Adam McKay Explains Why He Turned Down Directing ‘Ant-Man’

     December 21, 2018

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When Edgar Wright left Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man over creative differences a few months before filming was due to begin, the studio scrambled to find a replacement. Over the ensuing weeks, a number of directors’ names surfaced as being in contention to take over the project, and while Peyton Reed eventually took the helm, one of the early names that was the most curious was Adam McKay. Now, this was before McKay had made The Big Short, so his background in comedies like Anchorman and Step Brothers seemed like a solid fit and his close relationship with star Paul Rudd was no doubt a plus.

As we well know, McKay didn’t take the job but he did end up rewriting the script alongside Rudd. Now McKay has revealed why he turned down the offer to direct Ant-Man during a wide-ranging conversation on Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast. Basically, it boils down to his existing relationship with Wright:

“[I was basically offered Ant-Man] yeah, yeah. I’m friends with Edgar Wright, it felt a little weird to step in his shoes in that case. [Kevin] Feige at Marvel was totally cool, totally got it. At the same time I just said, ‘Oh my God I grew up on Marvel, man, I wanna do something over here.’ So I said, ‘Why don’t I do the rewrite with Rudd?’ That way I can respect Edgar and help out my buddy Paul with the rewrite, so it ended up being a perfect situation. Rudd and I holed up in a hotel room for like three months, rewrote the movie and just had a blast.”

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Image via Marvel Studios

While I respect McKay’s reasoning given his friendship with Wright, I do wonder how Wright felt about the Anchorman filmmaker rewriting his screenplay. Regardless, McKay says he had a blast working in the MCU albeit briefly and confirms the big fight between Ant-Man and Falcon was his idea:

“I gotta say, I really enjoyed working with Feige, man. There’s a reason that thing is clicking. That guy has good taste. We wrote this section where Ant-Man fights one of the Avengers and I was like, ‘Kevin I wrote this crazy thing where one of the guys—you probably won’t wanna do it,’ and he was like, ‘Well let me read it,’ and he read it and was like, ‘That’s awesome. We’re doing it!’ He just had that sense about him, and yeah what a fun world over there. I would definitely go back there and work. That was a career highlight, and I got a big giant Ant-Man poster signed by Stan Lee out of it, so basically ‘The End’ (laughs).”

While McKay is now in the process of releasing Vice and has his sights set on more dramatic projects, he does say he’s still in contact with Feige. In fact, when asked if he was offered the chance to take over Guardians of the Galaxy 3 for James Gunn, McKay doesn’t outright confirm he was offered the job but does say he and Marvel have been talking about potential projects:

“We’ve talked a little bit, yeah. I mean we were kicking around the idea of Inhumans at one point. We’re always kind of talking. I think Feige’s just the greatest and I think what they’re doing over there is amazing.”

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Image via Annapurna Pictures

Inhumans is likely dead now given that the Marvel TV adaptation probably sullied that IP for a good long while, but McKay says the one Marvel character he really wants to take a crack at is Silver Surfer:

“When I was like in fourth or fifth grade I got into Nova of all people, and I think they are kicking around a Nova idea. Silver Surfer is the one I wanna do, man. I would do anything to do Silver Surfer, because visually that would just be—you could do what the Wachowskis did with Speed Racer with the Silver Surfer, and at the same time there’s a great emotional story in there where the guy has to make the choice to save his planet. That would be the one.”

Silver Surfer, of course, is one of the characters that 20th Century Fox has, but with the Fox/Disney merger on the horizon, McKay may very well have his shot. So stay tuned.

Listen to the full, insightful podcast interview with McKay below.

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