Following Edgar Wright’s departure from Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man” film, “Anchorman” director Adam McKay was briefly in contention to replace Wright. McKay ultimately opted not to helm the film, with Peyton Reed taking over the directorial reins.
McKay did however pen a re-write of Wright and Joe Cornish’s final script draft. What may surprise you though is that the film’s star Paul Rudd had a big hand in that re-write. Asked if Rudd helped him, McKay tells Collider:
“Yeah, that’s absolutely true. [Rudd] called me when Edgar Wright stepped away from the project and told me what was going on. I went and met with Marvel, and I was a little dubious just because I’m friends with Edgar and I didn’t know what the story was, and then when I kind of heard what happened, that Edgar had parted ways, and then I saw their materials, I was like, ‘God this is pretty cool.’
Ultimately I didn’t want to jump in as a director, I had too many other projects going and it was too tight, but I thought, ‘You know what, I can rewrite this, and I can do a lot of good by rewriting it.’ I’ve always known Paul Rudd is a really good writer from improvising with him on set, but I had no idea he was that good. He’s really great with dialogue.
So the two of us holed up in hotel rooms on the east and west coast, and I think it was like six to eight weeks we just ground it out and did a giant rewrite of the script. I was really proud of what we did, I really thought we put some amazing stuff in there and built on an already strong script from Edgar Wright and sort of just enhanced some stuff.”
Asked about what changes they made to Wright’s script, McKay says:
“We added some new action beats. I grew up on Marvel Comics so the geek in me was in heaven that I got to add a giant action sequence to the movie; I was so excited. So we did, we added some cool new action. There’s a lot that’s already in there from what Edgar did, there’s a lot of dialogue and character still in there. We just shaped the whole thing, we just tried to streamline it, make it cleaner, make it a little bigger, a little more aggressive, make it funnier in places-we just basically did a rewrite. Edgar had a really good script. But we just had a blast, and Rudd was just so much fun to write with. I walked away saying, ‘Hey, you and I gotta write a script together.'”
Following that re-write, Gabriel Ferrari and Andrew Barrer came onboard for a final script polish ahead of production getting underway. How much of McKay and Rudd’s draft they changed is unknown.