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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Evangeline Lilly Says Edgar Wright's 'Ant-Man' Didn't Fit Into The Marvel Universe

I've groused enough on this very site about my misgivings regarding the Edgar Wright/Ant-Man situation. In truth, all parties have been pretty well mum, as you'd expect; but there were a couple of actor fall-outs, such as Patrick Wilson walking away from the project. You had to figure, at some point, one of the other stars brought on by Wright was likely to talk, enter Evangeline Lilly in a recent interview with Buzzfeed...

Lilly, who plays new character Hope Van Dyne, explained how Wright's original vision of blending Hank Pym and Scott Lang's stories affects her character:
I thought Edgar’s idea to blend the [Hank and Scott] stories was brilliant. You’re going to have fans up there who insist that you tell the story of Hank Pym, and fans up there who will be more on the Scott Lang side of it. … I think we are going to come close to pleasing them all. And what’s cool is that, you know, Janet Van Dyne is my mom. Hank Pym is my father. I was raised by two superheroes. I’m no schlump. I’m a pretty smart, competent, capable, kick-ass female. She’s very cool.

She then discusses her initial reaction to Wright leaving the project:

[I was] shocked. And mortified, at first. Actually, I wouldn’t say mortified. You know, a creative project is a moving target. You never end up where you start. But we all, I think, signed on very enthusiastically with Edgar. We were excited to work with Edgar. We were fans of Edgar. So when the split happened, I was in the fortunate position where I had not signed my contract yet. So I had the choice to walk away, and I almost did. Because I thought, ‘Well, if it’s because Marvel are big bullies, and they just want a puppet and not someone with a vision, I’m not interested in being in this movie.’ Which is what I was afraid of.

She, of course, didn't leave the project, but she elaborates on what the big sticking point likely was:

I saw with my own eyes that Marvel had just pulled the script into their world. I mean, they’ve established a universe, and everyone has come to expect a certain aesthetic [and] a certain feel for Marvel films. And what Edgar was creating was much more in the Edgar Wright camp of films. They were very different...I feel like, if [Marvel] had created Edgar’s incredible vision — which would have been, like, classic comic book — it would have been such a riot to film [and] it would have been so much fun to watch. [But] it wouldn’t have fit in the Marvel Universe. It would have stuck out like a sore thumb, no matter how good it was. It just would have taken you away from this cohesive universe they’re trying to create. And therefore it ruins the suspended disbelief that they’ve built.

And there-in lies the rub, folks. Marvel is so concerned with a "cohesive universe" that unique storytelling has become a foreign language to them. As Cal has marvelously pointed out elsewhere, Marvel has a system in place that keeps them from producing outright terrible movies but at the same time, they can't make a truly great one. This can only be achieved by breaking away from formula, but unfortunately Marvel's Phase Two has been marked by constantly pale copies of The Avengers' framework. I'm looking forward to Age of Ultron and perhaps Civil War, but beyond that? I may find myself sitting out a great majority of Marvel's output for the first time.
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