Marvel’s Kevin Feige Talks ANT-MAN Troubles and Hiring Peyton Reed to Direct; Reveals Reed Previously Met for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

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Much has been written about Marvel Studios’ recent struggles with Ant-Man, and while the intricacies regarding director and co-writer Edgar Wright’s departure may not be made entirely clear for some time, we do know this: fans were excited for an Edgar Wright Ant-Man movie, and we will not be getting an Edgar Wright Ant-Man movie.  As every minute detail of the subsequent replacement director search was reported on, the studio even appeared to be foundering in finding a new filmmaker to take the reins of a movie that’s set for release next summer.  Finally, Marvel settled on Bring It On and Down with Love director Peyton Reed to bring Ant-Man to fruition, and the studio has an uphill battle in winning back the fans that were so enthused to see Wright’s take.

The studio itself has been very quiet with regards to Ant-Man recently, but Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has now spoken at length about why they chose to hire Reed and touched on Wright leaving the project.  Moreover, Feige revealed that Reed had previously met with the studio about directing a different Marvel project entirely.  Hit the jump to read on.

kevin-feige-ant-manWhile speaking with IGN, Feige revealed that he and Reed have known each other for some time:

“Peyton is someone that I’ve been a fan of for a long time. People may not remember, though probably your readers remember, that he was attached to Fantastic Four more than 10 years ago. We spent a lot of time together…  and I got along with Peyton very, very well and he had awesome ideas and an awesome vision for the movie, and for various reasons he ended up leaving that movie…”

In speaking to why Reed is the right fit for Ant-Man, Feige revealed that the filmmaker was actually a contender for the Guardians of the Galaxy gig:

“He’s come in to meet on a lot of our movies over the years, in particular Guardians. He had a lot of awesome things to say on Guardians. But James [Gunn] had a slightly more solid take that was of interest to us. But Peyton was always on our lists, and so when this happened and Edgar [Wright] said ‘Not for me’ we met with a handful of people, but Peyton was always one that I thought would be great.

It was not a slam-dunk that he would just step into it and do it. He wanted to be sure that he wasn’t just inheriting something or following someone else’s lead. Or wasn’t inheriting something that the evil studio had watered down to be something bad. I kept saying, ‘You can either read what’s online, or come in and talk to us and look at all this stuff.’ He looked at everything, he talked with us, and he said ‘Number one, I agree with the direction you’re going in. And number two, I can add to it.’ And he has – the movie is in as good a shape as it’s ever been right now.”

ant-man-costumeWe know that star Paul Rudd’s frequent collaborator Adam McKay contributed to the script after Wright was dropped, and we recently learned that writers Gabriel Ferrari and Andrew Barrer have been hired to do one last pass and remain on set for last-minute rewrite work.  With so many screenwriters being brought on after the fact, one imagines this new Ant-Man will be significantly different from the script that Wright and Joe Cornish initially developed over an eight-year period.  However, Feige maintains that the pic is still in step with Wright’s take on the character:

“It’s still very much in the spirit of what Edgar’s original pitch was and the entire template of the movie is what Edgar set out and originally came and pitched us maybe eight years ago now. But it’s on its way to being the absolute best version of what that movie could have been.”

I’d counter that Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man is probably the best version of Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man, but the cast assembled is certainly impressive and hopefully Reed has a strong hold on his ideas for the film.  Feige likened the filmmaker to Captain America: The Winter Soldier helmers Joe and Anthony Russo, saying audiences might not be familiar with him now, but they’ll be big fans when the movie opens.

We may get our first idea of what to expect from this retooled Ant-Man at Comic-Con next weekend, as Michael Douglas told us he’ll be attending the convention.  Be sure to stay tuned for our full recap of what goes down during the big Marvel panel on Saturday night.

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  • TigerFIST

    Booooooo!!!! I still want’ Edgar Wright! I don’t know the man, but from what I see I like Kevin Feige. Of course he’s going to say something to make us fans feel better, but this is still crap, and I’m still upset they changed Wright and Cornish script to the point they left.

    “I’d counter that Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man is probably the best version of Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man”

    TOTALLY AGREE!!!!

    THIS SUCKS AND I WANT EDGAR WRIGHT AND NOT A RUSHED MOVIE!!!

