Sources say Rawson Marshall Thurber, Adam McKay and Ruben Fleischer are among a group of directors that are meeting with the studio to replace Edgar Wright, who abruptly exited the long-gestating project last week over creative differences.
The shortlisting of this trio offers a glimpse into the mind-set of Marvel president Kevin Feige as he looks to fill the hole left by Wright, a favorite among the fanboy community. Thurber (We’re the Millers, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) and McKay (the Anchorman movies) are known for their bawdy comedies. Fleischer, whose credits include Zombieland and Gangster Squad, has moved deftly between genres with comedic elements. Wright, a Brit with a more quirky sensibility, clashed with Marvel over the tone of the film.
McKay would appear to have an edge given that he has worked with Ant-Man star Paul Rudd before, on the Anchorman films. But McKay, who just wrapped the Will Ferrell–Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard, also is a busy producer with Ferrell in their Gary Sanchez Productions and the female-centric spinoff banner, Gloria Sanchez Productions.
Thurber, coming off last summer’s breakout hit We’re the Millers, is very much in demand and is meeting with Disney to direct Overnight, penned by 22 Jump Street‘s Oren Uziel about a father and son who spend the night in a lavish toy store (Disney owns Marvel).
Sources say no decisions have been made, and Thurber and McKay are among a handful of helmers on the shortlist. Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies) also was said to be in the mix, but a source denied that he has been approached. Levine is preparing to direct the Seth Rogen–Joseph Gordon-Levitt comedy Xmas, which is scheduled to begin shooting in mid-August.
Thurber is repped by CAA. McKay is handled by WME. Fleischer is represented by UTA.