I'll admit it: When Peyton Reed was hired to replace Edgar Wright on the first Ant-Man I was not impressed. I thought, "Oh, okay, Marvel. You let go of an actual filmmaker who was passionately working on a movie for you and hired a lightweight known for softball comedies like The Break-Up and Bring It On." And, honestly, the final product didn't do much to dispel that notion. I thought Ant-Man was fine, safe, kind of fun but ultimately forgettable entertainment.
But Reed will be back for Ant-Man And The Wasp, which is kind of unique for the directors of these Marvel Studios movies. The three Thor movies have had three different directors; The three Iron Man flicks have had two, as have the three Captain America movies. So Marvel doesn't necessarily subscribe to the notion that directors and characters have to be attached-at-the-hip, and yet they're bringing Reed back so that must mean something.
In a chat with Moviefone, Reed opened up about how things are going as he preps for Ant-Man And The Wasp, and I have to say: The man sounds like he's really sparked to the characters he's been entrusted with, and like he's genuinely invested in making Ant-Man's corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe it's own unique thing. I respect that.
Reed says that the film will officially enter pre-production later this month, and that they're currently in the writing phase. "So it's sort of long-lead prep," Reed says of the film, which isn't slated to come out for another two years, "but we're starting to get into all of the visual development stuff, and it's really exciting."
Ant-Man star Paul Rudd, who signed on to play Scott Lang back when Wright was shepherding the first movie, is an active part of the writing process says Reed. "Well, he is Ant-Man on screen, but he also was one of the screenwriters on the first movie, and, for me as a director, that's great because he's so invested in the character," the director said of his star. "And it's great because when you make a movie with someone, it's a very close relationship. So we're going into this movie already having forged that bond, and we're playing with a lot of ideas, and we're coming up with some crazy stuff!"
Reed also said that he's actively trying to keep the story smaller, and to differentiate it from the bigger, more expansive Marvel films out there. "I think we like our little Ant-Man corner of the universe. Because it's a whole different vibe tonally, but also just in terms of who Scott Lang, who Ant-Man is," Reed said. "He is a guy who is maybe not so sure he wants to be like this Avenger-style, full-on superhero."
That is an interesting Scott Lang's story, of course. He's not a natural hero, like Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is. And the way he got involved in this whole hero business wasn't exactly so he could help save the world and get his hands on foes like Thanos.
"He's got a kid, and this is the inner conflict with him, and he's very much just like a normal guy who has come into contact with some incredible power. So, we like that aspect of kind of like it being its own little corner of the universe," the director said of Rudd's Lang.
While discussing how he felt about sharing Ant-Man and The Wasp with his fellow Marvel filmmakers, Reed revealed what that collaborative process feels like- and also how invested he is in these characters. "That is one of the sort of things where it's a mixed bag. When I first found out -- gosh, I don't know, two years ago, a year-and-a-half ago -- that Civil War was going to get the Giant-Man premiere, I was like 'No!' But, now, I've since recovered, and we have a lot more in store for Scott Lang in this movie," Reed said.
But it's not just about Lang, of course. What about the heroine that's going to top-line Ant-Man And The Wasp? We know she's going to end up in one of the upcoming Avengers movies, but Reed seems to take pride in the fact that he'll get to introduce her to the world first. "I'm just personally excited to get to introduce yet another character into the Marvel Universe," Reed enthused. "After Ant-Man, now we get to see Wasp, so really designing her look, the way she moves, the power set, and figuring out, sort of, who Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) is as a hero -- because we know her in a certain context in the first movie, but now she's going to have her coming out party -- that's exciting!"
Overall, Reed says he likes the way Marvel's shared world works. While discussing the collaborative process he said "we spend a lot of time with our different writers and directors, and there's a lot of crosstalk, and I love that."
With Doctor Strange coming out in two days, Reed was asked what impact- if any- the arrival of a new piece of canon has on Ant-Man And The Wasp. "Well, it's a mixed bag. Because, as a comics fan growing up, to see all these heroes brought to life on the screen in such huge fashion is always exciting," Reed said, before pointing out what makes that a challenge. "As the director of a movie that's coming like three, four, five movies later, the bar is always raised, and it's great. It's a challenge."
Reed continued, "Because they're always making technical breakthroughs, and also just story breakthroughs, one of the great things about Marvel is you want to do movies that are doing something different and not treading on what the other movies are doing. So it's always exciting because they manage to top themselves."