Finally! After interviewing damn near every middle aged dude in greater Los Angeles, Marvel has finally found someone who shares its Ant-Man-related vision enough to do business: Peyton Reed. That’s right. The dude who directed Bring It On is making a splashy, mega-budget superhero movie. That sounds snarky, but I actually like Bring It On.
The news broke this morning via The Hollywood Reporter, and it comes with one extremely interesting sidenote. Remember that brief flirtation that happened between Marvel and Anchorman director Adam McKay? For awhile, a whole lot of insiders thought the former Saturday Night Live writer was actually going to get the job. Well, it turns out he didn’t get the job, but instead, he got a job. More specifically, he’s been hired to punch up the script Peyton Reed will later direct.
For a long time, Ant-Man was considered one of the most stable projects in Marvel’s arsenal. Director Edgar Wright worked on the script for years, assembled the exact cast he wanted and readied everything to begin shooting this summer. Unfortunately, what seemed like a good match on paper turned out to be the exact opposite. The relationship between Wright and Marvel disintegrated to the point where he bailed on the project, allegedly because they kept giving him too many notes.
Wright’s exit a few weeks ago sent shockwaves through the industry and led to the departures of numerous other behind the scenes workers. It also launched the absolute fiasco of a directing search that somehow involved Nicholas Stoller, David Wain, Rawson Thurber, Adam McKay and an armload of other behind the scenes candidates, none of whom seemed to even want the job, probably because of how much Edgar Wright likely put his quirky touch onto the script.
Now, the challenge will be for Peyton Reed and Adam McKay to work together and find a single, unified vision that can shoot quickly in order to keep the 2015 release date Marvel is very excited about keeping. That will likely mean yanking many of Wright’s more eccentric touches from the script, which is a huge shame for fans of the Cornetto Trilogy but also a necessary evil. Edgar Wright is a pretty divisive director, but regardless of what you might think of him, it’s pretty clear he’s better at making his own movies than someone else would be at trying to make his movies.
As for Peyton Reed, there’s reason for fans to be hopeful. The Break-Up is actually better than you remember. Bring It On boasts a diehard niche audience (me among them), and Yes Man is weirdly charming during its better moments. None of those films are Oscar worthy, but Steven Spielberg wasn’t walking through that door and taking the job. You have to play the hand you’re dealt, and this one happens to be sexy, cute and popular to boot.