ANT-MAN Director Contenders Include Adam McKay, Ruben Fleischer, and Rawson Thurber

     May 30, 2014


To say fans are dismayed at the abrupt exit of director Edgar Wright from his long-planned Marvel adaptation Ant-Man is an understatement.  The filmmaker departed the film last week after the studio heavily rewrote his script, leaving the studio scrambling to find a replacement with just under a year before the film’s release.  Since filming had already been pushed back to address issues Marvel had with the script by Wright and Joe Cornish, we knew a replacement announcement would be coming soon, and now a list of filmmakers that are meeting with the studio has surfaced.  With contenders like Adam McKay (Anchorman), Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), and Rawson Thurber (We’re the Millers) in the mix, it’s clear that Marvel is keen on landing a director well-versed in the comedy genre.  Hit the jump for more.

[Update: A new report pegs Thurber as the frontrunner for the job.]

ant-man-adam-mckayWe’ve been hearing over the past couple of days that a director replacement announcement on Ant-Man is imminent, and Heat Vision reports that Adam McKay, Ruben Fleischer, and Rawson Thurber are among the directors that are meeting with the studio.  Wright—who had been working on Ant-Man since 2006—envisioned the film as a caper comedy, and since most of the pic is likely already storyboarded and pre-vized, much of his central premise likely remains intact.  As such, Marvel is looking at filmmakers who have experience handling comedy.

McKay is the most interesting filmmaker on this shortlist, and he also seems the most likely.  He has experience with more action-oriented features like The Other Guys and has a close relationship with Ant-Man star Paul Rudd.  He’s been hoping to next tackle a remake of Uptown Saturday Night with Will Smith and Denzel Washington, but as far as we know that hasn’t been firmed up yet.  He’s also attached to direct the financial crisis drama The Big Short, but he only just started working on the screenplay.  As such, one imagines the prospect of helming a big Marvel movie—with the familiarity of Rudd in the lead, no less—is enticing.  Moreover, McKay’s heavy improvisational style on his films means he’s comfortable rewriting on the fly, which will no doubt be necessary as cameras roll soon on the film.  This is also a “best of a bad situation” scenario for Rudd, who undoubtedly signed on to star in an Edgar Wright film as much as he did a Marvel movie.

ant-man-ruben-fleischerFleischer and Thurber are interesting as well, though Fleischer’s last two films (30 Minutes or Less, Gangster Squad) have failed to live up to the promise of Zombieland.  And Heat Vision also mentions Jonathan Levine as a potential contender, though he’s gearing up to direct an untitled film with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, so it seems unlikely this could fit in his schedule.

At the end of the day, though, there’s simply no “replacing” Edgar Wright on a project that was unabashedly his, and since this project is already brushing up heavily on a deadline, whoever is brought in will mostly be executing a vision dictated by Marvel.  If I had my druthers, there would be no Ant-Man without Wright.

We should hear an official announcement regarding Wright’s replacement soon, but what do you think, readers?  Which one of these choices would be the “best” to direct Marvel’s first film of Phase Three?  Could Adam McKay taking the helm entice you back to the project?  Sound off in the comments below.  Ant-Man is scheduled for release on July 17, 2015 and also stars Michael DouglasEvangeline Lilly, and Patrick Wilson.


  • kps

    McKay could be good, not sure about the rest. They really need to get this right. A well respected name with a strong filmography is needed in order to pull the fans back in.

    • DNAsplitter

      I’d love to see JormaTaccone direct it. Guy nailed MacGruber and is about the only type of director that I’d like to see follow behind Wright as a replacement for a film of this nature.

  • Doug_101

    With all this concentration on a comedy director, I wonder why they pushed Wright out. Unless, they want it to be MORE of a comedy – Wright likes to add some drama elements in there.

    • Jon

      They didn’t push him out, he walked as he didn’t like the script they were forcing on him.

      • Snarky

        Forcing an unwanted script upon a director with integrity sounds like a push to me.

    • milo

      Sounds more like the disagreement was over the inclusion of specific plot points or scenes.

  • Stefan Bonomo

    For a best in a bad situation I would say Adam McKay, cause I actually thought he handled action well in The Other Guys.

    But yeah, this just seems like they’re trying to find the best comedy directors to replace Wright, but the problem is, they had the best, and now he’s gone.

    • Lex Walker

      I’d still be willing to watch a Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson buddy cop movie.

