Early this year, Marvel’s Ant-Man hit a massive roadblock when Edgar Wright, who had been attached to the project for nearly a decade, suddenly left. His departure caused a massive and heavily publicized rift in the fan community, and led to a long search for a new director. Eventually, Bring it On and Down with Love helmer Peyton Reed took the reigns, but he wasn’t the first one approached for the gig.
Step Brothers and Anchorman director Adam McKay went so far as to enter negotiations with Marvel for the director’s chair, but eventually passed and decided to stick around to help rewrite Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish’s original script instead.
McKay recently opened up to Collider about his involvement with Ant-Man, what the writing process was like, and how much of Wright’s original work remains intact. On how he even became involved in the first place, McKay gives credit to the film’s star, Paul Rudd, who approached him first and then helped out with the “giant’ rewrite:
“[Paul Rudd] called me when Edgar Wright stepped away from the project and told me what was going on. I went and met with Marvel, and I was a little dubious just becuase I’m friends with Edgar and I didn’t know what the story was, and then when I kind of heard what happened, that Edgar had parted ways, and then I saw their materials, I was like, ‘God this is pretty cool.'”
McKay says that his busy schedule is what kept him from taking on directing duties, but felt that he could “do a lot of good” by rewriting the film, and became impressed with Rudd’s own writing talents as they started working together on the script:
““I’ve always known Paul Rudd’s a really good writer from improvising with him on set, but I had no idea he was that good—he’s really great with dialogue. So the two of us holed up in hotel rooms on the east and west coast, and I think it was like six to eight weeks we just ground it out and did a giant rewrite of the script. I was really proud of what we did, I really thought we put some amazing stuff in there and built on an already strong script from Edgar Wright and sort of just enhanced some stuff.”
What sort of stuff did they “enhance?” Mainly, the action beats, despite most of them being pre-storyboarded and visualized while Wright was still on board:
“We added some new action beats. I grew up on Marvel comics so the geek in me was in heaven that I got to add a giant action sequence to the movie; I was so excited. So we did, we added some cool new action. There’s a lot that’s already in there from what Edgar did, there’s a lot of dialogue and character still in there.
We just shaped the whole thing, we just tried to streamline it, make it cleaner, make it a little bigger, a little more aggressive, make it funnier in places—we just basically did a rewrite. Edgar had a really good script. But we just had a blast, and Rudd was just so much fun to write with. I walked away saying, ‘Hey, you and I gotta write a script together.”
Whether or not McKay’s changes will satisfy fans remains to be seen. Wright is quite popular with the comic book crowd, and there’s just no helping the fact that no matter what Ant-Man film we finally get, we’ll all be wondering how it would have been different with Wright at the helm.
What do you think of McKay’s comments? Are you confident that he and Paul Rudd could handle a “giant” rewrite like this and deliver a satisfying superhero movie? Let us know in the comments below.
Ant-Man hits theaters on July 17th, 2015.