Have you ever inadvertently said something to a friend, loved one, or spouse that — as soon as it left your mouth — you realized how shitty it was? In those situations, you’ve basically got four choices: 1) Ignore it and hope that she didn’t hear it (this is never the case); 2) or worse, go with the “You misheard me defense,” which no one ever buys; 3) double-down on your assholery, stick by your statement, and then vociferously defend it (which is a terrible idea, because then you dig yourself an even bigger hole that you’re eventually going to have to apologize yourself out of anyway; or 4) immediately apologize, which only calls more attention to the fact that you said was a shitty thing to say.
This weekend, I referred to Peyton Reed — the man who is replacing Edgar Wright on the Ant-Man project — as a “studio hack” and a “scab.” In my head before I hit publish, the former insult felt fairly benign on a site like this, and the latter felt like ha-ha! hyperbole, but as soon as I hit publish, I realized it they were shitty things to say, and there were no shortage of people on Twitter and in the comments section to reinforce that. Turns out, after checking Peyton Reed’s Twitter account, I realized that he is in fact a very smart, very charming guy who is very kind to others, but even if that weren’t the case, I shouldn’t have said that. It was Friday night, I was running out the door to go on an anniversary date with the wife, and I was not careful with my words at all (and boy, did I hear about it).
So, I spent the last two otherwise exceptional days with family and friends who know nothing about anything that goes on here on the Internet feeling perfectly embarrassed and ashamed of myself about what a jerk I was, and every time I checked Twitter, I was reminded again of what an asshole I was.
Ignoring it didn’t work; I can’t claim the misheard defense because that’s disingenuous; and I’m not about to double down on a half-assed-running-out-the-door argument. So, at the risk of calling more attention to what a dick I was, I’ll apologize, and say that this is what I should’ve wrote about Peyton Reed taking over as director of Ant-Man:.
Peyton Reed has been hired to take over as director on Ant-Man, according to The Wrap. Reed is best known for directing Bring It On and Down with Love, and most recently, Jim Carrey’s Yes Man. Like anyone with a pulse, I loved Bring It On, I thought Down with Love was a visually interesting misfire, and I thought Yes Man was really bad. As for The Break-Up? I’ve seen it a couple of times, and I still don’t know what to think of that movie: I didn’t find it particularly good, but I did find it at times refreshingly and brutally honest (and I applaud the ending).
And the truth is, like a lot of people, I feel protective of Edgar Wright, but not out of some sort of fanboy rage (in fact, I was hard on Scott Pilgrim and even took issue with how so many bloggers had cozied up to Edgar Wright, blurring the line between criticism and promotion) but because I feel very strong about loyalty, and to me — if the rumors are true — I felt like Wright was poorly treated by a studio less interested in making a great movie and more interested in making a profitable one that extended their brand.
Of course, that’s Marvel’s prerogative and obviously what movie studios are designed to do: Make a profit. But when others passed on Ant-Man, my feeling is that they were doing it not because they didn’t want to direct a Marvel movie, but because it wasn’t the right thing to do. It felt like David Guarascio and Moses Port taking over Community from the fired Dan Harmon all over again.
Of course, knowing what I know about Edgar Wright’s films, and knowing what I know about Peyton Reed’s movies, I also think, if Marvel is going to make a movie more in line with Reed’s past work, I’m also much less excited about it. I also feel like Paul Rudd signed up to be Ant-Man in an Edgar Wright film, and not a Peyton Reed film, and that maybe this is not the movie even Rudd wants to make.
But, as many, many people have pointed out, directors who have made bad movies in the past have managed to make very good Marvel movies, so of course, Peyton Reed could marry some of his visual style with a nice comedic sensibility and come out with a perfectly acceptable Ant-Man.
I guess I still feel bad for Wright, who put in so much work into this project only to lose it, and ultimately, I thought what Phil Miller and Chris Lord said on the subject was accurate: The only guy who should be finishing an Edgar Wright film is … Edgar Wright.
But this is business, and that’s not the way it works, and with Adam McKay aboard on the script, this is probably not even an Edgar Wright film anymore, and I shouldn’t have called the perfectly charming and bright Peyton Reed a studio hack and a scab for taking a job. That was a shitty thing to say, and I’m embarrassed for being a jerk about it.