ANT-MAN Drama Continues as Director Rawson Marshall Thurber Passes on Offer from Marvel; Nicholas Stoller in the Mix [Updated]

     June 3, 2014


Ant-Man appears to be Marvel’s on-going orphan property as the directorial drama continues.  Let’s rewind.  Though Edgar Wright had been working on the adaptation of the size-changing comic book hero since 2006, Marvel gave him the ant-ax almost two weeks ago citing disagreements over script changes.  A trio of potential replacements was quickly established, with Adam McKay entering into talks and quickly turning down the offer.  Zombieland director Ruben Flesicher was also in the mix, but is likely considering the director’s chair for Ghostbusters 3.  That left us with Rawson Marshall Thurber as the lone director in contention.  At least that was the case until earlier today when he reportedly passed on the offer [Update: Or perhaps wasn't even offered it at all?].  Hit the jump for more.

[Update #2: In a report on a different film altogether, Deadline still says Thurber is "the favorite" for Ant-Man but adds that Nicholas Stoller (Neighbors) and Michael Dowse (Goon) are names that are "making the rounds."]

rawson-marshall-thurber-ant-manThe fine folks over at This Is Infamous (via Jeff Sneider) say that Marshall Thurber has indeed passed on the offer to direct Marvel’s Ant-Man.  [Update: According to Jeremy Smith at AICN, he wasn't even offered the job to begin with.

Rawson Marshall Thurber has not been offered ANT-MAN. Revise your stories.
The previous story continues below.]

There’s no reason given for his decision, though maybe he’s decided to move forward with the planned sequel to We’re the Millers, or his Choose Your Own Adventure adaptation.  Or perhaps it’s more of an ego thing considering McKay was the first to receive an offer from Marvel.  One could also speculate that this property has become toxic, even with Marvel’s current spot atop the list of most-anticipated films.

The thing is, this toxicity would go both ways.  Not only does the ill will affect the fan base (at least in the short term until the next shiny, suited superhero takes to the screen), it could potentially affect the Marvel Cinematic Universe at large.  Since Marvel was so keen to keep Wright’s creative vision out of their universe but have yet to cancel Ant-Man, it follows that the scientist superhero is part of their broader plans.  In other words, the film is already written into the fabric of the studio’s plans for Phase Three.  Fans more or less knew what we were getting with Wright at the helm, and could conceivably get a sense of tone with either McKay, Marshall Thurber, or even Fleischer in charge.  But let’s face it, Marvel is now likely looking for a yes-man as director who will take their notes and churn out whatever they deem appropriate.  It’s a shame, since Ant-Man was poised to be a fun and unique entry in the Marvel movie-verse.  Now … enter Brett Ratner?


  • Ho

    Don’t you dare bring Brett Ratner into this!

    • 80sRobot

      You know the other day I was thinking about Ratner’s recent movies, and how he has (had?) this thing for being the guy the studios went to to quickly direct a movie sequel. And he would emulate the style of a director most associated with that franchise. (X-Men: Last Stand = Singer’s style; Terminator Salvation = Cameron style; Red Dragon = Johnathan Demme style.) I find his mimicry interesting, not necessarily praiseworthy, but interesting.

      So this raises the question: Could he ape Wright’s visual directing style?

      • Norrtron

        The answer is no, he couldn’t.

      • Batt Damon

        McG directed Terminator Salvation

      • 80sRobot

        Doh! Shows you how I can barely tell them apart.

      • Batt Damon

        Yep, they’re both generic fill-in directors

      • Keir Sittloh

        I was thinking the same thing yesterday when I watched the Hercules trailer 2.

      • gar216

        Terminator Salvation was definitely McG. Ratner would have made a better movie in this (rare) case.

      • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

        You see, I agree with you. Although Red Dragon wasn’t half bad (have yet to see Mann’s version but I can say already it is superior) I see him as somewhat of a necessary evil. I mean, the guy has to have some talent to at least being able to deliver what the studios want because, quite frankly, someone has to (and the guy surely needs to pay some bills). He is the kind of director that will deliver a decent movie if the script is decent (terrible if the script is terrible, you know what I mean). Let’s put it this way: he is Pulp Fiction’s The Wolf. He goes, he cleans and goes away. If it works, fine; if it doesn’t, cool. Someone would hire him anyway because there is always the need for someone who doesn’t ask any questions. And, sadly, Marvel has proved with Ant-Man that they are becoming that kind of shadow figure.

