Over the weekend, as most of you know, Peyton Reed was hired to replace Edgar Wright on Marvel’s Ant-Man after a director search that purportedly went through Adam McKay (who will rewrite/polish the script), Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and Rawson Thurber (We’re the Millers.
There have been a number of rumors hinting as to why Edgar Wright left the project he’d been working on for eight years in the first place, chief among them speculation from Latino Review that suggested Wright left after some low-level screenwriters had been called in to rewrite Joe Cornish’s script to better ensure Marvel Universe continuity. That makes sense, especially because it’s the same issue that has rankled some other Marvel directors.
What we do know, from Michael Douglas, is that he — and the cast — are disappointed about the loss of Wright. Here’s Douglas speaking to The Guardian about Wright’s departure:
“I was, very disappointed,” Douglas said in a video interview published on the Schmoes Know website. “I’m a big fan of his movies [and] it’s a very disappointing situation.”
He added: “It happened very late in the game [and] I don’t think anybody’s quite recovered,” continuing, “My heart goes out to Edgar. He’s been involved with the project for a long time, but he’s talented enough that you’ll be hearing a whole lot from him, and I’m sure with a little vengeance.”
Meanwhile, Vince over on Filmdrunk, reporting from a tip from Brendan (formerly of WWTDD) that the departure may have been over something as odd as product placement, specifically who had control over what products were placed in the movie. Brendan, based on a conversation he had with Marvel, confirmed that low-level writers were brought in to rewrite the script, but that wasn’t the breaking point. It was the ads.
Here’s Brendan via FilmDrunk:
thats right. ads. they were finding little spots to work in ads. because disney is in charge of all this and disney is f*cking awful. it’s not marvel, they hate this too, but disney doesn’t give a shit, they don’t care who directs the movie, they only care about finding enough 5-year-old midgets to run around the park in ant-man costumes and who to bribe after they die. this is purely about money. ant-man is as small of a movie as marvel can make (i swear to christ you better not make an ‘ant’ pun); it’s an obscure character with a weird power, it’s not gonna make a billion dollars. they think it’ll top out around 400 million. that would still be about 150 million in pure profit but that’s not enough for disney so they’re working in ads. and they are not subtle.
edgar wright is not some doe-eyed ingenue, he’s a professional, he understands how these things work and he knew this was coming; all he asked for is control over the ads, which seems reasonable since he’s the one who is gonna look like an asshole when paul rudd stops in the middle of the movie to talk about cheerios for 10 minutes.
wright lost control, so he walked. he simply doesn’t trust them, which is understandable considering how badly they f*cked up ‘john carter’ and ‘lone ranger’. they’re inept beyond belief.
That seems like an odd reason to drop out of a movie one has devoted so many years to, so I suspect that if it were a factor, it was one of many. Wright has mostly worked on smaller films with smaller budgets, and probably hasn’t had to deal with the kind of hassles that accompany working with someone like Disney.
Then again, Paul Rudd as Ant-Man would be the best pitch-man ever.