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Adam McKay, Ruben Fleischer & Rawson Thurber In The Mix To Direct 'Ant-Man'

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by Kevin Jagernauth
May 30, 2014 11:42 AM
4 Comments
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It's been a full week since Marvel announced Edgar Wright's departure from "Ant-Man," the big question still lingers: who is going to take over the movie? It's just over thirteen months until the movie is scheduled to drop into theaters, and while fanboys have been hoping for names like the screenplay's original co-writer Joe Cornish (no chance) and "Guardians Of The Galaxy" helmer James Gunn (who recently denied rumors he was getting the gig), a fresh crop of contenders has surfaced and they are not the names you might be expecting.

THR reports that Adam McKay, Ruben Fleischer and Rawson Thurber are among those meeting with Marvel about potentially directing "Ant-Man." Let's remember, whoever gets this job is really taking the ball and running with it (especially if Marvel is holding that summer 2015 release date), and he'll basically need to put his head down, listen to instructions and crank it out. So let's break these down a bit shall we?

From a comedic perspective, McKay seems like a good choice to capture the irreverent tone Wright and Cornish put on the page (even if now sanded down through rewrites) and he has shown he can handle big setpieces too (thanks to efforts like "The Other Guys"). That being said, McKay likes to improvise and keep things loose on set, and there may not be enough time here for his approach, with Marvel looking to put their heads down and get this done.

Thurber, who is coming off last summer's sleeper hit "We're The Millers" and is the man who brought "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" to the world, also has shown he can do funny. However, he doesn't have the experience of big screen spectacles. And while Marvel usually provides an able, seasoned team around their newbie directors (see the Russo brothers and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"), they may not have the luxury of time for that here.

Of the three, Fleischer makes the most sense. He's done comedy and action together with ease ("Zombieland," "30 Minutes Or Less") and more crucially, he needs a comeback vehicle after the flop "Gangster Squad." If any one of the three will focus and do what's told of them, it's Fleischer, and it could be the bounce back he needs after two straight misses.

And while we're here, there are also rumors floating that Marvel executive Louis D'Esposito might get the job. He's produced nearly all the Marvel movies and directed a One Shot, but even though he's an in-house choice that could be safe, fans would probably be less than pleased with the selection coming after Wright (not that Marvel really needs fan approval).

Thoughts? Let us know below. "Ant-Man" is still slated to arrive on July 17, 2015.

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4 Comments

  • guest | May 30, 2014 9:38 PMReply

    everything happens for a reason and very few movie goers even know or care who he is
    but if you ask them who Marvel films is by now the answer is YES
    and why do people worry about the marketing, etc - clearly that is NOT a problem - ie. the general audience these movies are aimed at now know there is a movie coming out called Guardians of the Galaxy and in the next two months it will be EVERYWHERE - same as any tentpole movie

    did anyone know or care what Frozen was before the big final marketing push ? not likely - and yet what a shock - it became a huge hit - major advertising will do that

    Marvel studios head honchos have turned hit after hit after hit - is it really time to bet against them? hardly -- a director is like a chef - they can be replaced even at the last minute and if you get someone who knows what they're doing - the project can turn out just as good if not even BETTER than originally expected

    personally I think they should get Kevin Smith to direct it - he would need no time to get to know the characters - he can do humor and has experience with (some) minor action - but could easily jump in and have the tech talent to support him

  • James M. | May 30, 2014 3:59 PMReply

    I'm thrilled that Wright decided to step away from the movie, rather than kowtow to studio intereference. He's far too gifted a filmmaker to give in to such nonsense.

  • Davey | May 30, 2014 12:05 PMReply

    I could be wrong (and probably am), but, for all the talk of Marvel not needing the fan's approval, something tells me they probably really DO need it in this case. Ant-Man is not only an unknown property, but a fairly tricky one to market. They've got some names in the cast, but no huge draws or anything, and they've got the Marvel stamp of approval, so completists will certainly turn out--but I feel like that's who they've got to sell this to. Marvel fanboys, the existing Ant-Man fans who have an interest, comic book and superhero movie fans, and, if they'd kept Wright on board, Edgar Wright fans.

    Like I say, I could be wrong here. And even with all those factors working against it, this could easily be "Iron Man" all over again--a movie with pretty much all the same marketing drawbacks (lesser-known property, Downey Jr. was in a slump in a big way, etc., etc.). I have a hunch, though, that focusing more on the MCU continuity than on Wright's vision is going to hurt them, not just because I'm personally less interested in seeing the movie, but because they just lost a more or less guaranteed niche audience for a big movie that could potentially be a slightly tricky sell. But I imagine they know what they're doing. Or at least think they do.

  • Chaws | May 30, 2014 12:44 PM

    "they just lost a more or less guaranteed niche audience for a big movie that could potentially be a slightly tricky sell."

    While I agree with that statement, that niche audience, and all the positive fan boy hype couldn't get Scott Pilgrim to break even. The reaction (so far) to Guardians of the Galaxy proves at this point you only have to put Marvel Studios name on a movie to sell something people may not be familiar with. If the Russo Brothers were able to knock Captain America 2 out of the park, Marvel can put anyone with even the slightest experience in the Director's chair and surround them with top notch behind the scenes talent and get a decent end result. Will it be what Edgar Wright would've done with it? No. Can it still be a hit without his involvement? Absolutely. I'd rather have them part ways and let Edgar make a movie I'm truly excited to see than to go see Ant-Man only because he was directing it. I'd also rather see Edgar Wright make a movie without the studio tinkering with it until it becomes a Marvel movie Edgar Wright's name happens to be on, rather than an Edgar Wright movie through and through.

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