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Whoever Takes Over as Director of 'Ant Man' Is a Real Douchebag

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | June 5, 2014 | Comments ()


edgar_1.jpg

Two weeks ago, Edgar Wright abruptly left Ant-Man, the project he’s been developing and working on for years, and all the rumors suggest that the reason Wright left was because Marvel wouldn’t respect his vision for the film. They brought in some low-level screenwriters and put it through the Marvel movie machine and added in some extra bits to ensure continuity with the Marvel Universe and boom! Bob’s your pear-shaped uncle.

So, Edgar Wright walked off the project he’s shepherded from the beginning, leaving Marvel with a real problem on their hands: A release date a year from now, and the need to hire a director to come in and basically execute another guy’s watered-down vision. Unsurprisingly, no one wants it. Adam McKay apparently entered into negotiations and then quickly dropped out, Ruben Fleischer didn’t even get that far, and a couple of days ago, Rawson Thurber (We’re the Millers) passed on the project.

I wonder why?

It’s a no-win situation for any director that comes aboard. If Ant-Man succeeds, Edgar Wright still gets all the credit, and if it fails, the hired-hand gets all the blame, and either way, the guy they bring aboard is going to end up being the douchebag scab that that took another guy’s job.

That’s the exact sentiment that Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street) expressed when asked by MTV if they’d be interested in taking over.

“It seems like a tough person’s shoes to step into, you know what I mean?” Miller said on the prospect. “It’s tough to have that as the specter hanging over, what would have been, and what could have been. It seems kind of tough.”

“We’re fans and buddies of Edgar, so…” Miller continued.

“It would be like Spielberg making ‘A.I.’ It’s like, I don’t know what to do with it,” Lord added on the prospect. “This guy’s a genius, I feel strange.”

Their choice to replace Edgar Wright? Edgar Wright!

“A logical choice would be Edgar Wright… To finish an Edgar Wright film,” Lord said, laughing. “I mean, Joe Cornish, that would make a lot of sense. Or if they, like, decided to abandon ship and try again years from now it would make more sense.”

Screenwriter Joe Cornish would be a decent choice, but there’s no way he dicks over his friend, right?

One thing is for certain: The guy that Marvel eventually hires is not going to be one of the most disliked guys in Hollywood, unless of course they hire Edgar Wright … or they kill Edgar Wright and have Jason Ritter grow out his hair and change his name to Edgar Wright.

Source: MTV




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Oh, are we caring about "Ant-Man" now? Why?

  • SamuraiShampoo

    Real classy disabling the comments on your other whiny fanboy article about this.

  • Enrique del Castillo

    There was this guy at a previous job I had, that came to replace a friend who was fired. Everyone was mean to the new guy because we all liked our friend better and believed he was unfairly fired.

    But the new guy didn't fire him, he just got a job a wanted to do it. A job is a job; a creative one such as film director may imply lots of other great things, but at the end of the day, it is still a job, and we shouldn't act as if replacing Edgar Wright is some kind of insult to his talent.

  • JoeK

    I'm as big an Edgar Wright fan as there is, but just because he's been "working on Ant Man for years" is no guarantee of quality. Roberto Benigni tried to get Pinocchio made for decades and ... yeah.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    Maybe Marvel should just hire Brett Rat--...

    [hears the sound of a shattering window]

    [silence]

    Narrator: "This was his last comment. Ryan Ambrose was never heard from again."

  • bastich

    This movie is meant to be a comedy, right? How about Friedberg and Seltzer?

    /hits the deck, then runs for dear life

  • DON'T RUN, DON'T RUN! RUNNING ONLY MAKES IT WORSE!

  • Guest

    Maybe Marvel should just hire Brett Rat--... or Uwe B--?...

    [hears the sound of a shattering window]

    [silence]

    Rudd's hiring kinda killed it for me so Wright's departure just makes it that much easier to completely ignore.

  • Marc Greene

    That is very unfair and the entirety of so many of these pro-Wright positions seem very driven exclusively by speculation. Has anyone seen his script to comment on its quality or the quality of the changes made by the additional writers? We are clueless about the extent or specifics of the changes made or the nature of Wright's opposition to said changes. Even the speculation about why the potential directors passed is conjecture. When the names were being floated, all of them had projects either in development or scheduled for filming. If anything, I would guess Marvel's deadline might be more of the sticking point for a new director. I pose the option that maybe Wright's script/plans for the movie were adequate, but since he had the script set up around the time of Iron Man 1, some changes have taken place in the Marvel Movie Universe. So maybe Marvel said, "okay, with the next round of movies coming up leading to Avengers 3, we should be aware of the nature of the world and upcoming threats, so it would be nice to include some of those elements as existing in context of the plot" (especially since this will take place AFTER Avengers 2: Age of Ultron). Maybe Edgar Wright said "Go fuck yourself! This is my baby and if we make any changes to my script, I walk"

    Then Marvel said, "Oookay, but how about a stinger where..."
    "Bollocks!! I'm out of here, you wankers!", shouted Wright before grabbing his Simon Pegg and walking out of the building. We don't know.