    • Guest

      “The best”? He’s made some descent movies that shined brightly thanks to Simon Pegg. He’s hardly the best.

      I think Judd Apatow is probably in the top 3 “best” comedy directors at the moment.

      I say bring in the Coen Brothers. That would certainly be something. I do like Ruben Fleischer. What he did with Zombieland was perfect.

  • This Guy

    I agree with everyone else in that Wright was already the best choice, but, if I had to choose one the directors from that list it’d be Adam McKay hands down. The only one I’d trust from that list.

  • daniel

    here is my list, it goes
    1 Edgar Wright,
    2 Edgar Wright
    3 EDGAR WRIGHT!!!!

    but I out of these guys I think Mckay is the best of the rest.

    • The Flobbit

      Let me counter with a second list:
      1. Edgar Wright, you morons.
      2. Edgar Wright, or nothing.
      3. Edgar Wright, or DIE!

      • Mixed race rich kid NYC

        Jesus Christ get a life

      • World’s Finest Comments

        This is the comment section. Lives don’t exist here.

      • Perry White

        Jesus Christ had a life, but you know that story.

  • João Paulo

    McKay is a solid name, but Ruben Fleisher could be good to.

  • The Flobbit

    Rupert Wyatt or Joe Cornish! C’mon guys!

    • Person

      How dare you suggest directors who have something resembling a vision…

      • The Flobbit

        I apologize. To think that I actually want someone with style and expertise on the job…it’s unforgivable.

      • Jon

        Joe Cornish would not work on it after Edgar left, they wrote the script together. You really think Joe would be happy with what Marvel has done to his script as well?

  • Bob

    Well, this is just sad. I really just wish Marvel took the risk and just let Wright do his thing even if they thought it didnt look good on paper. Honestly.

    I guess McKay then…

  • Person

    What a depressingly bland lineup. I’m not even that fond of McKay, whose only two good movies are the Anchorman ones (and the first half of The Other Guys), but he’s probably the best choice. Pick your poison, I guess…

  • eternalozzie

    any of them will do fine … it’s not like the director is running the show in a marvel production anyways.

    • bidi

      exactly. the director literally just picks the shots. this is Kevin Feige’s baby

  • Doot

    I’m curious to know whether or not Pau Rudd’s agent was involved in the re-writes.
    IIRC he was allegedly cast by Wright but still, I’m surprised no one brought that (conspiracy theory) up.

  • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

    Honestly, no. Maybe I’m not well versed in McKay’s filmography (haven’t seen Anchorman, sorry) but The Other Guys was “meh” at best. Fleischer has the visual flair needed and I never heard of the other guy but with Marvel not willing to push back the release date I hope none of these directors sign up for the job. Really. Just because if the movie turns out to be crap, the director is going to be labeled as the next Brett Ratner, you know, the guy who took over directing duties of certain X-men movie weeks before the shooting started and disappointed everyone? And then everybody hated him? At this point if you are doing this, then hire Ratner, what do you have to lose?

    Marvel, please, delay the movie until November and let the director you hire prepare his movie correctly (with your input or not, who cares now?) and deliver a quality cookie cutter product not a mediocre half baked cookie, at least for those who are going to watch it. Pretty please?

  • World’s Finest Comments

    Well McKay and Rudd worked good together on the two Anchorman films…
    I personally think Fleisher is a one hit wonder at this point. And Miller, I have no clue where that thought process is coming from.

    • DNAsplitter

      His work on We’re the Miller’s was ok but it was just because Jennifer Anniston and Jason Sudekis were carrying the weight of the film and any person could have directed it w the same results. But I did love Dodge Ball when that came out.

    • Person

      Fleischer is certainly a one-hit wonder. His last attempt at a big-budget, studio-driven action picture ended up being Gangster Squad – no need for him to try again on Ant Man. Thurber seems like an odd fit, but I haven’t seen Millers. McKay seems like the clear choice if these are really the only three Marvel’s looking at.

  • Johnny Greyhorn

    Wish Marvel could quit being cwunts and just let Wright come back and film his own script without their (assuredly, naff) changes…

    Oh well, in another Universe somewhere, where we all have squids for eyes, maybe that’s the case. And in that universe maybe the film absolutely sucked balls anyway… Who knows!

