It goes without saying that Edgar Wright leaving “Ant-Man” at the tail end of last week just as shocking a plot coil as the ‘shit! She’s got a dick’ twist in that Forest Whitaker movie from a few years back. Nobody – but the pharmacist supplying Wright with his triple-dose of Panadol for the past six years – likely saw the departure coming, especially not this late in the game. I’ve spoken to Wright a few times over the years, and on each occasion, he’s been more Jazzed at a back alley bar in Louisiana about shooting the movie. But the way I see it, Wright was left with no choice – he either stayed on as Marvel’s mute gun-for-hire, or he walked away with dignity and a spare date on his calendar to do something of his own. Last-minute movie departures are just as common as couples splitting before big overseas trips; with the surmounting pressure that get everything organised before rolling one inch of film, and with Wright’s increasing dislike of having his vision slimed by the studio bean counters (and probably the head of Toys R’Us), it’s a split that was going to happen. Better it happened now than in a few weeks, when Paul Rudd’s jumping about on wires.
Here’s a look at five other filmmakers that have surprisingly – and for all sorts of reasons – left movies in the lurch.
Movie: “Superman : Flyby”.
He says he left because : His fear of flying prevented him from getting on a plane to Australia, where the movie was due to be shot. “I didn’t want to fly down there… I don’t really freak out that we’re gonna crash but freak out (when) everything’s great and you’re at 40,000 feet and then you realize you’re in a steel tube and you can’t get out of there and there’s nothing but water everywhere when you look down.”
Studio says he left because : He wanted to shoot the film in New York – believing it’d be wrong to shoot a ‘Superman’ movie outside of the country – and they wanted to shoot in the most cost-effective Australia.
I say he left because : He felt awkward going to a country that had named a football oval after him. He felt he couldn’t live up to the reputation Melbournians had bestowed on him.
Movie: “The Wolverine”
He says he left because : He would’ve missed home too much. “As I talked more about the film with my collaborators at Fox, it became clear that the production of ‘The Wolverine’ would keep me out of the country for almost a year,”
Studio says he left because : He was a momma’s boy who refused to sleep in someone else’s bed for twelve months.
I say he left because : It would eat into his ‘Gotta stalk Rachel and Daniel’ hours.
Movie: “Jane Got a Gun”
She says he left because : Well, she never actually said… she simply didn’t show up to work on the first day of filming (!). Whether it was because the script was shite, or whether it’s because she was losing cast members by the minute (Michael Fassbender pulled out shortly before she did, and soon after, Jude Law), or whether she simply didn’t want to miss ‘Ellen’… she stayed in bed. Probably still there.
Studio says she left because : Studio didn’t have time to comment, they were too busy chasing a replacement.
I say she left because : Dust allergies.
Guillermo del Toro
Movie: “The Hobbit”
He says he left because : of the film’s constant delays. The film still hadn’t been given an official green light when del Toro announced his exit. “After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien’s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures.” He would stay on as a producer – overseeing the project from his lofty villa in Hollywood.
Studio says he left because : They didn’t actually say, but I did overhear one exec in a loo once say it was because “Ron Perlman didn’t get the Bilbo gig”.
I say she left because : Of the steep price of Queso Blanco Dip in New Zealand.
Movie: “X-Men : Days of Future Past”
He says he left because : He couldn’t get excited about the storyline , and was far more interested in bringing Mark Millar’s “Secret Service” yarn to the big screen – so did that instead. It didn’t excite me enough. The thing that was exciting about it was bringing all these actors together. What a cast! But I’ve worked with great actors and I just thought, ‘I’ve got to do my own thing.’”
Studio says he left because : “Matthew who? Oh, Bryan Singer was always our number one choice.”
I say he left because : Rothman left. Or he feared what might do down at the parties that producer Bryan Singer had set-up for cast and crew.