When Will Ferrell goes all out for one of his ridiculous comedies, of which there are many, one has a certain expectation. They tend to be completely silly from beginning to end. When you add Ferrell’s occasional collaborator John C. Reilly to the mix you can be nearly certain that there will be absolutely nothing dark or serious in the finished product. However, it appears that there was an idea for the end of Step Brothers that would have made the movie very different.
Speaking at the annual Oscar Luncheon, Adam McKay, who is nominated for his film The Big Short, was asked to reveal asecret tidbit of dirt that he had not previously divulged. A reporter for Variety asked him about the "real ending" of his comedy Step Brothers. As it turns out there was an alternate idea for the movie’s closing moments that would have ended the film on a very different note.
There actually was an idea for an alternate ending! Ferrell and I started laughing at one point about the ending and we thought we’d end with the two of them saying, ‘We’re finally going to be grownups!’ And you cut to them in Army uniforms in the back of a truck rumbling down the back of a desert road looking at each other and you see a sign that says ‘Fallujah, 3 Kilometers.’ We told Judd [Apatow] and Sony the idea and they said you are not allowed to shoot that. But it made us laugh so hard. It would have bummed everyone out.
Of course, the reason that the idea made Adam McKay and Will Ferrell laugh is the same reason the studio likely wasn’t in favor of it. After a feature length slapstick movie, the mood in the closing moments would have been anything but happy. While there’s a certain amount of humor in the change of tone, many in the audience would have left the film feeling depressed, which, in the long run, would have likely killed the picture’s word of mouth. Nobody would remember how much they laughed, just how they felt at the end. The actual ending to Step Brothers is significantly lighter.
The other thing this teaches us is that Adam McKay just has a dark sense of humor. A couple months ago he spoke about an alternate ending that he wrote for the original Zoolander that would have had Ben Stiller’s male model attempt to stop an oncoming train with his runway look. In McKay’s version, Zoolander fails at this attempt and is murdered by the train. We’re not saying there isn’t humor there, but damn, this guy is dark.
What do you think of the alternate ending? Would a more twisted version of Step Brothers have been a better choice?