When news broke that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World filmmaker Edgar Wright was stepping away from Ant-Man, reactions largely fit into two camps: baffled and disappointed. After all, Wright had been with the project for eight years and was just months away from filming when script rewrites sent down from higher-ups at Disney and Marvel forced him out.
The talented filmmaker’s plans for Ant-Man sounded so promising that many had wondered whether the superhero tentpole would be Marvel’s finest outing yet. However, it was never meant to be, we know now, and the sad truth is that partnerships between studios and directors breaking down is nothing new.
At this point, Peyton Reed (Yes Man) is sitting behind the camera, with a new script by Adam McKay that has been further polished during production. Marvel hasn’t failed us fans yet, so I’m still hopeful for Ant-Man, especially given the studio’s head honcho Kevin Feige’s recent comments expressing his excitement for the project. However, of course I still want to know what went so wrong with Wright’s take on the film. In lieu of some actual dirt on the disagreements (which is probably a good ten or fifteen years away still), Feige recently spoke to Empire about the snafu, stating:
“We’ve been with Edgar for eight years… The biggest disappointment to me is not that he will not be making the movie. It was determined by him and by us that that would not be the best thing for the movie. The disappointing thing for me is not being able to make a movie with him, right now; it’s just the personal relationship. And it was amicable and we sat in a room together and said this isn’t working. I just wish I or he had figured that out somewhere in the eight years leading up to it.
“Well, it’s not worth, right now, going into that in super-specifics. I wish it wasn’t as late in the day as it was, but it just had become clear that there was an impasse that we had never reached before. We’ve worked with lots of unbelievable talented filmmakers like Edgar before, and of course there are disagreements along the way. There’s always been disagreements, whether big or small; that’s the collaborative nature of filmmaking and in particular the collaborative nature at Marvel that has producers, not just me, that are very involved and very opinionated. We had always found a way around it, a way to battle through it and emerge on the other side with a better product. At no point do we hire filmmakers who do everything we say, and at no point do we hire filmmakers that we let just do anything they want. There is always a middle ground that we find, and it just became clear that both of us was just being too polite over the past eight years I guess! Then it was clear that, ‘Oh you’re really not gonna stop talking about that note?’ ‘Oh, you’re really not gonna do that note?’ Alright this isn’t working.”
Like I said, actual dirt is probably a while off, but Feige’s version of events certainly sounds accurate from what we know of the situation. At least now that he’s out of Ant-Man, Wright can get back to Britcoms in the spirit of his Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy – which, in my opinion, ranks as one of the finest comedy trilogies in cinematic history (albeit a loosely linked one).
News is a bit happier over on Doctor Strange, which Scott Derrickson is now directing for Marvel. Feige gave us a little intel on working with Derrickson so far and what the film’s tone will be:
“I would say you can certainly look at the past work of the filmmakers we hire as a bit of an indication for the tone of the movie, but not necessary everything. The Russos, who are well known for their sitcoms, there is nothing sitcom about The Winter Soldier! No, I wouldn’t say just because he has only done horror movies means that Doctor Strange is going to be a horror movie. It means he is a talented filmmaker who we think could add something unique and very fresh to the particular franchise. But there could be scary moments. There are scary moments in all our movies! There are some scary people that Strange has to deal with, I will say.”
Well, here’s hoping Doctor Strange is able to get through production without any Ant-Man-sized problems. Given the character’s association with the more supernatural side of the Marvel Universe, Doctor Strange is a key movie for the studio – and I’d imagine Feige will be taking great caution to make sure he stays in good standing with Derrickson.
Ant-Man opens July 17th, 2015, while Doctor Strange‘s release date has not yet been announced (we’d expect to see it in 2016 or 2017).