Edgar Wright was supposed to take the next step in his career by writing and directing the Ant-Man movie for Marvel and Disney, and now he reveals why he left. As everyone now knows, Wright would not see the project through to the end, and the film would ultimately be handed off to Peyton Reed, who was able to deliver the character-establishing hit Marvel was seeking.
Though Ant-Man still delivered the goods, many to this day lament the fact that Wright didn’t get a chance to realize his vision of the character. Wright himself went on to direct the acclaimed Baby Driver, which is coming out this summer, so he doesn’t have much reason for regret. Still, many wonder what happened behind-the-scenes to force Wright off of Ant-Man.
Wright doesn’t seem all that eager to discuss the specific circumstances that made him part ways with Marvel and Disney over Ant-Man, but he is willing to give a carefully worded, general view of what went down. In an interview on Playback Podcast from Variety, Wright sort of spilled the beans on the creative differences that caused him to give up Ant-Man:
“The most diplomatic answer is I wanted to make a Marvel movie but I don’t think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie. I was the writer-director on it and then they wanted to do a draft without me, and having written all my other movies, that’s a tough thing to move forward. Suddenly becoming a director for hire on it, you’re sort of less emotionally invested and you start to wonder why you’re there, really.”
Considering Wright’s demonstrated writing ability, it perhaps seems a little odd that Marvel and Disney did not trust him to write his own script and then shoot it. As Wright puts it, the brass didn’t want to “make an Edgar Wright movie.” Seemingly, they were concerned that too much of Wright’s quirky sensibilities would bleed into the story and it would perhaps not be broad enough to work with a mainstream audience. For what it’s worth, Kevin Feige at one time refuted the notion that Wright was let go because his version of Ant-Man was too “far out” for the studio.
Such is the peril of taking on a big studio project like Ant-Man for a director with a very particular vision like Edgar Wright. Sometimes auteur directors are able to adjust themselves to what the studio wants, but sometimes those compromises are too much. In Wright’s case, he was clearly being asked to give up too much of his vision as a filmmaker, and he wasn’t willing to do that. A similar scenario played out with Disney and Lucasfilm’s Young Han Solo film when they let go of Chris Miller and Phil Lord, though they actually got well into shooting the film before the brass decided their ideas were not right for the property. At least Wright, Feige, and Disney recognized early on that it wasn’t working, instead of letting it go on well into the filming process.
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