        PS: I know McG directed T:S but other guys pointed out that before so, no need for overkill here.

      • P

        So you want a director who is indifferent if his or her movie is good. You’re a clown joke brah.

      • Matt1

        You just typed “brah”, so your argument is automatically invalid.

      • drifter77

        Well said Apprentice.

      • joeybot

        Hollywood has always had middling directors to make throwaway movies. Not every movie has to be art, some are made to make money. As long as Ratner stays away from overly ambitious stuff he’s fine. I mean, who else should have directed Rush Hour 3?


      • Lex Walker

        Easy answer? Nobody.

      • joeybot

        Well, yeah…but it was going to get made and too bad not every movie is a gem that you love. I actually looked sort of forward to 3 because I did like the first two. But…eh.

        Still, Ratner’s like John Badham or whatever back in the 80s. He makes programmers, does them okay, but keep him away from movies that should be really good like Red Dragon.

      • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

        Actually, I read De Laurentiis wanted Michael Bay for directing it. No kidding.

      • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

        Never said that…. brah. I implied that, in Marvel’s position, that’s the kind of director he needs right now.

        Speaking of which: I’m thinking of John Hyams as a possible director. Who agrees?

      • Lex Walker

        I disagree. They’re already scraping the bottom of the barrel for directors with theatrical release experience, but you’re suggesting they go a few rungs lower and hire a direct-to-video guy? Ain’t happening.

      • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

        Well, John Hyams basically resurrected the Universal Soldier franchise and turned in two of the most acclaimed films from that series (which may not be saying much, actually).

        My point being: that is probably the only director that can agree with Marvel’s requirements right now

      • Lex Walker

        Really, you think he’s the ONLY director that would agree to Marvel’s requirements? How about a TV director from an HBO, Showtime, or AMC franchise? Those guys prep in a month or less and aren’t used to the luxury of script input. Also, if they’ve worked on True Detective, Sopranos, Breaking Bad, or Mad Men, then they’ve directed something with more cinematic quality and audience approval than anything Hyams has ever done. He’s a fine director for what he is, but there are much better more readily available options.

      • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

        I didn’t mean that he was the ONLY but that he was THE KIND of director that can agree with Marvel. Sorry for the improper grammar.

      • P

        Ya good argument…except McG directed terminator salvation

      • jack

        McG directed terminator salvation

    • Davis

      Yes the way he ruined x-men even though he didn’t

  • Daniel O’Reilly

    It won’t happen, but it would still be pretty awesome if Marvel had to beg Wright to come back on board.

    • axalon

      Agreed, it’d be pretty great if every director refused to work on this project just to stick it to Marvel.

  • TotesMcGotes

    Come on, Marvel. Bite the bullet and call Edgar Wright back.

    • TigerFIST

      fucking thank you yes thank you! This guy knows what he’s talking about!!!

    • YodaRocks

      Egos are bigger in Hollywood.

    • Merlin235

      It wasn’t money issues that caused the breakup. If it’s disputes over the vision for the film, that isn’t something you can just throw in another $500K and get over your differences. I wish we knew exactly what the differences are, that would provide for great conversation.

  • CuriousFan

    How fitting. Want to have an idea what a Brett Ratner led Antman flick would be like? Then look no further than the Hercules trailer released today.

  • randommale7

    I’ll do it, as long as my name isn’t in the credits…ghost directing!!!

    • Daniel O’Reilly

      You would be Alan Smithee.

      • Malaguy

        The DGA no longer allows the Alan Smithee credit, sadly.

      • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

        That got me thinking, though. What if some guy who is actually named Alan Smithee wants to be a film director?

      • Roderick

        He gets the job – with a resumee that long, how can he not?

  • Person

    Hey Marvel, I’m available. Just FYI.

    • World’s Finest Comments

      I’d hire you just so I can see the end credit “Directed by Person”.

