Peyton Reed is in an unenviable position. He is set to direct Ant-Man, a movie that is already two months behind schedule, doesn’t have a finished script, was originally the brain-child of a beloved geek director, and has some fans actively rooting for it to fail. He definitely has an uphill climb. At the same time, he starts production on a Marvel movie in about three weeks, so he has to be at least a little stoked.
In an interview on the press line at San Diego Comic-Con last weekend, Reed gave reporters an update on where the project stands. “We’ve been prepping like crazy,” he said. They are doing costume tests and hair and makeup tests and still trying to finish that script. “We’re still making some script changes, but the script is terrific.” He went on to explain what Adam McKay (who reportedly refused the director’s chair but agreed to write the screenplay) is bringing to the project. “Adam McKay is still working on the script right now, and he’s brought a lot to the script. I mean, we all know Adam, in my mind, as a comedic genius, and I’ve known Adam since the Upright Citizens Brigade days that I did in the late nineties, but Adam is also an insane comics fan and a Marvel fan so I was was sort of pleased — surprised, but really pleased — to see that he had such a knowledge of the Marvel Comics universe. So he’s bringing all of that.”
One reporter asked him about the footage shown in Hall H, observing that it was a bit filthier than he was expecting. Reed replied that they shot the footage on their set last week, and were hoping to show a short version of the mentor-mentee relationship between Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). Reed also explained that Douglas was great casting because he has been through so much, and in this version of Ant-Man, Pym is done and ready to hand the mantle to a new generation.
And, of course, he was asked about the challenge of fitting Ant-Man into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, allegedly the sticking point that ultimately made Edgar Wright leave the project. “I guess I don’t really see it as a challenge to have Ant-Man fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It reflects what they do as movies, and I love it because it reflects what they did in the comics… There was a lot of cross-pollination in the comics, and it was all about that sort of larger universe. So I like that the movie sort of has a way of sort of weaving that as part of the giant mythology they are creating.”
I think it is likely that Reed will deliver a perfectly serviceable Ant-Man film. I think it is unlikely to rise to the level of Captain America: The Winter Soldier or The Guardians of the Galaxy or, hopefully, Avengers: Age of Ultron, but we can hope. Reed’s first feature, Bring It On, was at a level of brilliance* that the director has not reached again. Let’s hope he can top it with Ant-Man. Good luck to you, Mr. Reed.
*Shut up, yes it was.