Rawson Thurber allegedly declines Ant-Man offer – Marvel sets their sights on two others
Lately, it seems that poor Ant-Man can’t catch a break. Previously, we laid out everything that we know about Marvel Studios and their recent struggles with finding a director for Earth’s “mite”ist hero. At the end of that article, we said that Marvel were looking at three directors in particular (with Adam McKay having already passed on the film). Now, it seems that Marvel have exhausted those options, as Ruben Fleischer and Jonathan Levine are both busy on other projects. Yesterday, Marvel are said to have offered the job to Rawson Thurber, the director of Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, and We’re The Millers – who ultimately declined their offer (although there are conflicting reports that suggest he may not have even been offered the job).
If we dial back a little – Ant-Man was originally scheduled for a November 2015 release, before Marvel pushed it up to a July release, citing confidence in Wright’s vision and the character, while also taking advantage of May’s highly anticipated release, The Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Closing the gap between movies can allow Ant-Man to take advantage of a box office boost that comes from direct association from the sequel to the third highest grossing film of all time. Now, it seems likely that Ant-Man may suffer a delay, pushing it back to its original release date later in the year, so as to allow time for Marvel to bring a new director in. That is of course, if Marvel doesn’t choose to indefinitely postpone the film altogether, which is a move that would cost them an awful lot of momentum.
During his longtime working on Ant-Man, Wright made changes that some fans have not been particularly keen on (Scott Lang over Hank Pym, for example), and Marvel have had to hold back from using the character in earlier installments, to benefit Wright’s vision. It’s a shame then that he’s evacuated the film so suddenly, and left Marvel in such a terrible position.
The biggest problem that any director coming into Ant-Man now will face is being able to pick up the pieces and make it their own film. Likely, with several directors having already declined, whatever filmmaker decides to pick up the film will be branded as “weak”, which is an association that no filmmaker wants. What’s more, once the film is complete, the parts that work are more likely to be attributed to work that Wright left behind, and the parts that don’t will be blamed squarely on the incumbent director’s shoulders, which in fairness, is not exactly a great deal. It’s no wonder that directors are turning down the chance to work on Ant-Man!
However, films still need a director, so the latest report says that Marvel is looking at Nicholas Stoller and Michael Dowse. Let’s take a look.
Definitely the stronger of the two, Stoller is known for the comedies Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him To The Greek, The Five-Year Engagement, and most recently Neighbors. He also has plenty of writing credits including the recent Muppet movies. Stoller’s directorial efforts have been a little hit and miss, but he tends to be rather deft at finding a balance between gross-out comedy and charisma. More often than not, his larger than life characters are grounded in (relative) emotional realism that allow us to feel like one of the characters.
All of that is well and good, but he has zero action credits, and his films are overly talking – lacking that crucial element of intelligent visual comedy. He’s a better choice than Thurber, for what it’s worth, but it does seem like Marvel are getting a little desperate right now. What’s more, he’s currently riding high on the success of Neighbors, that he likely won’t be interested in picking up the pieces of someone else’s discarded project.
Known for Take Me Out Tonight, Goon, and the most recent What If (worst movie title ever?), Dowse is a little less experienced than some of the other filmmakers that have been considered to helm Ant-Man, but he’s not the worst. While Dowse would do nothing to inspire the fanbase, it may placate them. Whereas What If looks to be an incredibly generic romantic comedy, Goon was a relatively interesting, albeit strange film. It had moments of shocking violence, blended with heartfelt emotion, and drew a sobering performance from Sean William Scott, who most will know as party boy wunderkind Steve Stiffler.
So, who should they pick?
Right now, it almost seems as if Marvel should just pick a great cinematographer and have Feige call the shots. To be honest, it wouldn’t be the craziest thing they could do, and it just might work.
Whoever they do end up choosing now has only 13 months to get settled in, and have the film ready for release. Good luck to them.
Ant-Man is supposed to be released on July 17th 2015. It stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michael Pena, Patrick Wilson, and Corey Stoll. It was written by Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish.