It’s only fitting that I spent a good forty minutes talking with a stranger about the oddball joys of SimAnt this weekend because today brought with it a heaping helping of Ant-Man news that will tickle your thorax and leave you hungry for more. In an official press release, Marvel Studios has commenced principal photography today on their big screen adaptation of Ant-Man. Of all of Marvel’s cinematic offerings, the diminutive founding Avenger has had, perhaps, the most tumultuous development process to date. Between losing longtime director Edgar Wright, shuffling through an array of writers (which they don’t list here presumably due to WGA arbitration), and bidding farewell to cast members like Patrick Wilson, Matt Gerald, and Kevin Weisman, many were beginning to wonder if the project was a Sisyphean exercise in superhero cinema. Today, though, director Peyton Reed and stars Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, and Evangeline Lilly are powering through and commencing filming in San Francisco before moving to Atlanta where the majority of the film will be shot.
Positioned as a heist movie, Ant-Man will find Hank Pym and Scott Lang joining forces to retrieve the Pym Particles from the villainous hands of Pym’s former protege Darren Cross, now calling himself Yellowjacket. While much of this had been leaked, part and parcel, ahead of time, the release also revealed a veritable colony’s worth of new cast members. Joining the cast are rapper T.I., Bluth family nemesis/world’s worst secretary Judy Greer, and John Slattery, who will presumably be reprising his role as Iron Man’s dad, Howard Stark, another rival of Hank Pym.
Also joining the cast are Bobby Canavale, likely filling the departed Patrick Wilson’s role, Wood Harris (Avon Barksdale on The Wire), and Gregg Turkington. Do you not recognize Gregg Turkington’s name? Well, the Australian actor is currently co-hosting On Cinema with Tim Heidecker, but he is probably best known for his crotchety, phlegmatic on-stage persona of Neil Hamburger. Quite honestly, I hope that Turkington is playing Hamburger in this film because it’s just so wonderfully weird that now I can’t un-see it.
According to the press release, the premise of the film still hearkens back to the version that Wright and Joe Cornish were working on:
“Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.”
Honestly, all the behind-the-scenes drama aside, I am genuinely looking forward to Ant-Man. Though it’s a crying shame that Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish won’t get to see this one to fruition, there is still a tremendously talented team of people working on it, and the idea of Ant-Man as a heist movie has my antennae quivering in excitement.
Ant-Man crawls into theaters on July 17, 2015.
What do you think of the new casting additions? Who do you think is playing who? Let us know in the comments below or tell me on Twitter.