  • Colonel_Neville_Wraithchild

    who cares if reed was attached to FF ten years ago and had awesome ideas about it? you know who also had awesome ideas about a marvel film and was attached to it for years? edgar wright that is; obviously Marvel don’t care about that anyway so why mention it.

  • Al

    And the award for Snakeoil salesman of the year goes to Mr. Feige

    • Steven Ray Morris

      What were you expecting him to say? He runs a business.

      • Al

        Of course its expected. Feige being a snake oil salesman didn’t surprise me at all. The only thing I’m reporting is that he is the best of the year.

    • Ron Stanford

      If Mr. Frige is a snake-oil salesman, order me a gross of snake oil.

  • kps

    Damage control mode activated. It also doesn’t say much if he was, in fact, overlooked for Guardians.

  • https://vimeo.com/81898164 Luis Mariano Garcia

    Wright developed how Ant-Man’s powers would look like on screen. I’m pretty sure he’s the only one capable of doing it right, and this is why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FOzD4Sfgag

  • Grayden

    Open Q&A sessions with Fiege at SDCC are going to be very, VERY interesting.

  • theseeker7

    I’m sure Kevin Feige is a good guy and all, but I’m sorry, all things considered I just don’t know how you NOT say that Peyton Reed is just “inheriting” something here.

  • appolox

    Edgar Wright’s version of Ant-Man will probably always be the best version of Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man. But i have to wonder. Was it really the best version of Ant-Man? Edgar is my hero and i was happy to see him team up with Marvel. But i can completely understand if they wanted a more true to comics version of the character, and had to let Edgar go to achieve that.

    • TigerFIST

      ummm, no!

    • AverageGamers

      Totally agree with you. If one sees this with a clearer and cool head, I’m sure Ant-Man would’ve been completely ‘different’ if other people was developing it on the first place.

      Too early to tell, but from what I can assume, if it hadn’t because of Wright, we wouldn’t have a Scott Lang’s Ant-Man, but rather an actual Hank Pym’s one, considering Jan/Wasp was in the (Whedon’s) original draft of The Avengers. To think that this was another thing that made ‘fans’ furious… hmmm, so hard to please a fanboy, don’t you think?

      • appolox

        Yeah. They also had to change Ultron’s origin since it would be Scott Lang instead of Hank Pym.

    • Al

      That would ignore completely that Edgar left them. They still wanted him after the grubby MCU Shorts guy rewrote a script that the new synopsis tells us will now be just another in a long line of ‘fate of the world is at stake’ pictures.

      For the record, yeah, if thats what Marvel wants you can’t blame them as a company for wanting to do a boring proven formula for the big bucks.

      As a fan, yeah, I can be upset. I love both Marvel (characters and stories, not corporate) and Wright. And as someone who loves Marvel and Wright, I want Wright to make Ant-Man.

      That is all.

  • ItsNotaSchooner

    I am a huge Edgar Wright fan, and was completely looking forward to his Ant-Man movie, however, I get the sense that in the years since he was brought on and Marvel found its success, the movie he intended to make was no longer fitting into a bigger MCU picture. I feel like Marvel most likely and civilly told him that they don’t want him to make a movie he was uncomfortable making, but that they were moving forward with what they wanted to make, which is perfectly right and fine. I don’t think Edgar Wright should make anything other than an Edgar Wright movie, and I think Marvel felt the same way too, probably as huge fans of his. I think MArvel at times has had to make some shrewd decisions, but I don’t think in any way that they are evil or that they just want a filmmaker to push around. They are in charge of their own brand, and that means keeping a close and protective eye on it and cultivating it the best way they see how. The Edgar Wright version of Ant-Man will go down as one of the greatest “what-ifs?” but I feel strongly that Marvel has set the course for another exciting, fun, action-packed, comic-book movie with Reed’s Ant-Man. Benefit of the doubt shall be given until we see something that should prove otherwise.

    • Jhan

      More thoughtful than other comments I’ve read.

    • brNdon

      Well put.

    • AverageGamers

      Wonderful comment there kind sir! ;)

    • The Walking Cuban

      Fully

    • Al

      Benefit of the doubt that the film could wind up good somehow? Sure. I’ll give that. Benefit of the doubt that Feige wasn’t behaving screwy here? Nope.