    The odd part for me would be, if changes needed to be made, Joss Whedon is both Marvel's creative consultant/architect for the MMU AND one of Hollywood's more reputable script doctors and has punched up several of the MMU scripts; was he not brought in or consulted on this "tampering"? There seemed to be suggestion that he and Wright were at least cordial contemporaries, if not friends. I think we can safely assume he has way more pull at Marvel Studios that Wright does. That's the plot hole for me.

  • John G.

    the only evidence we have is the absolutely amazing work that Edgar Wright has done up to this point. No, we don't have concrete evidence to point to with anything like certainty, but when has that ever stopped rumors in hollywood?

    My guess, and it's as much a guess as yours, is that they didn't like the Edgar Wright style. They did what most hollywood studio dickwads do, they hire a cool person with talent who is "so hot right now" but despite hiring them because of what they'd done before, they then try and make that person do a standard american cookie cutter movie that takes no chances, does nothing new and is as lame as humanly possible, so that if it doesn't make a bajillion dollars, no one can say they took any risks, and they will keep working in a job that lets you do coke at work and very little else.

  • The internal expectations for this movie have shifted during preproduction. This has gone from Edgar Wright playing in the corner to the launching pad for Marvel's Phase 3. There's got to be some thematic elements that Marvel wanted to be included that just didn't fit in with Wright's story. You throw that in with Marvel wanting to hedge some bets in case Guardians of the Galaxy doesn't meet expectations. Loyalty to Wright aside, there are plenty of reasons why no established director would want to touch this movie with a 10 foot pole

  • Excellent points. It is like I said on FB when the news broke: Wright isn't really known for going halfway on anything. His films tend to be immensely nerdy affairs, where he tries to shove in as many references and jokes about the subject matter as he can, but in a weirdly appropriate, not in-your-face way. This made for some good films, but it also has the side effect of making those films pretty hard to alter. That, combined with the long development, could have lead to what Wright thought was a standalone film project, while Marvel wanted to keep it in the Avengers plan.

    It just seems that it isn't a case of the studio just being dillweeds for no good reason (aka the musical director's chair of X3), but two creative groups coming to loggerheads with each other, and not able to find a good compromise.

    Still, one does wonder why they didn't get Whedon to at least take a gander. If anybody in the current slate of creatives could understand Wright's vision, it would be him.

  • JustOP

    Whedon? Why? The Avengers was pretty crap - can you honestly single out any action scene from any other? Plot armour up the ass for everyone. The completely unexplained Hulk stuff, 'hey guys, now it's convenient, I can control my powers', which flew entirely in the face of the entire first half of the movie about him being 'uncontrollable'. The whole thing was completley 'safe' and predictable.

  • Hrrrnnnghh....I really do not want to get into a nerdfight over The Avengers here...suffice it to say, the first half was not about Hulk being uncontrollable. If anything, they made a big deal about Banner having so much control over it, while everyone else besides Stark were nervous. It took Loki's infiltration of the Helicarrier to set him off, and at the end, he stopped fighting the change and instead worked to keep Hulk focused on the problem at hand. Hell, even the scene where he wakes up after falling points out how he had enough sense as Hulk to aim for an empty building to land in. It wasn't convenient, they had been showing all along that he was much more in control of the Hulk than even he thought he was. He just didn't give himself nor his alter-ego enough credit.

    You call it safe and predictable. I call it entertaining and satisfying. And yeah, I kinda liked how simple it was: no backstabbing, no weak attempts at plots within plots, no overwrought drama. It brought a satisfying conclusion to the Phase 1 setup, and got things rolling for Phase 2.

    And I picked Whedon because, as I said, if any of the folks in positions of influence at Marvel Films would understand the pressures of being a fairly mid-level creator of geeky genre stuff being put into the chair of one piece of a massive multimedia project, while also having enough knowledge of the plan to see the studio's point in wanting to connect the film more with the MCU, it would be him.

  • Debra Kessing

    perfectly stated !

  • JustOP

    >Hrrrnnnghh....I really do not want to get into a nerdfight over The Avengers here

    Too bad.

    >If anything, they made a big deal about Banner having so much control over it...

