Marvel Studios had their biggest public mishap earlier this year when they lost their director and writer, Edgar Wright, from the [Ant-Man](movie:9048) film a few weeks before filming was scheduled to start. Wright had been writing and prepping the project for Marvel since 2006. So it was a shock to lose the movie's creator on the eve of film production. Marvel went on to replace Wright in the director's chair with Peyton Reed, while Adam McKay was to handle the rewrite duties.
McKay's background as a comedy writer and director, confirmed that this was shaping up to be the most flat-out, comedic effort so far from Marvel. Filming began this summer on Ant-Man and not much information has come out of the Marvel camp in regards to the script rewrites. In a recent interview with Collider, McKay explains that he was first approached to work on the film by actor Paul Rudd, who is headlining the Ant-Man movie. Rudd had worked as an actor for McKay in his Anchorman films previously, so their relationship extends back a few years. McKay explained that he is friends with Wright also and didn't join until he found that Wright had actually quit. After agreeing to rewrite the script, he found a great collaborator in Rudd. McKay explains how things came together:
“I’ve always known Paul Rudd’s a really good writer from improvising with him on set, but I had no idea he was that good—he’s really great with dialogue. So the two of us holed up in hotel rooms on the east and west coast, and I think it was like six to eight weeks we just ground it out and did a giant rewrite of the script. I was really proud of what we did, I really thought we put some amazing stuff in there and built on an already strong script from Edgar Wright and sort of just enhanced some stuff.”
Edgar Wright had been working on his version of the Ant-Man film for over seven years when he left a few weeks before the beginning of shooting. Marvel and Wright both cited creative differences as the reason for their split.
Many fans were left wondering what, if any, of Wright's original story will be making it up to the the big screen. McKay estimates that it's about "50/50." McKay goes on to explain what they added to the script:
“We added some new action beats. I grew up on Marvel Comics so the geek in me was in heaven that I got to add a giant action sequence to the movie; I was so excited. So we did, we added some cool new action. There’s a lot that’s already in there from what Edgar did, there’s a lot of dialogue and character still in there...We just shaped the whole thing, we just tried to streamline it, make it cleaner, make it a little bigger, a little more aggressive, make it funnier in places—we just basically did a rewrite. Edgar had a really good script. But we just had a blast, and Rudd was just so much fun to write with. I walked away saying, ‘Hey, you and I gotta write a script together.’”
It will be interesting to see if Rudd ends up getting a writing credit. However, it wouldn't be his first, as he co-wrote Role Models and the STARZ show, Party Down. Ant-Man will truly be a star vehicle for Rudd now however. There have been other instances in Marvel Studios short history where the lead actor has had extensive input in the screenwriting process. Edward Norton was offered the opportunity while working on The Incredible Hulk. However Norton's relationship with the studio soured due to it. The most notably example is in the case of Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr. Filming for Iron Man began without a complete script, so much of the magic that made the movie special, was concocted with improvisation on set and behind the scenes, between Downey and director Jon Favreau (who is a writer himself.)
McKay is a writer and director known for straight-up comedic movies. It is unforseen what an Adam McKay Marvel action sequence looks like. He was behind Talledega Nights and The Other Guys, which both have large action scenes. However, they are both tongue-in-cheek films, that are satires of their respective genres. Marvel has been insistent on including comedy in all their films. In some movies, such as Thor: The Dark World, it has felt forced and compromised the tone. In the case of Guardians of the Galaxy, writer and director James Gunn, found the perfect blend of comedy, action, and adventure, with most of the highlights coming from situational comedy. Hopefully they have found the right blend for Ant-Man as well.
As in the case of Iron Man, this news means that Rudd now has a superhero role that is custom-made for him to shine in. Hopefully, despite the early chaos, it has opened the door to an even better film and performance by the lead character. There will be a lot of pressure on the movie to carry the Marvel baton, since it will be released only a couple of months after Avengers: Age of Ultron. McKay noted that they have made the movie "more aggressive," which is a good sign for a heist movie. Those types of films typically rely on a growing sense of tension and aim to keep audiences on the tip of their seat. It sounds like they have made the film more of an action thrill-ride by streamlining the story, which is good news for fans everywhere.
Ant-Man will be in theaters on July 17. 2015.
Do you think that it's a good sign that Rudd helped rewrite the script? Let us know on the comment boards!
Source: Point of Geeks, Collider