The Mess Grows: Paul Rudd and Adam McKay Rewrote Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man’s Script

Photo: Marvel
Photo: Marvel

When Edgar Wright left the director’s chair of Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man back in May, you could hear a big “no!” from the fandom. At least the script he wrote stayed and that was giving us hope… until now.

Ant-Man’s script has been rewritten, and not even by its director Peyton Reed. No no. It was re-written by Paul Rudd and filmmaker Adam McKay (Anchorman).

I really wish I was kidding, but I’m not.

In an interview with Collider, McKay spoke about the rewriting process, saying he added more action and made it “a little bigger, a little more aggressive, and funnier in places”.

“[Rudd] called me when Edgar Wright stepped away from the project and told me what was going on. I went and met with Marvel, and I was a little dubious just because I’m friends with Edgar and I didn’t know what the story was, and then when I kind of heard what happened, that Edgar had parted ways, and then I saw their materials, I was like ‘God, this is pretty cool’. Ultimately I didn’t want to jump in as a director, I had too many other projects going and it was too tight, but I thought, ‘You know what, I can rewrite this, and I can do a lot of good by rewriting it,” McKay explained.

McKay also spoke about writing with Paul and how surprised he was by his talent for dialogue.

“I’ve always known Paul Rudd’s a really good writer from improvising with him on set, but I had no idea he was that good – he’s really great with dialogue. So the two of us holed up in hotel rooms on the east and west coast, and I think it was like six to eight weeks we just ground it out and did a giant rewrite of the script. I was really proud of what we did, I really thought we put some amazing stuff in there and built on an already strong script from Edgar Wright and sort of just enhanced some stuff”.

“We added some new action beats. I grew up on Marvel Comics so the geek in me was in heaven that I got to add a giant action sequence to the movie; I was so excited. So we did, we added some cool new action. There’s a lot that’s already there from what Edgar did, there’s a lot of dialogue and character still in there,” McKay adds.

Ok, but what exactly did they add to the script, then?

“We just shaped the whole thing, we just tried to streamline it, make it cleaner, make it a little bigger, a little more aggressive, make it funnier in places – we just basically did a rewrite. Edgar had a really good script. But we just had a blast, and Rudd was just so much fun to write with. I walked away saying, ‘Hey, you and I gotta write a script together’,” he explains.

Well, I just have one thing to say about all this: no. Just when I was starting to build a bit of faith on this project, it all went down.

Edgar Wright was attached to the project since 2006, even before the first Iron Man film came out. He regularly attended SDCC to give updates on the project and basically worked hard on it for years. I understand how the industry works and that there have to be multiple drafts before the final product, but Wright’s script was already the final one, so I do believe that it’s unfair that it was rewritten.

Plus, in my humble opinion, there’s no point of comparison between Wright’s humour and McKay’s. Cornetto Trilogy and Scott Pilgrim over Anchorman any given day (at least on my book).

Our last hope is to at least see Wright’s name on the credits!

Ant-Man is currently in production and will be released on July 17th.

How do you feel about this whole rewrite thing?