Comedian and his Anchorman director to launch female-driven production company, as Hollywood continues to struggle with gender disparity
Gloria Sanchez Productions, will be spun off from the Gary Sanchez Productions, a company Ferrell created in 2007 with McKay that is named after a fictional character. Headed by production executive Jessica Elbaum, the new division will work with established and emerging female talent.
In a statement, Ferrell and McKay said: "When Jessica came to us with this idea, we thought it was fantastic. She has worked with some of the great female voices in comedy and has proven herself as a gifted producer who has a keen eye for material. We called Gary, and he loved the idea as well, and asked that we name it after his favourite step-granddaughter, Gloria Sanchez."
The Emmy and Tony-nominated producer has worked at Gary Sanchez since its inception. The production company brought comedy films such as Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, The Campaign, Step Brothers and The Other Guys to cinemas. It also oversaw the comedy Bachelorette in 2012, and will bring the Melissa McCarthy film Tammy to multiplexes this year.
Ferrell's move comes at a good time for female-led comedy in Hollywood. Two of the biggest comedy hits of the past few years at the box office, Bridesmaids and The Heat, featured female protagonists, and actors such as McCarthy and Kristen Wiig have been popular with audiences.
Nevertheless, a 2013 study by Robert Redford's Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles found only 4.4% of the top-grossing Hollywood films were directed by women over the previous decade.
• Will Ferrell: 'Playing super-sleazy is the most fun for me'
• Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues – reviewThis article was written by Ben Child, for theguardian.com on Thursday 13th February 2014 10.45 Europe/London
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