Just yesterday, Warner Bros.’ massive DC Comics movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice wrapped principal photography, but it appears that Marvel also had one of its own features complete filming the same day. Director Peyton Reed announced on Twitter that principal photography on Marvel’s Ant-Man movie is now complete. Considering the rocky road the film had towards production, it’s actually kind of impressive that it’s in the can. The project lost its co-writer/director Edgar Wright back in March, but Marvel scrambled and reworked the film in time to start filming this past July. More after the jump, including a full recap of the film’s somewhat bumpy road to fruition.
Just to revisit the history of Ant-Man, the comics adaptation was actually one of the first properties that Marvel started developing when it began producing its own films. Wright appeared onstage at Comic-Con back in 2006 as the attached writer and director of the project alongside newly hired Iron Man director Jon Favreau. Wright penned the screenplay with Joe Cornish, but it wasn’t until 2013, after Wright finished The World’s End, that he and Cornish started doing serious pre-production work on the film. They continued to fine tune the screenplay while casting ramped up, with Wright tapping Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, and Evangeline Lilly to star, with Corey Stoll and Michael Pena set for key supporting roles.
But then things went quiet. A production start-date was initially planned for March 2014 in Atlanta, but that didn’t happen. In late May, we found out why. Wright abruptly exited the film on May 23rd, leaving Marvel with a cast and 2015 release date, but no director. We subsequently learned that Wright and Marvel had major differences over the creative direction of the film, with Marvel requesting changes that would make Ant-Man more a part of the cohesive Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The studio subsequently courted a number of directors, including Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball) and Adam McKay (Anchorman). McKay actually came close to signing on, but opted to focus on his own directorial projects instead. However, McKay agreed to help rewrite the script while Marvel officially hired Reed, a self-professed Marvel superfan whose filmmaking credits include Down with Love and Bring It On, to direct the comics adaptation.
McKay and Rudd worked together on the Ant-Man script for the next few months, with McKay telling us they made the film bigger and “a little more aggressive”, adding a “giant” action sequence in the process. Indeed, Lilly recently revealed that Wright’s vision for Ant-Man was “incredible” in its own right, but would have “stuck out like a sore thumb” in the Marvel universe due to its unique, singular nature.
And so here we are, with a new version of Ant-Man in the can. This won’t be Wright’s film, obviously, but the cast is fantastic and the idea of seeing Paul Rudd leading a Marvel superhero movie is incredibly exciting, so we’re all curious to see what Reed (and producer Kevin Feige, no doubt) has put together.
The main hook for this Ant-Man, as originally envisioned by Wright, finds a swell way to utilize both of the comics characters that have previously donned the Ant-Man costume. Michael Douglas plays Ant-Man originator Dr. Hank Pym, who teams up with mentee and master thief Scott Lang (played by Rudd) to pull off a heist “that will save the world.” Lilly plays Hope Van Dyne, while Stoll fills the villainous role of Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket.
With principal photography complete, the post-production process on Ant-Man begins. Marvel does significant work on its films in post, and they always schedule a period of pick-up shooting (aka reshoots) so they can address issues they find with the edit or add in additional scenes that the filmmakers come up with after principal photography has wrapped. We can expect the same on Ant-Man, so some additional filming will likely take place sometime next spring, but the bulk of the filming is now complete.
So begins the waiting period, but according to Reed’s Tweet, we may see something Ant-Man related in the near future (a debut trailer attached to Into the Woods perhaps?). The film opens in theaters on July 17, 2015.