Edgar Wright’s departure from Ant-Man after he was announced to write and direct the feature was an eye-opener into the inner workings of Marvel Studios. As the filmmaker behind the Cornetto Trilogy told Variety‘s Playback podcast, “I wanted to make a Marvel movie but I don’t think they really wanted to make an Edgar Wright movie.” Yet, he explained how this turn of events led him to finally make Baby Driver, his 20-years-in-the-making passion project.
Wright called his Ant-Man exit “a really heartbreaking decision” after “having worked on it for so long.” He had been developing the script with Joe Cornish for some time and further honed it for a year more after The World’s End. “I was the writer-director on it and then they wanted to do a draft without me, and having written all my other movies, that’s a tough thing to move forward thinking if I do one of these movies I would like to be the writer-director,” he explained. “Suddenly becoming a director-for-hire on it, you’re sort of less emotionally invested and you start to wonder why you’re there, really.”
Sound familiar? Wright’s reflection comes during a week when Disney’s Lucasfilm fired Phil Lord and Chris Miller from helming the untitled Han Solo movie and replaced them with Ron Howard. All parties cited “creative differences,” but an EW source divulged, “They thought they were brought on to make a Phil and Chris movie.”
With Marvel, also under the Mouse House umbrella, similar experiences were had by Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World director) and Ava DuVernay (a candidate for Black Panther director). The consensus? Not everyone can direct one of these movies. James Gunn, for one, seems to thrive on the collaboration process; he’ll be the first Marvel director to helm an entire trilogy with Guardians of the Galaxy.
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“The good thing that came out of it is, I got to kind of move on to [Baby Driver], which was a script that I had already written,” Wright recalled. “And maybe one of the ironies about it is I had thought in the back of my head, ‘Well if the Marvel movie does well, maybe I’ll have enough muscle to get Baby Driver made,’ and so it’s ironic I guess that I didn’t make that movie and got Baby Driver made, and with a studio, which for an original movie is very rare.”
“And the other important thing for me,” he continued, “is almost the entirety of my crew who were gonna do that movie sort of left in solidarity. So it was really important to me to get another film going so I could kind of re-employ them all. So the funny thing about Baby Driver is it pretty much features all the [department heads] who were gonna do the other movie with me.”
Baby Driver hits theaters June 28.