A few weeks ago, MouseInfo had the opportunity to be the same room as the stars and creators of Disney/Marvel’s newest film, ANT-MAN at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA. It was a thrill to be able to hear from the cast and creators about bringing the project to life.
From left to right above: Marvel mastermind Kevin Feige, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, director Peyton Reed, Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Peña, David Dastmalchian and T.I. were on hand to take questions from the press.
ANT-MAN crawls into theaters on July 17.
Rudd talked about not being very familiar with the character at first and having to catch up with a lot of comic book reading. The panel often revolved around how “dreamy” Rudd is, with Lilly chiming in on his breakout role in Clueless. “Who didn’t have a crush on Paul Rudd in Clueless? Can I just ask that question? Anybody?” The whole panel nodded in agreement. Rudd was particularly self-conscious about shooting his shirtless scene. He recalled having one almond for lunch that day, “and I felt so bloated.”
Questions posted to Lilly centered around female empowerment and placement in comic book films, a hot-button topic in recent years. She noted that Marvel is “really, really taking female characters very seriously and looking at their lineup you can see that they have great intentions.” She went on talk about how she wants Hope Van Dyne to be seen by the audience. “And you know, when I pick a role, one of the things that I aspire to is that somebody’s parent will come up to me after the film has come out and say, ‘My daughter idolizes that character. You’re her hero.’ And that’s what we aim for, especially in this brand, right? We’re in the business of making heroes.”
Stoll talked about the evolution of the Yellow Jacket suit, and how it ultimately ended up being a CGI creation. “And of course I had been working out like a fiend to be able to look good in the suit, and in the end it just turned out to be for the behind-the-stage, behind the scenes footage, of me in, you know, my pajamas, a little.” He then joked that the suit he was wearing at the time was entirely “computer generated.”
Reed took over the reins on ANT-MAN from Edgar Wright, who still retains shared screenwriting credit. He said working with Marvel was wonderful. “There’s a high bar with these Marvel movies, and one of the things that I really discovered working with Marvel which I loved was they have a creative hunger and they don’t – I’m putting words in your mouth, Kevin – but they really don’t want to repeat themselves.” He talked about making “the definitive shrinking movie of 2015” and a member of the press brought up Reed’s work on Honey, I Shrunk the Audience for Disney theme parks around the world.
Douglas takes on the role of crotchety and reclusive scientist Dr. Hank Pym. When asked if doing this film boosted his stature with his kids, he replied, “My 14 year old’s reaction was like an agent. He said, ‘You know, Dad, this could be a whole new audience for you.’ So I took that to heart and here I am.”
The press praised Peña’s hilarious performance, which provides some of the biggest laughs of the film. When asked how much was scripted, Lilly and Douglas were quick to jump in and note that “none of that was on the page.” Peña commented that he “basically wouldn’t shut up. You know, Peyton and Paul, they were fantastic. No, literally, the first day of shooting I was like scared out of my pants.”
Dastmalchian talked about feeling like the new kid at school around such great comic actors and the challenges of playing a role that didn’t exist in the source material. “Terrifying at first for me, ‘cause that’s not the zone that I’m the most comfortable playing in, and then you get to show up and you’re with these guys.”
Of course, keeping a straight face on set was difficult. “They just kept throwing me the ball and giving me an opportunity to play, and as long as I didn’t break, that became my biggest challenge, ‘cause these guys are so funny and I would hold my knees under the table.”
The rapper revealed that he and Michael Douglas share the same birthday and that he was humbled to work with such great cast members. “I wanted to not mess it up, just come and contribute however I can, man, to the film, and you know, and Paul’s an incredible leader and Michael [Douglas] is just the right amount of a-hole to where it comes out great on screen.”
Feige talked about Ant-Man and the Wasp being founding members of the Avengers, and how he likes it “when all of our films are unique… and all of them can surprise people.” When asked about Paul Rudd’s somewhat unconventional casting, Feige commented that “people thought, oh, is it a comedy, because you cast the comedian? We cast the guy we thought could be a kickass superhero, who happens to be funny.”