  • DNAsplitter

    Of those choices I’d like to see McKay take a stab at it as I enjoy his films the most. Reuben Fleisher unfortunately shows that lightning strikes only once w him as 30 Minutes or Less and Gangster Squad were both terrible films that squandered their talented casts. My personal choice would be Jorma Taccone because I love MacGruber and think he could bring in a certain quirkiness that Wright has would have given it. Either way it’ll suck as they’ll be filming a movie that was someone else’s vision ala Brett Ratner from X3.

  • Nemesis11

    I think Brad Bird would have been a great choice. He is the only person I think who can make this movie as exciting, funny and snappy as Edgar Wright could have made. Too bad he is still busy with Tomorrowland.

    • Jerry Dingwinger

      Busy making a movie that isn’t going to be totally dicked-up by a couple of know-it-all execs who have no faith in the intelligence or imaginations of the general populous…

      I’m glad he’s busy with Tomorrowland, least that movie isn’t being literally f**ked beyond recognition. I feel bad for Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and the rest of the cast – bet they wouldn’t have given a Marvel movie a second thought without Wright (and his script, which they would’ve seen and signed up for.)

      • Nemesis11

        Yeah I see what you mean. The cast was fantastic. I am surprised that it has been almost a week and this news is still bothering me. Somehow it managed to make me feel crazy angry about marvel studio (considering that I was disappointed but alright even after watching Iron Man 3).

        Was looking forward to it since last 6 years or so. fucking sucks knowing that we are not going to get ‘the’ Ant-man movie.

  • TigerFIST

    I would say McKay but ultimately I DON’T GIVE A FLYING FUCK!!! I want Edgar Wright! FUCK the higher ups and/or whomever responsible for changing Wrights script. THEY CAN GO EAT A GIANT BAG OF DICKS with no water! This is sloppy business at last minute. It’s not fair and no integrity for Wright. Why would any other directors want to come on board with Marvel with how they treat their directors?!?!?! It’s not fair to the fans and it’s definitely not fair to the actors that signed on assuming they were going to working with Wright and his script. FUCK ING BULLSHIT!!! I HAVE NO FAITH IN THE FILM NOW! THEY CAN EAT A BAG OF DICKS!!!

    • Nostromo

      I see now that proposing, at the outset of most conflicts, that someone should go ‘eat a bag of dicks’ would right most of the planet’s wrongs. Just everyone have a nice tuck-in at the dick table. Feast upon these dicks ye mighty and despair.

  • celxx

    Most of you sound like spoiled children throwing a tantrum. No kids, you can’t have your dessert before dinner.

  • Jesse!

    Honestly, all three of the names don’t inspire the greatest amount of confidence in me. But McKay and Thurber seem just too in line with the mainstream studio, broad comedy kind of mentality that would make a film like this more likely to just fade into the background.

    What completely astounds me is how I feel like I haven’t heard word one on the possibility of Joe Cornish himself taking over! I mean he’s not a total novice at directing, “Attack Of The Block” was extremely well received, and given the background, he seems like the logical next best possible choice after losing Wright. Although, now I think about it, Cornish may not even want to consider the possibility just out of some degree of loyalty/solidarity to Wright.

  • Jesse!

    Actually, if he wasn’t otherwise engaged with a certain little sci-fi property, I wonder how people might feel about the idea of Mr. Abrams taking over the reigns to Ant-Man…

  • Jamesy

    What about Guy Ritchie? He may not seem like the go to choice for a Marvel movie, especially Ant-Man. But given this has said to have a heist element to it, which Richie handles extremely well…I think this could work. His sense of humour seems like it could match also, and he’s got experience handling action, especially on a larger scale since tackling the Sherlock movies. Thoughts?

    • The Skins Factory

      He would be a great choice!

    • DNAsplitter

      He’s got deep ties to WB and there has been speculation that he may direct one of their DC films *I hope its the Flash*.

      • Jamesy

        I’d be down with him directing a Marvel or DC movie, but would love to see him tackle Ant-Man it just seems a good fit.

  • fluxCAPS

    I think Feige screwed his own reputation – permanently – when he fucked Wright over.

  • Redjester

    Ruben Fleischer is in my mind the only real option of the three of them, assuming they want the movie to actually work. That said, Adam McKay will probably get it due to his connection with Rudd. Shame.

    Who am I kidding though, this film is and will remain on my boycott list no matter who directs it (short of them rehiring Wright and using his script). Petty? Sure, but that’s how I roll.

  • Jason Reichow

    Two words: Shane Carruth

    • PunyGod

      haha. nice one mate.

    • The Flobbit

      Upstream Ant-Man

  • Pk

    Greg mottola should also be considerd

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