The Ant-Man saga continues. Last week I would have sworn that Marvel was simply going to dump the movie, that they basically had cold feet on the whole thing. Last night I heard that they all but signed their new director, and my initial guess was Louis D'Esposito, the Marvel exec who directed most of their One Shots. They sent an exec off to write Thor 3, so having an exec - especially one as core and vital as D'Esposito - direct Ant-Man made sense, and would be the ultimate expression of Marvel Studios as a place with a producer-led vision.
But this morning the Hollywood Reporter published what they claim is the short list for Ant-Man directors and D'Esposito isn't on it. That doesn't mean he isn't in the running - maybe Marvel needs to make a show of having a search before they go so deeply in-house - but the names on this list gibe with what I was told Marvel was searching for.
Marvel is looking for someone who can come in and rewrite the crappy script on the fly, someone who will just shoot the movie and find it in the edit and someone who is open to reshoots with their notes. That's their current criteria to get this film in front of cameras by the middle of July. According to Hollywood Reporter their current choices are:
Ruben Fleischer, director of Zombieland and, more critically, Gangster Squad, which really hurt him. Coming on Ant-Man would be a boon to the director, and Marvel loves getting guys when they're down.
Rawson Thurber, director of We're the Millers and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. Thurber's actually hot off Millers, which nobody actually remembers but was a big hit. He's the absolute epitome of a bland, bland shooter who will just point his camera into a properly lit space and film stuff. He could be the ideal choice if Marvel is being heavy-handed.
Adam McKay, director of Anchorman. McKay's the one that gives you a sense of hope. None of these guys are exciting visual stylists like Wright, but McKay is a comedy great, so he's exciting. He's also worked with Rudd a bunch, so that'll make the star - who cannot possibly be happy to see the script and auteur he signed on for disappear - happy. And McKay can work dirty, shaping the picture in post while other guys take care of the action and FX. Out of these three choices McKay is the best one.
Which means we'll probably get Thurber.