It will probably be a long time before we get some truly candid quotes regarding director Edgar Wright’s departure from Ant-Man. Maybe in 20 years when Peter Biskind gets around to whatever book of his that will cover Hollywood from 2000-2020. Today’s comments from Marvel head Kevin Feige on the matter are probably about as frank as things are going to get in the near future. The fact of the matter is that this kind of stuff happens all the time, but the exceptions here are that Wright was on the project for eight years and was only months out from shooting. For whatever reason, Disney and Marvel (with an emphasis on the former most likely) became unhappy with the script fashioned by Wright and co-writer Joe Cornish and brought on studio writers to take a crack at a polish. When that polish wasn’t to Wright and Cornish’s liking, they exited the project.
Enter new director Peyton Reed (in my opinion a very talented filmmaker in his own right) and a new revision by Adam McKay (followed up by a production polish). While Feige doesn’t give exact details of what went wrong, he does successfully paint a portrait of a flawed dynamic where everyone is being “too nice.” Which can always lead to problems. Hit the jump for more on the departure of Ant-Man director Edgar Wright as well as a few tidbits about Doctor Strange.
Feige told Empire Online:
“We’ve been with Edgar for eight years. The disappointing thing for me is not being able to make a movie with him, right now; it’s just the personal relationship. 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 [what the disagreements were] 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. We had always found a way around it, a way to battle through it and emerge on the other side with a better product. 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.”
Even if that’s a sanitized version of things, it totally makes sense to me. I’ve witnessed that kind of dynamic play itself out before. I’ll always be a fan of Wright’s, but now he’s free to get back in the business of making pure Edgar Wright movies, which is always my preference.
On the sunnier side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Feige had nothing but love for the upcoming Dr. Strange and its director, horror vet Scott Derrickson:
“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.”
There you have it. Are you going to give Peyton Reed a chance on Ant-Man? I’m actually hopeful his version will be fine and I can double feature it with whatever wonderful feature Edgar Wright is probably currently developing.