      • Sten

        And you could be the writer:
        Written by World’s Finest Comments.
        Hilarious. :)

  • 80sRobot

    It probably wasn’t an ego thing. Thurber probably passed either because (as you reported) that he’d rather pursue other movies that have now opened up for him to direct, or maybe he didn’t feel he’d have enough time to prep and get this movie made properly. So I am reading into the tea leaves that Marvel is falling behind schedule on Ant Man and really needs a miracle worker who can bang this out fast.

  • GrimReaper07

    What once used to be the most promising and possibly original upcoming superhero movie is now a project nobody wants to touch with a stick. Good one Marvel.

    • TigerFIST

      lol. Agree

  • Maxine

    Wow. Who the hell is left to direct?

    • E. Lee Zimmerman

      Woody Allen.

      • GrimReaper07

        That would be the most amazing superhero movie ever, if only because it’d be too insane and crazy to pass up.

      • Batt Damon

        Well, he already did Antz…



  • Doug_101

    Can’t-Man lives! This movie is not happening next summer.

    • World’s Finest Comments

      I can’t believe I’m just now hearing Can’t-Man puns. You sir, deserve payment for your cleverness. Have an up vote!

      • Doug_101


      • Doug_101


  • Travis Callaway

    It would be quite awesome if EVERY director Marvel approached to helm this would give them a cold shoulder – not likely, but it would be fitting.

  • jocab_w

    I look forward to the Q&A portion of the Marvel Studios panel at this year’s Comic Con.

    • 80sRobot

      Will it even happen now?

      • jocab_w

        Good point. I seem to remember there not being a panel the year before Avengers came out, so maybe not. Darn.

    • TigerFIST


    • The Flobbit

      “Hey Marvel, why did you screw yourself over?”

  • 80sRobot

    At this point, Marvel may need to start considering directors who work more in television.

    • Dave Trumbore

      Worked out well for Joe and Anthony Russo.

      • jocab_w

        And Joss Whedon.

      • World’s Finest Comments

        Didn’t work out for Alan Taylor so much. Just my opinion.

      • Lex Walker

        Box office receipts suggest it worked out just fine.

      • World’s Finest Comments

        So quality = money?

      • Lex Walker

        Didn’t say Quality = Money, just that it did work out for Alan Taylor as far as Marvel was concerned.

  • TigerFIST

    What the hell is going on over there? I remember Feige saying there making Ant-Man due to Wrights vision. So will they cancel the movie now? This is a little embarrassing. They just need to put their pride aside and CALL EDGAR BACK saying, “You know what, we were wrong. We would love for you to come back and direct Ant-Man.” Probably will never happen. I’m scared for the project now….

  • Jose G Delgado Jr

    I had such high hopes for this film, the property alone called for a bit of a stylistic approach… when it does come to the screen, it’ll probably not be as visually appealing were Wright still in the director’s chair. Overall, I hope that this doesn’t tarnish Marvel Studios for other directors, writers and actors.

    • Nico

      Yes, and aside from all our speculations, I’d still love to know some authentic details as to what actual changes in a script would cause Wright to drop out. I guess we may never know.

  • Johnson

    Just have Wright and HIS screenplay back and everything will be perfectly fine…

  • Drake

    Ohhhh, if Brad Bird weren’t already deep into production on Tomorrowland…

  • Shadow

    To paraphrase Dave Chappelle, “MARVEL IS F**KING UP!”

  • Grayden

    God….Everyone should say no to this so Marvel has no choice but to go crawling back to Wright and let him make the movie he wanted to make; MCU be damned.

  • Kaine Morrison

    I’ll do it for FREE!

  • Kaine Morrison

    Russel Mulcahy should do it, Maybe even Brian(Bryan?) Spicer

    • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

      You know? I F-ing LOVE that suggestion! Mulcahy does anything you put in front of him but he has a nice visual style! I’m in!

