In what is by far the most disappointing news to come out of Marvel Studios probably ever, director Edgar Wright has walked off the Ant-Man film, citing the standard Hollywood cover story, “creative differences.”
Wright had been preparing to begin filming this summer (that is to say, within weeks) with Paul Rudd in the lead role as a thief who “acquires” equipment that allows him to shrink to insect size. Losing your director so close to the start of principle photography is a big problem, so Ant-Man is in BIG trouble!
According to a joint statement from Wright and Marvel:
“Marvel and Edgar Wright jointly announced today that the studio and director have parted ways on ANT-MAN due to differences in their vision of the film. The decision to move on is amicable and does not impact the release date on July 17, 2015. A new director will be announced shortly.”
It’s hard to believe that there could be “creative differences” with Wright at this late date. The guy has been associated with the project since 2006. That’s eight years! And there’s a problem now? Wright has been linked to Ant-Man for so long that it feels like he’s already made an Ant-Man movie and is just working on ideas for a sequel. The Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Shaun of the Dead director seemed like such a perfect fit – and the fans loved his hiring (truly no small thing). He was the one who brought Ant-Man test footage to San Diego in 2012. To most people, Wright was the Ant-Man movie.
With production so close and next year’s release date locked in, there’s no time to get a new script written, which means the one Wright penned with writing partner Joe Cornish will probably be kept, and Marvel is going to want someone already involved in the pre-production in charge, or a pure director-for-hire with no personal version that would clash with what has already been done. (Don’t say “mercenary hack.” It may be true, but don’t say it.) Rumor has it that person has already been chosen, but the announcement is being held back.
Will the cast – including Rudd (as Scott Lang), Michael Douglas (as Hank Pym), Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña and Corey Stoll – be carried over by a new director? Will they want to continue under a different helmer? (Realistically, probably only Rudd and Douglas have the clout to walk.)
This is purely conjecture on my part, but I’ll bet the “creative differences” were over Rudd. I could see Marvel wanting his famous, handsome face onscreen as much as possible, while Wright probably wanted him wearing Ant-Man’s helmet a lot. Or maybe Wright wanted more of his trademark bent humor on the screen than Marvel was comfortable with? Who knows?
But we do know Ant-Man has one gigantic problem right now!