It’s only been a week since Marvel and Edgar Wright surprisingly went their separate ways on Ant-Man, a project Wright had been developing since 2006. Since then, word has come out that the real reason for the split is because the studio wasn’t thrilled with Wright and Joe Cornish’s latest draft of the script, so they hired a couple of low-level in-house writers to rewrite it, removing some of Wright’s eccentricities from the story and basically making it more like a typical Marvel movie (more references to the MCU, etc). Wright didn’t appreciate the new changes, so he (and many of the key crew members) walked. In order to make their 2015 release date, Marvel has to find a new director – and fast.
THR says that the studio is meeting with Adam McKay (Step Brothers, Anchorman), Rawson Thurber (Dodgeball, We’re The Millers), and Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland, Gangster Squad) to interview for the job. Thurber is the most surprising to me of these three, mostly because he doesn’t have the geek-friendly pedigree that the other two directors have. Thurber made a splash with Dodgeball ten years ago, but only directed one indie film between then and last year, when he made his return to studio comedies with We’re The Millers (a surprisingly successful film financially). Because his last movie was a hit he’s apparently in demand around town, but he doesn’t strike me as the type of guy that could put any personality at all into a superhero feature. You might argue that not having a clear vision is exactly what Marvel wants, but Thurber is such a dull filmmaker. Even the lesser MCU films have had directors who have brought something interesting to the table.
Ruben Fleischer and Adam McKay sound more in line with who I’d expect Marvel to go after. Fleischer’s Zombieland is admittedly fun, but his most recent two films, 30 Minutes or Less and Gangster Squad, were abysmal. McKay is obviously the most compelling choice, especially given his relationship with Ant-Man star Paul Rudd, who has to be pissed that the film he signed up for is no longer happening the way it was intended. McKay has shown he has the ability to craft improv-heavy scenes into mostly-coherent final products, and with the amounts of rewrites that are going to have to happen on this film, I imagine that skill will be his most valuable asset when he sits down in that meeting with Kevin Feige.
Like a handful of my colleagues, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Marvel just bailed on Ant-Man altogether, but the fact that they’re going all in on this project after such a public fall-out with a beloved director indicates that Scott Lang’s story is extremely important for Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. July of 2015 is getting closer every day, so expect a director to be named quickly.
If not Edgar Wright, who would you like to see direct Ant-Man?
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