Arbitration to determine the legally binding, official writing credits of movies seem to be quite common occurrences – particularly in this age of studios commissioning several versions of scripts before cameras even roll. The implications are far-reaching for the writers involved, affecting everything from income to professional standing and reputation, but most are resolved without coverage from the press. Those headlines that do feature writing credit disputes are often attempts to generate salacious gossip or cause conflict where none previously existed, but with Ant-Man, the situation is somewhat different. This is as important to the fans as it is to the writers.
As a film adaptation of a Marvel comic book, Ant-Man began as Edgar Wright’s brain-child, which he nurtured and developed for almost a decade before getting the official nod from Marvel. He wrote the script with collaborator Joe Cornish (Attack The Block), and got the film almost entirely through its pre-production phase, before dropping out due to ‘creative differences’.
The issue here is that Edgar Wright fans are almost as fierce in their fandom as Marvel fans, and the marriage of the two had seemed to be a match made in heaven. Their swift and brutal divorce left a vast swathe of that potential audience bitterly disappointed, and Marvel was accused of trying to quash the remarkable talent of such a visually distinctive director.
It was speculated that perhaps co-writer Joe Cornish would step in, but while that did not develop beyond rumour, director Peyton Reed (Down With Love, The Break-Up) was hired. The script was often cited as being the source of problems between Edgar Wright and Marvel, and so the eyes of many Wright fans fell on the behind-the-scenes shufflings to see what would become of this tale that Wright had lovingly crafted over all those years. Adam McKay was recruited to work on the script, along with star Paul Rudd and, while McKay is himself a beloved filmmaker, many fans took issue with his tampering with a Wright script.
This is why today’s Ant-Man announcement is so important. After production difficulties that could have divided the audience, it has now been confirmed that Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish will get a “story by” credit, while the screenplay credit will appear as, “written by Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish and Adam McKay & Paul Rudd” – noting the two distinct writing teams that pulled it all together.
This is a respectful acknowledgement of the years of work and dedication given to the project by Edgar Wright, as well as confirmation of the fact that the finished film is very much built upon the firm foundations constructed by Wright before his abrupt and very late departure. Though the situation became unfortunately complex, the decision in arbitration must have been relatively simple, under the circumstances, and fans will no doubt appreciate the recognition given to the man who almost brought Ant-Man to fruition.
Source: The Wrap