      Because it was green lit after being redrafted numerous times with Feige constantly looking over Wright’s shoulder.

      I agree, Edgar shouldn’t make anything other then an Edgar movie. That is why he choose to leave, after his film was secretly redrafted.

      • eternalozzie

        Hollywood blockbuster making is no longer a one man show … Wright wasn’t playing well with others so he left before he got tossed.

      • Al

        But that is ignoring the fact that Wright’s draft came together under a tight watch from Feige and Co. BEFORE being greenlite. They tried to change things way late in the game.

      • eternalozzie

        so what … this happens ALL the time in movie and TV production … it’s part of the business

    • eternalozzie

      very well put …

    • nNark

      Yes. Well said. And I do keep reminding myself of what I thought when I heard that Jon Favreau (“the Swingers guy??”) was gonna direct Iron Man (“Really? Who cares about IRON MAN?”). I’ll wait-and-see. And then judge like hell! Lol

  • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

    As much as people want to attack Feige for the situation with Edgar Wright I personally think he made the right call. If Wright wasn’t willing to make compromises on his script to accomedate the ever evolving world that Marvel has built in it’s 8 years then he had no business trying to get Ant-Man off the ground after Phase I was finished. If Wright’s version didn’t blend in then it’s a good thing he left because you’d have 12 films all lining up w an interconnected story and 1 film being on the outside doing it’s own thing. Granted Wrights unique cinematic vision will be missed as it would have been a great look for something like this but again this is also partly on Wright’s fault for not willing to compromise his vision – that started 8 years/12 films earlier – and part of the great/terrible consequences of having an interconnected universe for these films. It’s why Fox’s FF and X-Men can do whatever they want w their stories and it in no way effects the other.

    It’s just funny that one day Feige is a hero and the next an A$$hole because he had to make a tough business decision to keep the vision of the company in line (something he probably learned from Disney who strives at upholding their image/brand).

    • Al

      I stopped reading after you suggested Wright wasn’t willing to make compromises. Doesn’t anyone know what a greenlight is? Studios tinker with approved drafts all the time, but not to the degree where they completely change things right after the stamp of approval is given.

      THAT is what happened here.

      • Kpaqu1

        Studios do it all the time.

      • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

        Yea, I stopped reading after I saw “Does anyone know what a greenlight is?” He was given the greenlight in 2006 for a release date before, read again, BEFORE The Avengers: AOU was to be released in place of GOTG but held off after Edgar asked to finish his trilogy w World’s End. So out of a favor Feige let Wright do so. So yes his script needed to be adjusted as the other stories continued forward.

        THAT is what happened!

  • Kyle Chandler

    I’m not going to beat a dead horse, but I’ll just say that my enthusiasm for this film evaporated completely when Wright left. Might still be a good movie, but part of the success of these films can be attributed to the support of the…well, nerds, to be frank about it. This is one nerd that will find another film to champion.

    Feige still deserves a TON of credit for putting together the MCU, and I’m glad he’s there. That said, Ant-man still seems like an uncharacteristically stupid mistake.

    I think i’ll start calling it “Paul Rudd is introduced to the MCU to help them print lots of money over 6 films: The Movie”

    • http://www.JustPressPlay.net Lex Walker

      I’d love to agree and say the nerds deserve credit for their success, but they don’t. Their numbers are so small in the grand scheme of things that they really don’t matter financially. Really it’s all about advertising and a film hitting enough of the right notes to get butts in seats based on posters/trailers. That’s it. We’re pretty damned insignificant outside of the internet and comic-con hallways, business-wise. Studios love us because we buy their merchandise which is 100% profit.

      • Nathan

        “I’d love to agree and say the nerds deserve credit for their success, but they don’t. Their numbers are so small in the grand scheme of things that they really don’t matter financially. ”

        Well, if Wes Anderson and the coen brothers can turn a major profit (on a limited release!) using only their “niche” fans, then a comic book movie can definitely turn a profit with the greater geek fan base. Also, please realize that many comic characters are over 50 years old and thus iconic. Theres a reason I saw lots of older men at the Captain America opening.
        That said, marketing does matter. And geeks are frustratingly hard to please (moreso than the average moviegoer, i’d argue).