      • P


      • World’s Finest Comments

        “I like to say one word sentences that not only a mental patient in a bathrobe would say, but are just as short and baffling as my user name.” -P

      • Dinkleburg

        “I like to post difficultly-phrased comebacks that are not only shallow and boring, but are just as egregious and false as my user name.” – World’s Finest Comments

      • Lex Walker

        “I like to speak for the fine residents of Dinkleburg though I neither live there nor have ever been legitimately elected to represent them. I am a fraud.” – Dinkleburg

      • World’s Finest Comments

        *Difficulty-phrased? If you couldn’t follow this, than public school failed you miserably.
        *Calls me shallow, resorts to shallow insults.
        *And my comment to like ratio more than justifies my username. And “Username” is one word by the way, again, your teachers really failed you. =)

      • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

        Why so? Mulcahy is a great visual director who directed, arguably, the best directed RE movie to date and the already classic Highlander (and its sequel, and The Shadow and is now condemned to Direct to Video cheap movies)

  • The Flobbit

    At this point, and I mean SOON, if they don’t get a director…the actors are going to start dropping. We know for a fact that Paul Rudd, and most likely half the cast signed up for an EDGAR WRIGHT movie, not a Marvel movie.

    Get on this, Marvel. I predict that if in two weeks there is no director, the movie will be scrapped. Giant clusterf-ck on Marvel’s part.

  • Paulb

    Why would any director with any credentials, that has anything else possibly going on, want to do this? It is simply a body they are looking for. At this stage everything is essentially done so while they could probably do minor tweaks and throw in a bit of their own visual flair, it wouldn’t be their movie. It would be somebody painting by numbers.

  • Cjv95

    Damn, really? NO ONE wants to touch this? Is it THAT bad?

    • Ashtalon

      Not many directors may want to step into a film with barely a month to prep. They’ll likely have very tiny influence on the script too. Also, they may already be committed to other films which could conflict time-wise with Ant-Man.

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  • One

    Idris Elba should direct.

    • Daniel O’Reilly

      I was waiting for someone to say that.

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    This is a job for… Renny Harlin!

    Marvel was being super boastful like dude on the ground in Game of Thrones. Ha. We all know what happened…

    Seriously though it was clear by the reactions of the other directors, even Gunn who was trying to keep his next job, that something kinda funny was up. We are in serious danger of getting cookie-cutter movies. Because once they go magical with Strange and cosmic with Guardians and Thanos, they will have exhausted a lot of their sub-genres that they like to use to keep things fresh. What are they gonna do a western with Cap? They need at least a few auteur directors who can put a unique vision to a character. What about a James Cameron Namor? (I know not gonna happen, just an example) Then they would really be cooking. Oh well… Lets enjoy their run while it lasts.

  • Werefon

    They should hire Marc Webb. Guy defo knows when to bend over to please studio just watch The Amazing Shit-Eater 2.

    • Drake

      If we could pretend that Webb didn’t make TASM 2, and only made (500) Days of Summer and the first TASM, than I honestly wouldn’t have been against the idea…

      • Lex Walker

        I don’t know 500 Days of Summer is only an acceptable movie to me if you cut the last minute of the movie where he meets a new girl, and her name is Autumn. That killed that movie.

      • James

        I would say Andrew Stanton, but he had to go and make John Carter.

      • Werefon

        Even if he didn’t make TASM 1 it’s still NO,

  • Tujaun

    Taking that everybody seems to be avoiding this like the plaque,I’m actually kind of glad Wright did too.Lets say the new script is trash and the movle flops,with Wright labeled director..He would be the one blamed for the atrocity,even though Marvel and their poor vision are the real things at fault

  • Royale With Cheese

    Wow, this is just, wow, all kinds of bad. A relatively no-name director who should be happy to have his name attached to a Marvel film, passes on it. Lol, I know they will now just go into desperation mode and hire some guy off the street to save face (they can’t have any more directors declining publicly) so whoever they get now is more than likely going to tank this movie. At this point, it may be better to scrap the film and start from scratch.

  • Beatific

    They are adapting Choose Your Own Adventure into a movie? First I’ve heard of that one.

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  • Snoop

    I cant believe so many people luv Edgar Wright his movies are so silly , unless your british I just don’t get it

    • TheMattedScreen

      they require patients

      • Unicron

        From which hospital?

      • TheMattedScreen

        General Hospital – being treated by James Franco for spelling errors. It’s what I get for writing copy for medical professionals all day long… I lose patience with myself and bad thing happen creating embarrassing situations.

      • Lex Walker

        And that’s the premise of my new hidden camera show: Medical Madcaps

  • TheMattedScreen

    At this point the more interesting movie could wind up being the one about actually getting Ant-Man made in the first place – not the movie itself. Could be the next David Fincher thriller with Stephen Soderberg as Feige, Jesse Eisenberg as Edgar Wright, A CGI enhanced Brad Pitt will play Paul Rudd, and Kevin Spacey can be Michael Douglas.

