At long last, Edgar Wright has spoken out on the biggest controversy of his filmmaking career: ‘Ant-Man,’ and his decision to walk away from it.
The 43-year old British writer-director – beloved by fans and critics alike for ‘Shaun of the Dead,’ ‘Hot Fuzz,’ ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’ and ‘The World’s End’ – came very close to calling the shots on the 2015 Marvel Studios movie, after having been attached to the project since 2006.
Now, on the eve of the big screen release of his latest movie ‘Baby Driver,’ Wright has finally discussed what went wrong on ‘Ant-Man’ – and how, happily, the whole misadventure helped set up his new, original project.
Wright tells Variety, “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.
“It was a really heartbreaking decision to have to walk away after having worked on it for so long, because me and [co-writer] Joe Cornish in some form—it’s funny some people say, ‘Oh they’ve been working on it for eight years’ and that was somewhat true, but in that time I had made three movies so it wasn’t like I was working on it full time.
“But after ‘The World’s End’ I did work on it for like a year, I was gonna make the movie. But then I was the writer-director on it and then they wanted to do a draft [of the screenplay] without me, and having written all my other movies, that’s a tough thing to move forward thinking if I do one of these movies I would like to be the writer-director.
“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.”
Wright withdrew from ‘Ant-Man’ in May 2014, mere weeks before it had been scheduled to start production. He was replaced by Peyton Reed, who will return to direct the upcoming sequel ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp.’
Wright and Cornish (writer-director of ‘Attack the Block’) had previously collaborated on Steven Spielberg’s ‘The Adventures of Tintin’. While they still received story credit on ‘Ant-Man,’ and Wright an executive producer nod, the script was re-written by Adam McKay and lead actor Paul Rudd.
However, as Wright explains, the silver lining was that it helped get ‘Baby Driver’ – an existing script he’d already completed – off the ground sooner than expected.
“Maybe one of the ironies about it is I had thought in the back of my head, ‘Well if the Marvel movie does well, maybe I’ll have enough muscle to get ‘Baby Driver’ made,’ and so it’s ironic I guess that I didn’t make that movie and got ‘Baby Driver’ made, and with a studio, which for an original movie is very rare.
“And the other important thing for me is almost the entirety of my crew who were gonna do [‘Ant-Man’] sort of left in solidarity, so it was really important to me to get another film going so I could kind of re-employ them all. So the funny thing about ‘Baby Driver’ is it pretty much features all the [Heads of Department] who were gonna do the other movie with me.”
Crime thriller ‘Baby Driver’ is Wright’s first solo screenplay credit, as ‘Shaun of the Dead,’ ‘Hot Fuzz’ and ‘The World’s End’ were co-written with Simon Pegg, and ‘Scott Pilgrim vs the World’ (based on Bryan O’Malley’s comic book series) was co-written by Michael Bacall (’21/22 Jump Street’).
‘Baby Driver’ opens in UK cinemas this coming Wednesday, 28 June.