John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell in Step Brothers. Picture: Sony Pictures
John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell in Step Brothers. Picture: Sony Pictures

Why Sea World scene was cut from Step Brothers

"BOATS and hoes."

If you have no idea what movie that line's from, you are missing out.

To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Step Brothers starring Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, The Ringer interviewed the majority of the people responsible for making the cult comedy. And one of the things they revealed was the sheer number of scenes that had to be cut from the original script.

"You obviously can't turn in a nearly 200-page script," director Adam McKay said. "So we had to seriously chop it down.

"There was one run we had where Dale [played by Reilly] and Brennan's [Ferrell] 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.


Will Ferrell, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins and John C. Reilly in Step Brothers.
Will Ferrell, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins and John C. Reilly in Step Brothers.


"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.

"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 f**ked 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 f**k are we doing?'

"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."

Step Brothers editor, Brent White, also told The Ringer about an alternate version of the memorable sleepwalking scene.

"[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," White said about the axed scene.

"Then they drive home and hit a fountain in the neighbour'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."

According to the Step Brothers stars who spoke to The Ringer, they would film scenes in the mornings where they had to stick to the script but in the afternoons they were allowed to shoot the scenes again with improvisation.

"You feel like, 'Holy sh*t, I do not envy the editors trying to find a story through all this,'" Kathryn Hahn [who played Alice] joked.


You can read the full piece on The Ringer here.