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Jon Favreau Weighs in on Edgar Wright’s ‘Ant-Man’ Exit

If any filmmaker knows what it’s like to work with Marvel Studios, it’s Jon Favreau. As the director of the first two Iron Man films and a producer on The Avengers, Favreau is well acquainted with the inner workings of the superhero studio, for better and for worse.

Favreau’s also familiar with Edgar Wright, a colleague and friend, and the man who walked away from Ant-Man last month after spending several years developing the project. Given his knowledge of both Wright and Marvel, Favreau opened up to Shortlist.com about the Ant-Man breakup, and where he stands on the matter:

“Edgar’s a dear friend of mine – I was so looking forward to his version of Ant-Man,” he said. “All Edgar’s films have been studio films, it’s not like he’s never made one before. I think he’s been used to a situation where he can have tremendous creative say around his story and casting, and Marvel has built an entire franchise around their style of telling stories. I know both parties well, and I respect his decision to see that he wasn’t going to be fulfilled in the process. That’s all I can really say.”

Favreau also reflected on his own time with Marvel, and what it was that made Iron Man work.

“The model was the Fantastic Four films with Fox. You were expected to spend a certain amount of money that would make you a certain amount of money back as long as the effects are good,” he said. “They wanted to figure out a way to get the movie to audiences for a price. I think by casting Iron Man the way we did, it classed the brand up. It allowed us to bring a certain humorous tone that had been lost from, say, the Bond franchise. With Daniel Craig, those movies gained a harder edge, meaning there was definitely room for a new humorous cad adventurer. That archetype had not been filled in a long time. Through Iron Man, Marvel found its tone and voice, but nothing was expected of it. And then the success came, and then there was pressure to continue that brand, and that’s where it becomes more challenging.”

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Comments

  • Jeff Gutman

    Given the nature of Edgar Wright’s other films and his clearly defined sense of humor, there was probably a huge divide between what Marvel wanted and what he wrote. He usually relies on a lot of immature, non-family friendly crass jokes, plenty of winks and nods to other sci-fi films, etc. I’m sure Marvel wanted him to make the character light hearted, but he was probably writing it to be more sarcastically wry and farcical. I’m sure it was always going to be more funny than not, but Wright’s sense of humor is not entirely family friendly. That’s my guess anyway.

  • Ramone

    I get what you’re saying about his type of humor, though I think Scott Pilgrim was likely a better comparison for what Ant-Man could have looked like (both visually and humor-wise). I’d say his humor isn’t so much non-family friendly as much as it’s very self-aware. It’s more the style of the humor than the actual content (which can be written to the audience’s tastes).

  • Julian Dominquez

    i just now got around to seeing “The End of the World” and was totally underwhelmed … coming from a guy who loves “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz” (admittedly, less than Shaun) and ranks “Scott Pilgrim vs the World” among his top dozen favorite films, this made the news of him leaving “Ant-Man” not as devastating

  • Lowell Isaac

    I was thinking about Favreau with regards to this, I really wonder what he thinks about it privately. I get the impression that Marvel has a weird, possibly unhealthy relationship with auteurs. Like he said, not much was expected of Iron Man– in other words, he could make it HIS film. I got the distinct feeling there were a lot more cooks in the kitchen for IM2– and as always, it suffered because of it. Maybe Joss Whedon has enough capitol that he can throw more weight around than Favreau and Wright– I’m just guessing. And clearly X-Men needs Singer. I was just thinking if Marvel doesn’t respect and treasure their storytellers a bit more, it may come back to haunt them. I’m not as big a fan of the DC films, but at least they really seem to bow to Nolan and Snyder. For better or worse, that’s how ya gotta do it.

  • Mr November

    Marvel probably wanted more low level humour, Remember marvel love that awkward humour. Wrights humour would of been wasted

  • Cody McGowan

    Marvel seems to be trying to revive the old studio system of film-making. I don’t see that as a bad thing. I think of the current line of Marvel movies as something like the old Hammer Horror movies, but you could even go further and say that they resemble classical Hollywood productions of the 30’s and 40’s. They want everything to look the same because they are not producing Jon Favreau movies or Edgar Write movies, they are producing Marvel movies.
    Auteur-ism has its place, but Hollywood is hardly it. Sure, you can find a few around town currently, like Tarantino and P.T. Anderson, but people like Snyder and Nolan are fringe auteurs, if they have to be classified as such. Their movies are much more concerned with fulfilling genre tropes (in a highly stylized way) than they are actually with any kind of personal statements. And really, a movie about characters that you haven’t created and don’t own isn’t really the place for any kind of personal statement, anyway.

