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‘Ant-Man’ / Edgar Wright Lessons: Kevin Feige’s Vision Rules Marvel; Time To Get Excited About ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker’?

Mike Fleming

edgaA couple of things to consider in the divorce between Edgar Wright and Marvel over Ant-Man. In my mind, Wright’s surprise exit Friday over creative differences shows that while Marvel certainly will try to tap strong directors for its superhero properties, the power at that studio clearly resides with one person, Kevin Feige. You might recall this is the second high-profile shooter who was ousted from a big Marvel movie. Patty Jenkins, who guided Charlize Theron to an Oscar performance in Monster, had been set to helm Thor 2 until she clashed creatively with Marvel. If you recall, the hiring of Jenkins was considered a big step forward because so few female directors get a shot at a superhero film. Feige replaced her with Alan Taylor, the Game Of Thrones helmer who did a fine job and has taken on the job of resuscitating the Terminator franchise for Paramount and Skydance Productions.

Related: Director Patty Jenkins Exits Marvel’s ‘Thor 2′

antmaThe exit of Wright is more surprising, considering he came to Comic-Con several years ago and showed a sample of the shrinking technology that would anchor the film. Then, Wright got Feige’s blessing to postpone the movie while he did The World’s End because Working Title partner Eric Fellner had a life-threatening health matter and Wright felt honor bound to see through the final leg of the Cornetto trilogy. The fact that Wright is so revered among the demo that Ant-Man will have to appeal to shows the confidence that Marvel has in Feige’s vision — and, indeed, the movies under his watch have been so good it’s hard to argue. It seems similar to the hold that producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson wield over the James Bond franchise. How many huge directors have expressed desire to helm a 007 film but were rebuffed or stepped away because the ultimate creative call resides not with any filmmaker but the producers who are the flame keepers of the franchise?

Related: Comic-Con Q&A With Edgar Wright

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D.V. DeVincentis Sinks Teeth Into ‘The Night Stalker’ For Edgar Wright And Johnny Depp

By | Friday May 18, 2012 @ 6:16pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Disney has hired D.V. DeVincentis to script The Night Stalker as a vehicle for Johnny Depp. The film is based on the classic TV series that starred Darren McGavin as the tabloid reporter who finds his way to a series of supernatural killers. The move follows Disney’s hiring of Edgar Wright to direct the film. Depp and his Infinitum Nihil partner Christi Dembrowski are producing and David Kennedy is exec producer. The studio bought The Night Stalker for Depp, Dombrowski and Kennedy last summer.

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Disney Taps Edgar Wright To Helm Johnny Depp In ‘The Night Stalker’ Feature Redo

By | Wednesday February 22, 2012 @ 10:52am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Disney is setting Edgar Wright to direct The Night Stalker, the remake of the ABC telepic and series that the studio is developing as a potential star vehicle for Johnny Depp to play intrepid tabloid reporter Carl Kolchak. Depp and his Infinitum Nihil partner Christi Dembrowski will produce.

Wright, best known for directing Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, comes aboard before the studio has set a writer, and he will oversee and shape the project with Depp and Dembrowski from the ground floor. As Deadline revealed, the film took root at the studio last summer, borne out of Depp and Dembrowski’s fond memories of the original 70s movie and series that starred Darren McGavin. He covered crime for a tabloid and his cases always led to supernatural perpetrators that included zombies, vampires, werewolves and aliens. Of course, neither his editor nor anyone else would believe him or allow him to run what seemed like outrageous stories. But Kolchak would put himself in grave danger each episode. David Kennedy will be exec producer of the film.

The subject matter will be tailored to fit Disney’s family film mandate and likely a PG-13 rating, but the idea of Wright’s hyper-reality style and Depp’s gift for constructing quirky characters sounds like a good match to me. Wright is … Read More »

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