    So much control that people have to be chided over poking him with a stick. So much control that in his first scene he almost goes apeshit. So much control that he eventually loses control. He also didn't 'stop fighting the change' - he tried to turn Scarlotte Johansson into a pancake and only got blocked via a bitchslap from Thor. Nor did he 'aim his landing' - he got expelled from the chopper and just landed there. There is no way to aim your fall when you way a ton and have been blasted out at high speeds. It was just convenient for the plot and the pg-12 rating that he land somewhere safe.

    >You call it safe and predictable. I call it entertaining and satisfying.

    Yeah, it was satisfying. Everything came together exactly as you expected it would. There is literally no tension in this movie - it relies on it's 'witty' dialogue to get by.

    >And I picked Whedon because, as I said, if any of the folks in positions...

    So we can get the same rinse-repeat formula?

  • His first scene was him having a fairly reasonable conversation with Natasha. At no point was he about to go "apeshit", if anything, Natasha comments on how calm he is being. The fact that she came prepared for someone less reasonable only highlighted his progress in that regard.

    He "eventually loses control" as part of Loki's plan, the one where he uses the scepter to influence anyone near it, including him. At one point, picks up the scepter without even realizing it, and when Cap points it out, he starts to regain himself before the explosions that send everything out of whack. He finally changes because he just took an explosion to the face, fell a story, and landed on metal floor, so yeah, it was a bit more difficult for him to keep his composure there. The fact that Natasha was the first thing within eyesight moving (or subconsciously blaming her for bringing him onto the ship, however you want it) is pretty fitting, and so is needing a really hard strike from Thor to finally redirect him.

    As far as the landing, I just said the scene points it out through the old guard played by Harry Stanton, Regardless if you think it a plausible line, the fact is that THIS is what they were going for, not for some "he's uncontrollable" angle.

    You are the one saying the film wanted Hulk as uncontrollable at the beginning, only for him to show control out of nowhere. My rebuttal was that, from the scenes, timeline and dialogue, their intent was to show that he had control all along, it was everyone else who underestimated him. The only time he lost control was during a highly stressful and traumatic experience that rattled even battle-hardened operators like Cap and Natasha.

    Now you can take that however you like. I have no desire to try and convince you of the merits of the film. It is clear that you were not happy with it, and that is your bag. It really does not affect my enjoyment one whit.

    I simply asked about whether or not Whedon, being in his position, could have gave some insight that could have helped wither Marvel or Wright see the other side, a question I then acknowledged was silly to ask. You decided to turn it into a Avengers bashing....thing. I did my best to explain why I had a different interpretation about the Hulk angle, but I was under no delusion that it would change your mind.

    And with that, good night.

  • Debra Kessing

    all the upvotes

  • To you last point, Whedon is a little busy with a Marvel tent pole that is being released in May 2015 to turn his attention to a July 2015 release.

  • Marc Greene

    That gets into the question of when the parties involved realized that they had reached an impasse and/or when Marvel thought what Wright had started wasn't going to work. By most accounts, the script has been live since 2008. You might assume someone looked at the script (Feige even) maybe during the first Obama term or so?

    I agree with the idea brought up by Vermillion that there might be a bit of second guessing on Wright's trademark meta "winky" style when they revisited the script. Heck, maybe most Wright scripts seem weird at first glance but then get polished out during directing and filming. His directorial language does tend to be much more about what is being shown rather than just what is said. Pegg has said that Wright is a perfectionist and will keep doing reshoots until the shot meets his expectations.

  • True, true. I thought about it after I typed it, and I guess the fanboy got past the rational side of me. Gotta tie those mental knots tighter...

    Anyway, this just seems like everyone is getting the raw end of what could have been a pretty sweet deal. Marvel has to scramble to get another director, Wright loses his pet project, and the fans fret over the state of the whole shebang.

  • I'm with you on the overall point. Seems like there was some lack of oversight on Marvel's part during the preproduction process and the collaboration broke down.

  • LL

    From a viewers' standpoint, this isn't true. No one will fault a director for replacing one that dropped out. If it's horrible, sure they deserve some criticism, but anything before that would be silly.

  • ecuamerican

    Agree with Duvall. A job is a job is a job. Not sure making the next guy into a pariah before we know who he is is a good move, Dustin.

  • Dennis Albert Ramirez

    agreed

  • Duvall

    Yeah, it would be great if all of the crew and staff planning to work on Ant-Man found themselves out of work.

  • John G.

    yeah, that's how it works. The director leaves, and anyone who worked on the film never works in hollywood again.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    I'm paraphrasing because I don't remember his exact words but I think it was Chris Rock who said it best,

    "I don't care if there's one million candidates more capable and talented than me, give me the motherfuckin' job."

  • I'm sure they'll find other work. It's not like there's other Marvel productions coming down the pipeline.

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