  • jeffgutman

    Right – Self-aware is a better term for his style. The dialogue always seems very self aware that it is dialogue in a film. The characters are always referring to other sci-fi films etc.

  • Lowell Isaac

    It’s a balancing act, I’ll give you that. You’re not going to bring David Lynch or Werner Herzog in to make a man-in-tights flick, clearly. On the other hand, art by commitee, in my experience, produces monsters. When it comes to studio pictures, these two forces (commercial and creative, let’s say) have to find a good balance– and we’ll see where this direction for Marvel will lead. I’m a little skeptical, but what do I know.

  • Kaine Morrison

    Edgar’s Ant-Man is supposed to be Pre and Post Iron Man and Pre-Avengers, at least that is how it was conceived.
    Ant-Man then had to be tailored to fit in Post Avengers.
    Now Ant-Man needs to be able to fit Post-Avengers 2.

    I place blame on everyone. No One Side is completely wrong.
    Marvel was willing to let Edgar do his movies before doing Ant-Man, but in doing so, had to keep changing it a bit to fit in with the Current Marvel.

    Edgar could have waited to do a movie or two and had done Ant-Man when he was supposed to, but didn’t.

    They also don’t blame each other. In fact Favreau also made Iron Man 1 based off of Ant-Man version 1.0

  • SentinelOptimusCunt

    Scott Pilgrim vs the World Was Soo fucking boring. Ended up draining quarter of my left nut to Kate fucking Upton instead.

  • Cody McGowan

    That’s the flaw with “auteur theory” (which is really less of a theory than a form of criticism), it positions an individual as the main artist in a movie production. It ignores that a movie, (except for, say, video art and the like) is a collaborative effort. Even the one’s by Lynch, Herzog, Tarantino, or Anderson. So essentially, every movie we watch is by committee.
    I’m not trying to attack you because I understand what you are saying, that too many creative voices robs all meaning from a piece (even a piece about superheroes), but I don’t agree that it’s necessarily, or even usually, a recipe for disaster. It’s just become a scapegoat for some of the huge egos that work in the entertainment industry.
    But ultimately, you are right. We will definitely have to wait and see if this implodes for Marvel. I think the system has proven that it can be just as effective with the financial and critical success of some of their pictures, but it will be interesting to see if they can sustain it if the bigger names (like Wright) continue to walk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.schmitt#!/ David R. Schmitt

    DC/Warner should have snapped him up and gave him The Atom and said ‘go nuts, we don’t care, it’s the Atom!”

  • Adam Robert Sherman

    So… you left before Mathew Patel showed up. Good to know.

  • Dylan Huber

    I guess I can try and take some small amount of comfort in the fact that Marvel treats their directors just as bad as their comic creators. At least there’s a consistancy there, I guess. People have been throwing around the argument that Wright’s style would’ve clashed with Marvel’s, and that may certainly be true, but that’s all moot to me. I want to see Edgar’s Ant-man, not Kevin Fiege’s Ant-man, regardless of clashing styles or not. The only reason I wanted to see this movie was to see what Edgar could do in the Marvel sandbox, not whatever scab they hired to replace him. I think I’m done with the Marvel films (after GotG, that is. I will support that movie just to show the Mouse that they can have a unique director and make money).

  • Hypestyles

    I just want a film that is fun and isn’t too scary.

  • Edstone1

    Couldn’t he be writing Deadpool then?

  • SentinelOptimusCunt

    Patel or no Patel. That whole movie was a fucking Yawn-Fest.

  • Tyler Giering

    Surprised this quote didn’t start with, “When I was making Swingers…”

  • Pessoa

    I disagree, usually the best movies are made by a team and not by a committee. In a committee everyone gives a opinion and many times lack a creative vision (almost all the time their only objective is generate a product to make money). In a team there is collaboration and synergy, with the purpose to make a good movie.
    Many directors have their favorite actors and professionals to work with. By instance Scorsese likes to work with Leonardo DiCaprio, Thelma Schoonmaker, Dante Ferretti, Sandy Powell, Howard Shore. Scorsese trusts them and they form a team not a committee.

  • Robin

    Damn, you sound like you’ve really mastered the mechanics of your technique. ;)

  • Sionny

    It’s “The world’s End”, mate.

  • Dan Wheeler

    Unfortunately there are a lot of differences between the two characters.

  • cb

    I always get interested in a comic film when the pick a distinct director.
    Going back to Tim Burton on Batman.

    I don’t get this when Marvel has done a great job picking directors.
    James Gunn even said after his first draft of Guarians, Marvel asked him to make it more James Gunn like.
    I would’ve loved to see Wright’s version.
    Not some hack who makes generic Rom-com’s.