It’s a big day for Marvel news stories. Josh Brolin has just been confirmed to play the “Big Bad” Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy and future Marvel Studios films, and earlier this morning a shortlist of contenders to take over Ant-Man surfaced. Following Edgar Wright’s exit from the film, Marvel has been working quickly to line up a new director that can start production imminently, as the cast and pre-vis are already set and the studio is racing towards a July 17, 2015 release date. The reported shortlist includes Anchorman 2 director Adam McKay, Zombieland helmer Ruben Fleischer, and Rawson Marshall Thurber, who most recently directed the comedy We’re the Millers.
Now, according to a new report, Thurber has surfaced as the frontrunner to be the new Ant-Man director, while Fleischer is also in consideration for the helm of Ghostbusters 3. More after the jump. [Update: And now it looks like McKay will be the one to take the gig, as he is currently in talks with Marvel for the director's chair.]
The folks over at The Wrap are reporting that Rawson Thurber is now the frontrunner to take over directing duties on Marvel’s Ant-Man, edging out McKay and Fleischer. Though the other two seemed like the more qualified candidates, McKay has a number of producorial commitments and also has his own directorial projects lined up (ie. he doesn’t “need” Ant-Man). As for Fleischer, he could use a boost given that his last two films, Gangster Squad and 30 Minutes or Less, failed to take off, but the report notes that he and his wife just had a baby and he may not be willing to make this kind of commitment straight away.
So that leaves us with Thurber, who is hot off the somewhat surprise comedy hit We’re the Millers. Speaking candidly, none of these three filmmakers are known for their visual style, but Thurber has the least defined aesthetic of the bunch. He directed the 2004 comedy Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and seems like a competent enough filmmaker, but he doesn’t really hold a candle to Wright. And maybe that’s how Marvel wants it. Given the time crunch, the studio is looking for someone who can apply their notes and essentially guide the ship in without rocking things too much, and that makes Thurber a suitable fit for the job. The revised script is apparently wildly different from Wright and Joe Cornish‘s draft (complete with modern culture references), so Thurber may not be too tied down to Wright’s specific vision. Marvel is the author of Ant-Man now.
The report also notes that Fleischer is “being considered” for the job of directing Ghostbusters 3, but that project is much farther away than Ant-Man. Marvel can’t be too happy with all the bad press and speculation, so I imagine we’re not far off from an official announcement regarding the new director.
Ant-Man will star Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evanegline Lilly, and Patrick Wilson and opens in theaters on July 17, 2015.