What do you do when you've slated your film to come out in just over 13 months and the person who was going to direct it abruptly leaves? Apparently you hire the guy who made "Down With Love." Two weeks ago Edgar Wright, he of "Shaun of the Dead" and last year's "The World's End," suddenly departed "Ant-Man," the next big Marvel thingamajig, due to "script issues." As of now the film is still slated for theatrical release on July 17, 2015.
Since then — because this is what the Internet has turned us into — there has been wild, sometimes jokey speculation about who would be brought on board to salvage a project that apparently is so unwieldy that it's lost a key creative voice at the 11th hour. There was even talk (read: unfounded rumors spread like wildfire) that Adam McKay, he of Will Ferrell improv comedies, would take the mantle.
But Marvel has just announced that the job really went to Peyton Reed. Who? Actually, you should know him. He's the energetic filmmamker of "Bring It On" and the Rock Hudson-Doris Day pastiche "Down With Love." He also directed "The Break-Up," an unusually brutal comedy that actually didn't wuss out on its titular promise (save an "ambiguous" coda). He's an inspired choice for a tentpole movie, if not as inspired as was Wright.
Like Wright and McKay — who wound up being brought in to tend to the script — Reed's inclusion means this may actually be a rare at least semi-personable Marvel product and not just one that fits in with the franchise voice. That is to say it should be comedic, especially with Paul Rudd as size-shifting conman-turned-superhero Scott Lang. (Ant-Man is not, incidentally, to be confused with "Mant," the half-man, half-ant character from the movie within the Joe Dante movie "Matinee," about a William Castle-esque shuckster.) Also on hand will be Michael Douglas and Patrick Wilson. They have just over a year to mend any structural woes and churn out an acceptable box office juggernaut, which should make reporting on every step of its production atypically interesting.
Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge