Edgar Wright opens up about leaving Ant-Man

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

With all the news surrounding the replacement of directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller fans are experiencing a severe case of déjà vu – primarily reflecting on the time Edgar Wright and Marvel split over “creative differences” on ANT-MAN. The director doesn’t talk about the matter much, but in promoting his new movie (BABY DRIVER) Wright has opened up about the decision to leave the superhero flick, which effectively broke our hearts.

Speaking with the Variety Playback podcast, Wright explained how his split from the movie in May 2014 (a little over a year before the movie’s release) was mainly influenced by the fact Marvel wanted to take away scripting duties from Wright, a process he feels is invaluable to his work:

I think 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 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 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.

Any fan of Wright’s work knows that every movie he directs he also writes – from SHAUN OF THE DEAD to BABY DRIVER.  This is of course key in concoting Wright's brand of silliness, but it's also fundamental for him to get to the heart of a film so he can establish the visual style and tone when he gets on set. Taking that away from Wright for the sake of getting their own people on it, Marvel removed a key aspect of his creative process which, understandably, made the director feel less invested. A script is a man's baby, and Marvel should know better than to mess with babies.

In the end Peyton Reed helmed the movie, with Paul Rudd and Adam McKay re-working the script, and Wright and Cornish were still credited on the script and story. Even Wright sees a silver lining in the dark cloud, as leaving the movie allowed him to get started on his new movie that comes out next week:

The good thing that came out of it is I got to kind of move on to [Baby Driver], which was a script that I had already written. And 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 that movie 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.

As much as I was dying to see an Edgar Wright Marvel movie, the moment I heard the news of his departure I have to admit I saw it coming. Marvel movies (and STAR WARS and DC movies) are made by committee, and as the MCU became a hotter and hotter property the studio has taken more control over where their movies go and how they're plotted out, which is something I can imagine does not gel with Wright – at least when he’s in the director’s chair. I like ANT-MAN plenty, and there are numerous aspects that Wright touch, but I’ll always look up into the stars at night and wonder what the world would be like if we had an Edgar Wright Marvel movie in it. I expect we would’ve colonized Mars by now if we did.

BABY DRIVER is in theaters June 28.

Source: Variety

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