UPDATE: “Anchorman” director Adam McKay, who was is in advanced talks Friday to replace Edgar Wright as helmer of Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” has decided to pass on the superhero project, sources confirm.
The WME-repped McKay had a long history with star Paul Rudd, having directed the actor in both “Anchorman” comedies, but ultimately passed late Friday night as Marvel and Disney scramble to find another director.
“Ant-Man,” expected to film later this summer, is still slated for theatrical release on July 17, 2015.
Rudd leads an “Ant-Man” cast that includes Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly.
Wright, who last directed “The World’s End,” had been attached to the superhero movie since 2006 before resigning last week over creative differences.
Sources believe Wright walked away from the project on May 23 after Marvel altered a version of the script he and Joe Cornish had written without their knowledge.
After news broke of his exit, Wright tweeted a photo of silent film star Buster Keaton holding a Cornetto ice cream cone (Wright is responsible for the trilogy of popular comedies dubbed The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy) before deleting the post less than 24 hours later. Observers think the director was referencing Keaton’s own struggles with the studio system in the late 1920s.
“The decision to move on is amicable,” Marvel said at the time. “A new director will be announced shortly.”
McKay was said to be among several contenders to meet with Marvel president Kevin Feige this past week. The director, who is also Will Ferrell’s producing partner and helmed comedies “The Other Guys” and “Step Brothers,” was set to make his first leap into superhero territory.
The Disney-owned Marvel is developing “Ant-Man” as a potential new franchise as part of its third phase of films, which includes this summer’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Based on the comicbook of the same name, Ant-Man is the alter ego of biochemist Hank Pym, who uses subatomic particles to create a size-altering formula and when tests go awry, realizes he can also communicate with and control insects.
Ain’t It Cool News first broke the McKay story.