  • Convoy

    At this point they should just call Edgar Wright and let him do the movie. That is if he would even come back.

  • poppincherry

    No matter how great the director may be nothing can trump the source material. If it sucks it sucks!
    And don’t forget the special effect guys, cinematographers etc. They all play key roles in a movie’s success.

  • Roderick

    Having eliminated every possible director in Hollywood, the choice will come down to Lynne Ramsay and Werner Herzog. Marvel cancels Ant Man.

    • Sten

      Werner Herzog is still better than Ratner or McG or Harlin. And he knows how to handle strange projects…

  • DNAsplitter

    McKay was the biggest name behing Wright that I think would have appeased most people’s expectations for this film (I still want Jorma Taccone from MacGruber but that’ll never happen) and from the sounds of it that Ant Man is vital to their phase III series. They should call Wright back and find a way to meet in the middle w the script to get the ball rolling ASAP in order to meet their 2015 release date.

  • DNAsplitter

    McKay was the biggest name behing Wright that I think would have appeased most people’s expectations for this film (I still want Jorma Taccone from MacGruber but that’ll never happen) and from the sounds of it that Ant Man is vital to their phase III series. They should call Wright back and find a way to meet in the middle w the script to get the ball rolling ASAP in order to meet their 2015 release date.

  • joeybot

    Gotta love douchy old Mr. Beaks. Loves how he gives the order “revise your stories.”

    Revise your life, loser!

  • joeybot

    Gotta love douchy old Mr. Beaks. Loves how he gives the order “revise your stories.”

    Revise your life, loser!

  • YodaRocks

    They are not able to ‘make’ Ant-man.
    This proves that Make > Ant. Suck it Apache.

  • Lovecraftlives

    Oh Shit! Should Marvel cancel this monster or will cancelling this film have larger repercussions the cinematic universe?

  • Royale With Cheese

    Haha UPDATE: No one is buying that he didn’t pass on the movie

  • Daniel Ronczkowski

    Aint it Old news…

  • Lowery

    It would be cool if they got Rian Johnson, but they might have another Edgar Wright situation with him too. They need to let their directors have some breathing room.

  • Chad

    Just call Joe Dante.

  • Connor

    James Bobin or Nick Stoller are good comedy directors (since that seems to be the way Marvel is approaching this), and they’re already under Disney’s thumb with the Muppet movies, so why not?

  • Pk

    They should hire phil lord and chris miller

  • JJFGeek

    Well Marvel if you wanna screw up this movie, by bringing a yes-man director.
    Here is your top ten list of directors to qualify to do so.
    1 Uwe Boll 2 Paul W. S. Anderson 3 Brett Ratner 4 McG 5 Michael Bay 6 M Night Shyamalan 7 Stephen Sommers 8 Jonathan Liebesman 9 Renny Harlin 10 Tide between Marcus Nispel or Rob Zombie.

    • Lex Walker

      Pretty sure that list would also count as Top 10 Worst Working Directors

  • Guest

    My theory is that it is a long elaborate joke for some special occasion coming up for Wright. They’re messing with him and then when the day comes the entirety of Marvel will jump up from behind couches in Wright’s home and say the re-writes were a joke. He’ll respond with “oh you guys.” *slaps knee*

  • enzofloc

    Oh crap! Guess I’ll have to direct this dildo of a picture myself.

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  • Strong Enough

    they’ll pick some TV director and that will be that.I’m surprised it taking them so long to pluck one from the television realm. this is embarrassing

  • Jamesy

    Guy Ritchie, just do it. It makes sense, and I doubt he’d take any sh*t.

  • Colin Christian

    Art Vs Commerce. How cool would it be if every director gave Marvel a hard time in complying with their wishes so that they then were forced into taking the Wright path?

  • Dave

    They should get Batfleck to direct… that would mess with everyone’s heads! :-)

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  • milo

    “so keen to keep Wright’s creative vision out of their universe”

    Wow, that’s some serious spin considering how little we know about the specifics of the situation. It was a script dispute, entirely possible they loved his creative vision but he insisted on a plot point that they just couldn’t accept.

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