Evangeline Lilly Almost Quit Ant-Man When Edgar Wright Left

Illustration for article titled Evangeline Lilly Almost Quit emAnt-Man/em When Edgar Wright Left

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Evangeline Lilly talked a lot about the process that brought her to Ant-Man, and revealed that she, like a lot of us, had second thoughts about the project when Edgar Wright abruptly left. She ended up reassured.

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It's a fascinating story that Lilly lays out. She was first adamantly against starring in a comic book movie, but was lured in by the prospect of working with Paul Rudd and the high quality of the Marvel films, which she hadn't watched until she was approached about Ant-Man. But the kicker was how happy she was with Edgar Wright, so, when Wright left, she was very worried that she was about to walk into a project riddled with studio interference with the director's vision:

[I was] shocked. And mortified, at first. Actually, I wouldn't say mortified. You know, a creative project is a moving target. You never end up where you start. But we all, I think, signed on very enthusiastically with Edgar. We were excited to work with Edgar. We were fans of Edgar. So when the split happened, I was in the fortunate position where I had not signed my contract yet. So I had the choice to walk away, and I almost did. Because I thought, Well, if it's because Marvel are big bullies, and they just want a puppet and not someone with a vision, I'm not interested in being in this movie. Which is what I was afraid of.

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And having not yet signed the contract, she refused to sign until she could see the new script. "I finally got the script literally the day before I was supposed to go in for fittings," she says. "I said, 'I'm not going to do my fitting until I see the script.'"

In her mind, she sees what the problems were with the original script and says that it simply wasn't a Marvel film:

"I saw with my own eyes that Marvel had just pulled the script into their world," she says. "I mean, they've established a universe, and everyone has come to expect a certain aesthetic [and] a certain feel for Marvel films. And what Edgar was creating was much more in the Edgar Wright camp of films. They were very different. And I feel like, if [Marvel] had created Edgar's incredible vision — which would have been, like, classic comic book — it would have been such a riot to film [and] it would have been so much fun to watch. [But] it wouldn't have fit in the Marvel Universe. It would have stuck out like a sore thumb, no matter how good it was. It just would have taken you away from this cohesive universe they're trying to create. And therefore it ruins the suspended disbelief that they've built."

After a successful meeting with Wright's replacement, Peyton Reed (Bring It On, Down With Love), Lilly says, "I signed on and I never looked back."

The question that remains is just how wrong Wright's vision could have been. Marvel's built the whole universe on making many different kinds of movies and directors fit into the whole. And this year, the consensus has been that if Guardians of the Galaxy works, anything can. We're just going to have to judge it when we actually see it.

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DISCUSSION

Katharine, that's not necessarily true.

Look back at the first Batman series. That was pretty much "classic" comics come to the screen. You wouldn't be really surprised to see a caption with "ZBANG" appear when Keaton throws a punch. I know its a DC character, but can you imagine Marvel OKing anything remotely like DeVito's Penguin or Schwartzenger's Freeze in a marvel film? But I can definitely see Wright doing something weird like that in an AntMan movie. Ninja Ant warriors possibly.

That would not work in the current Marvel universe. it may take a more serious and current-events grounded tone (Captain America 2), it may be more over-the-top (Guardians) or it may be more fantasy themed (Thor: Dark World), but they all take themselves seriously internally. Within their own world view, they make sense.

I think Wright could have made an amazing comic book movie. To be honest, an esoteric piece like AntMan would have been perfect. But it wouldn't fit in the Marvel world, so I think the decision was right.

But he is a very talented director and I reckon Marvel should still try to get him on board. Now, what I would do, is try to lure him by doing something that Marvel owns but would have NO ties to the Marvel universe - maybe ask him to reboot Blade (which really is not tied to any of the Marvel current or projected lines). Now that would be as awesome comic character. And since it isn't tied to the Marvel-universe, he can have free hand to do what he likes there.

(Marvel has reclaimed the rights to Blade and is supposedly working on a script for a reboot, so the idea is not far-fetched)