Edgar Wright talks Ant-Man

SFX caught up with Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost to get their thoughts on one of the highlights of the future Marvel movie calendar – Ant-Man!

With the release of The World’s End, Edgar Wright has finished his “Cornetto Trilogy”, and is finally turning his attention to his long-awaited lead-off entry in Marvel Studios’ “Phase Three” – Ant-Man.
Jack Kirby and Stan Lee’s diminutive Avenger made his debut in Tales To Astonish #27 (in January of 1962). A variation on Richard Matheson’s novel The Shrinking Man and DC Comics’ own tiny titan, the Atom, the original Ant-Man was one Henry Pym, a scientist who developed a chemical with which he could change his size. Although Pym is slated to make his big-screen debut when Ant-Man arrives in July 2015, Wright isn’t quite ready to divulge the details of his initial adventure. But the fan-favourite filmmaker, joined by his friends and collaborators Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, is happy to share with SFX his thoughts on the Marvel Movie Universe, and the comics that have inspired him.
2000 AD and Marvel,” Wright tells us, “were the things I used to read when I was a kid. Those were the two sorts of things. 2000 AD was a big thing in the UK back then. Both me and Simon grew up on that comic. And I loved the Marvel Universe.”
Wright names Spider-Man as his favourite hero, adding, “I would gravitate towards those comics because they were generally funnier and there was a bit more of a mischievous spirit in Marvel.”
Fans have voiced their interest in seeing Pegg and Frost join the Marvel Movie Universe. Could the duo do so via Ant-Man?
“You’ll have to wait and see,” laughs Frost. “But which character would I be on screen? I don’t think there are many superheroes who are big men, essentially. Who do we have? I think my choices are really nil. I think Ben Grimm or the Rhino.”
We tell Frost that although Paul Giamatti is playing the Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Fantastic Four is being rebooted.
“Oh, then I could be Ben Grimm,” he nods. “Yeah, nice. Alright, I’m going to be Ben Grimm.”
Frost tells us that, like Wright, he too was a 2000 AD fan.
“I loved Judge Dredd as a kid. And I collected it like mad. I had hundreds and hundreds of copies. And then when I was 18, I went away, went to live abroad for two years, and when I came back, I found that my mum had cleared my room, and those hundreds of copies had gone. And I think at that point, my love of that ended for a while until I was in my late twenties.
“Now I have a lovely, lovely big office at home, full of lovely graphic novels,” Frost grins. “And my son can never touch those. I think that was the last thing I shouted to my wife as I left home, ‘Don’t let him touch anything in my office.’ Like a big kid.”
Pegg laughs, interjecting, “If I was Edgar, I wouldn’t cast me in Ant-Man, because I think he obviously has to spread his wings as a director and be seen not to just come with me as a package. Same with Nick. We need to do things separately so we don’t ultimately get seen as coming as a double act. You know, Ant-Man would be enormous fun to be in, but I think Ant-Man himself has to be a lot younger than me for a start. And there probably isn’t a part for me. If Edgar asked me, I’d think about it. But as his friend and his lawyer, I would advise strongly against asking me.”
Wright has remarked that, unlike his fellow Marvel director Joss Whedon, he doesn’t have to worry much about continuity. And considering Wright’s unique comedic flair, it’s easy to speculate that, regardless of who stars in the film, Ant-Man will be the most autonomous Marvel movie yet.
“I think they do stand alone,” says Wright. “I think that’s what’s kind of clever about the movies, is that they work sort of like the comic books. They’re standalone stories, and there are elements that link them. But I think that’s what makes The Avengers the treat that it is – it’s bringing six disparate characters together.”
Now that he’s tackled the mysteries of extended adolescence in adult comedies like Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End, Wright appreciates the irony that his next movie will be a superhero film.
“But in a way, it’s a challenge,” he says. “It’s a challenge to do. Shaun and Hot Fuzz and World’s End are all R-rated films. I like the challenge of making a PG-13 film. Because you’ve got to entertain in a different way. You don’t have the same tools. It’s also different in terms of Scott Pilgrim. They’re both adaptations. It’s nice to be able to do an adaptation.
“It’s one of the reasons I didn’t want to do Ant-Man straight away and that I wanted to do World’s End. It was important to me that me and Simon do a purely original screenplay as our next movie. But it’s nice to have the opportunity to mix it up.”
Wright is visibly weary of the constant questions he’s received about Ant-Man since the film was first announced – in 2006. “I feel like people want so much information,” he sighs.
We point out that since the Edgar Wright “brand” is so well established, audiences know the percentage of humour they’ll get in his films, and the first thing fans want to know is if that percentage will be found in Ant-Man.
“No, no, no,” he says – adding, “I want to know that breakdown! It’s like vitamin water – I want to know the nutritional facts!
“No,” Wright laughs, and concedes to answer this one question: “I think it would be as funny as the other Marvel movies that have come out.” Joseph McCabe

Ant-Man is due for release in summer 2015 by Marvel Studios.

This article appears in the SFX Ultimate Guide To Superheroes, on sale for one more month. Click here for details and on how to order the magazine postage-free!