      • http://www.JustPressPlay.net Lex Walker

        That is a huge false equivalence for a number of reasons. For one, Anderson’s films usually don’t turn major profits, in fact, they’re usually lucky if they even recoup their production budgets (nevermind their advertising budgets – though those are definitely smaller than say a mega blockbuster, bust still expensive). The real false equivalence though, is that the fandom required to recoup the production for an Anderson or Cohen film is a mere fraction of that for a Marvel/Blockbuster. Blockbusters often need to double if not triple the production budget to turn an actual profit thanks to the huge number of distributors involve and the staggeringly low return from oversea box offices.

        By contrast, Cohens and Andersons are working against a different metric for success. Breaking even in theaters on the production budget is considered a success because there are good odds the smaller quieter film will be picked up by the people who wanted to see it in theaters but didn’t want to pay the $10-15 premium for a film that didn’t really need the big screen experience.

        But yeah, geeks are hard to please. No argument there.

      • Nathan

        “That is a huge false equivalence for a number of reasons. For one, Anderson’s films usually don’t turn major profits, in fact, they’re usually lucky if they even recoup their production budgets (nevermind their advertising budgets – though those are definitely smaller than say a mega blockbuster, bust still expensive).”

        But the fascinating thing is that they do make a profit (nowadays that is) despite catering to a specific audience.
        What i mean is, while the size of the movies and fan bases between Marvel and Coen/Anderson are very different, that struggle is the same.

        The struggle to make a profit despite catering to a certain group of people, and both are profitable in that sense.

        Edit: I would also like to add that personally I don’t really care that wright left, as disappointing as that is. I’m only ready to speculate on the quality when a trailer and actual synopsis is given.

      • http://www.JustPressPlay.net Lex Walker

        “The struggle to make a profit despite catering to a certain group of people, and both are profitable in that sense.”

        I think that’s my point though: blockbusters don’t aim for a “certain group” anymore, they target all groups. They strive to be as broad as possible, even as the people who obsess over them are typically only from a certain group. And conversely, I think the examples of the Cohens and Anderson are kind of a bad example of the average indie film as I think there’s a segment of the mainstream audience now that recognizes their work and, when it’s promoted correctly, seek it out even if it’s outside their usual mainstream cinema diet.

        Sidenote: I am over Wright leaving. Was it a bummer? Yeah, of course, he’s an amazing director with both comedic and action chops (aka exactly what Marvel wants). I think there’s still enough going in that film’s favor that it could still be excellent even if it’ll now lack Wright’s distinct style.

      • Kyle Chandler

        When I say that nerds are PART of their success, I don’t really mean ticket sales (with which I completely agree). There is a reason why films roll out the red carpets and all their biggest stars at Comic-con (as well as huge announcements). Nerds are a minority, but a vocal one, and they’re part of a viral marketing hype-machine. It’s nerds that get the word out for new movies (especially ones that mainstream audiences aren’t familiar with).

        Look at the press that Guardians of the Galaxy is getting. There’s a reason they went big at the last comic-con with only a week or so worth of footage under their belts.

      • http://www.JustPressPlay.net Lex Walker

        Oh yeah, on that I totally agree. We nerds are a noticeable part of the marketing apparatus no question. They know they can rely on the nerds to post the trailers for movies like GotG in their Facebook/Twitter feeds thus helping to indoctrinate the non-nerd fans. No doubt. Totally agreed, they definitely have a part in that respect.

      • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

        Agree. Look at the BO results of Dredd and Sin City. People expected big #’s after comic con for both films and instead one was a flop and the other did ok but was produced cheap enough that it made a profit and able to produce a sequel 9 years later.

      • http://www.JustPressPlay.net Lex Walker

        Yeah, though if you trust Karl Urban and Adi Shankar’s comments a couple months back, a Dredd sequel is actually back on the table due to the film’s incredible DVD/streaming success, though exactly when is very much TBD. While I don’t think nerd hype was substantial enough to give Dredd enough of a front-end bump, the positive word of mouth that came about as people gradually discovered it in their homes had a sizable impact.

