‘Neighbors’ Director Nicholas Stoller Might Direct ‘Ant-Man’ Now

By June 4, 2014
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What’s going on with Ant-Man? Only the people at Marvel Studios know for sure, but let’s run through a brief history of the latest developments before we get to today’s news. (Skip ahead a couple of paragraphs if you’ve been following along already.)

Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright worked on the script for Ant-Man with Joe Cornish for eight years before he left the project due to “creative differences.” (Joss Whedon and James Gunn supported Wright with photos and Facebook posts.) The story later came out that Marvel had apparently been unhappy with Wright and Cornish’s latest draft of the script, so they brought on low-level in house writers to rewrite it to make it less quirky and add more MCU content without telling Wright and Cornish about it. When Marvel presented Wright with the updated script, he wasn’t happy about it, so he walked.

Talk immediately started about who would take over. Three names quickly surfaced: Adam McKay (Anchorman), Rawson Thurber (We’re The Millers), and Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland). McKay was said to be the main contender but pulled out of the running soon after meeting with Marvel, and Ruben Fleischer is said to be in talks for Ghostbusters 3, so it’s unlikely he’ll direct this project now. Thurber is still a mystery, because over the last day or two there have been a few conflicting reports about what’s going on. A report from a site I’ve never heard of (so I won’t like to it here) claimed that Thurber was offered the movie and turned it down, but Mr. Beaks at AICN (someone I trust) said on Twitter that Thurber hadn’t actually been offered the director’s chair.

Stoller

Now, to today’s news: buried in a report about a potential director of Snow White and the Huntsman 2, Deadline mentions that Thurber is still the favorite to direct, “but names like Nicholas Stoller and Michael Dowse are also making the rounds.” One of those names should be familiar to you, since Stoller (above) directed this year’s well-received comedy Neighbors as well as Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek. Michael Dowse (below), on the other hand, I had to look up because I’ve never heard of him. Turns out he directed the Sean William Scott hockey movie Goon (which has a cult following), a comedy called Take Me Home Tonight (which I don’t think anyone saw), and a new romantic comedy called What If, which looks surprisingly good for its genre.

Michael Dowse

It sounds like Marvel is scrambling to try to find a director in order to get Ant-Man moving in time to reach their 2015 release date. The prevailing sentiment among the nerd crowd is that the studio should just scrap the movie altogether if it’s not being directed by Wright, and it’s hard to argue with that mindset at this point: what director in their right mind is going to want to come on board a tainted project like this and potentially take the blame if it ends up turning out to be terrible? To me, it seems like there’s some seriously important content tied to the Ant-Man character (or the mythology surrounding that character) that must be integral to the company’s Phase 3 plans, and that’s why they’re trying so hard to make this happen even when conventional wisdom says to let it go. After all, Wright was attached to Ant-Man before the first Iron Man even came out, and knowing the way Kevin Feige operates, he’s been putting the pieces in place over the past few years with the expectation of having an Ant-Man movie in Phase 3.

So what do you guys think about all of this? If you were calling the shots at Marvel, what would you do? Is anyone a good fit to direct this movie now?

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at ScreenRant.com, FirstShowing.net, MySpace.com, GeekTyrant.com, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.