        I also think Sin City deterred a lot of people thanks to black and white. It sounds like such a stupid thing, but let’s face it: when you’re younger (and in the target demographic that studios crave) you have a harder time getting past a movie being black and white. It might have all the violence and sexuality they could want, but in the age of HD color (and even in the age of VHS), generations raised on movies with color need convincing that black and white movies aren’t somehow lesser for not having color. I know I had that mindset until my mid-teens, and I also know that outgrowing that isn’t automatic it requires an effort that not everyone cares enough to make.

      • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

        It’s partly why I don’t think GOTG will do amazing at the BO. I think most people outside of die hard fanboys find the film bizarre (talking racoon and tree fighting aliens on another planet w only John C. Rielly as a semi-recognizable star). I’ve said it before but when I saw CA:TWS most people seemed confused by the trailer for the film.
        Not that I’m hoping it does bad but it’s just my guess that this is fanboy hype for something that won’t pan out the way Marvel would like it to, financially speaking. It will take rave reviews to push a film like this over the mark – something I’m not sure James Gunn can do given his past track record. My guess is this will wind up where The Incredible Hulk ended up both critically and BO wise. Maybe it’ll crack $300 given it’s in 3D.

      • http://www.JustPressPlay.net Lex Walker

        Yeah, I have doubts. I haven’t been seeing nearly enough commercials (granted I skip many) to penetrate into the mass market. Maybe there’ll be a huge push in the next two weeks? I dunno. There needs to be some push to get it there though. Then again, the first trailer debuted during Jimmy Kimmel – so maybe people are more aware of it than I/we think? I’m not sure. But we’ve got to start seeing a huge commercial flood any day now.

  • AverageGamers

    I wonder why some people would not stop complaining about Wright’s departure. Don’t like the idea? Then stop whining, stop reading these stories, and just… don’t watch it, end of case (though I’m really certain these folks would end up doing it anyway, even if only to prove your negativity).

    Some things happen for a reason, Wright’s departure was unexpected but there must’ve been a valid reason to that. Things just didn’t work out, similar to you and those numerous ex-es of yours. Now let’s just move on because the show must go on.

    I’m still optimistic, a tad disappointed cause Wright is one reason for my excitement, but I’m not that low or overly fanatic to a certain director to continue whining when I didn’t get what I want… that’s what general public called as ‘childish’. Ant-Man is one of the core character of Avengers, and that’s probably the biggest reason why I really want to see him (and Wasp) to show up in the movie, nothing else. I’m sure Reed would do just fine, and I’m looking forward to see he does justice to the hero. Let’s spread positivity instead of negativity, okay? Having just a small faith, doesn’t cost you anything…

    • Kyle Chandler

      Look, I’m a huge fan of Wright, and I agree that complaining won’t really help, but I don’t think this decision is all about Wright to people. Part of what excited me so much about these films is that it felt like they were getting original and visionary directors involved (Whedon, Gunn, Black). Marvel canning Wright felt, to me, like an indication that they might be going a different direction (as in, playing it overly safe), and I hope they don’t miss out on the opportunity to add unique voices to the MCU down the line.

      • http://www.JustPressPlay.net Lex Walker

        In other news, Whedon Black Gunn is the name of my new gunslinger anti-hero searching for justice in the wild west.

  • milo

    I enjoyed his not so subtle dig about the online sites (like this one) not having the facts and letting their speculation run wild. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, if this movie comes out and kicks ass, all those who insisted on whining and assuming the worst are going to have some serious egg on their face.

    Sometimes filmmaking relationships just don’t work out.

  • Jackie Jormpjomp

    Blah blah blah

  • TurnerTC

    I guess I’m in the minority on this, but I trust Marvel/Feige and look forward to the movie.

  • Daniel O’Reilly

    Did we really expect anything other than corporate doublespeak form Feige?

  • nNark

    It’s to be expected that a different director will offer some different takes on the material; I get concerned when a director states right off the bat that he “has some ideas.” It does come off as a bit egotistic (keeping in mind, such things are lifted out of context, of course).
    I also bristle at the notion that they plan to keep Wright’s basic structural style i.e. template, which, again, was expected, but now it just feels like, “Thanks, Edgar, for all the work; now we’re gonna do exactly all that, without you.”

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