Big Adventure, Small Hero: Cast & Filmmakers Talk Marvel’s Ant-Man

The newest addition to the Marvel cinematic universe, Marvel’s Ant-Man, proves that heroes come in all sizes! Armed with the amazing ability to shrink in scale and yet increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is forced to embrace his inner “good guy” and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of threats. Against seemingly insurmountable odds, Pym and Lang plan to pull off a heist that just might save the world. While the countdown to Marvel’s Ant-Man’s July 17 release continues, here’s what the film’s cast and filmmakers had to say about what it took to bring Marvel’s latest luminary to life.

On Taking Marvel’s Ant-Man From Comic Book to Big Screen:

Director Peyton Reed: “Ant-Man is interesting because he was one of the original Avengers, which I think a lot of people don’t know or forget. I also like the fact that there is a passing of the mantle from Hank Pym to Scott Lang that sets up a great mentor-pupil dynamic between the characters. That’s a classic Marvel Comics dynamic and something that we really haven’t seen in the Marvel cinematic universe so far.”


On Creating a Hesitant Hero:

Actor Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man): “In the beginning of the film, my character Scott Lang has just gotten out of prison. He doesn’t know anything about Ant-Man and has nothing to do with Hank Pym. On the other hand, Pym singled him out and, quite aware of his notoriety, has been watching him with ulterior motives. He sets up a scenario where Scott has to resort to his old ways. He breaks into Hank’s house to steal some money to help pay child support for his daughter, the only person he really cares about. Unbeknownst to Scott, Hank has orchestrated the entire scenario. This brings Scott into Pym’s world where he can potentially teach Scott how to use the suit properly and steal something Pym really needs.”

Reed: “One of the things that excited me most about Ant-Man was having Paul Rudd in the lead role. There’s nobody more likeable than Paul, but this role re contextualizes him a little bit as an ex-con and a master thief, which was really fun to me. If you know Paul’s work, he’s done plenty of comedy work, but he’s also done a lot of dramatic work in both film and stage and he’s an amazing actor.”


On Casting an Oscar® Winner:

Reed: “Michael Douglas’ career has spanned decades with so many different types of amazing roles… In this film, his character has a rich amount of amazing baggage from his past that we wanted to play on. It’s a great reveal when you find out that there’s somebody watching and guiding Scott Lang towards this thing that turns out to be his destiny. The fact that Michael Douglas is the guy in control really takes it to another level and gives it the gravitas that we wanted.”

Actor Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym): “Before Ant-Man, I had no career in my kids’ eyes. I’ve never done a picture as far as they were concerned. Two Academy Awards® meant nothing. Now I’m cool. I am cool to my son and to his friends, too. This is the first time I’ve ever heard my kids say, ‘Can we go to the premiere?’ So they’re going to come.”

Rudd: “I was elated that Michael wanted to do the movie. When he signed, it was a great day for the film and comic book fans everywhere. When I was doing the rewrite with Adam McKay, I knew how great he was going to be in the film and I started imagining him in the part. I’ve been able in my career, which hasn’t really been all that long, to work with some legendary actors and he is one of those who are in that rarified-air category.”

On Being a Marvel “Newbie”:

Actress Evangeline Lilly (Hope van Dyne): “I was not familiar with Marvel Comics or Ant-Man when I was first approached about the part, so I had to do some homework. I watched some Marvel films because I was completely ignorant of the incredible things that they were doing. I discovered that they are very talented with story and character and they know how to put on a spectacle. Then, when I was doing screen tests, they started showing me ‘pre-visual’ material of Ant-Man and the ants in action. Once I saw it with my own eyes, I suddenly realized how cool this movie was going to be.”


On Choosing Locations and Creating Sets:

Producer Kevin Feige:Ant-Man is a very different kind of a Marvel film. This is very much a Marvel film set within the heist genre. San Francisco is an amazing city visually and when you think of the great films that have taken place here in the past, it just felt like a great convergence of a new idea for a genre, a new city, and all the new characters in the world of Scott Lang and Hank Pym.”

Production Designer Shepherd Frankel: “In our story, Hank Pym—a scientist, a physicist, an engineer—has lived without his wife for about 20 years and he raised his daughter here, so the detail of this beautiful home has been taken over by [his] study and scholarship… Some of the classic furniture from the Victorian era has been mixed with mid-century furniture. Some of the house has been taken over by Pym’s interests, and some of the things that we’ve integrated into the house are miniatures to suggest that [he’s] tested out the Pym Particles, which are responsible for shrinking our character into Ant-Man. Now Pym Particles have been developed over years and taken a lot of time, so we’ve seen some of these pieces being shrunk and integrated into his day-to-day activity.”


On the Incredible Ant-Man Suit:

Reed: “When Paul first walked on set in the Ant-Man suit, I said to myself, and I’m biased, but I think it’s the most badass suit in the Marvel cinematic universe. The great thing about it is you feel the history of that suit. It’s got battle damage on the helmet and you look at that suit and think of all the stuff Hank Pym probably went through in that suit. It’s so detailed and you look at it and it really makes sense. You feel like you can figure out how that would work and how this spreads the Pym Particles around. It’s very plausible… Ant-Man becomes very dense when he’s small, so I could be a bad guy sitting here holding the gun on somebody and suddenly ‘Wham!,’ something flies in and knocks my tooth out. It’s Ant-Man flying through the air and launching into my tooth with the full power of a guy actually punching me. So that’s something new and interesting. He’s like a bullet and you don’t see him coming.”

Rudd: “I went through many fittings for this suit, which is very deceptive in its complexity… Not just the number of parts but how certain things work. How the pieces of the shoulders can move when I lift up my arm, for example. It’s really exceptional craftsmanship, and when I put it on for the first time I stood differently and I couldn’t get over the fact that I was in the Ant-Man suit. The first thing I thought of was, ‘Wow, I know there are a lot of people right now that would like to see what this thing looks like,’ and that was really cool. I felt like I was trespassing a little bit. Seeing something I wasn’t supposed to.”

On Strong Female Characters:

Lilly: “It’s a huge motivating factor for the choices I make as an actress and the things I do publicly as an actress. I do feel very strongly that the reason why you need female characters in movies like this is because you have females going to watch the film, whether they are children, teenagers, adults, or seniors. They need to be represented, and the best compliment I ever get about any of the roles I’ve done is to have a parent come to me and say, ‘My little girl just idolized that character.’ I know in my heart that I gave her a character to idolize and that I didn’t somehow let her down or misrepresent women.”

Reed: “I’ve always been a fan of Evangeline’s, and I think in this film with her as this dynamic, multidimensional character, audiences are going to get to see a really different version of her. She’s been kind of rough and tough in her previous films, but in Ant-Man she really gets to be a badass. Hope van Dyne is someone you don’t want to mess with. She knows martial arts, she’s incredibly smart… The character also has a big arc in the film and there is a whole other side of the character that women will be able to relate to as well.”


On What Audiences Can Expect:

Lilly: Ant-Man is really fresh and new and is something that we’ve not seen at all in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before. It’s going to have its own life and its own fan base. Even if there were no Marvel films that existed today and this film came into the movie theaters, it would still be a smash hit. It has it all—great characters, great action, fun adventure… and who just doesn’t love all those amazing ants?”

Rudd: “One of the things I like about this movie is that it’s not an easy one to put into a box; it’s not a straight up comedy, it’s not a straight action movie, but there are plenty of both. The characters are also going through what I think are very relatable and familial struggles. There’s poignancy to the story. I think audiences will really connect with the characters in the film. On top of that, there’s amazing action in both the physical world and the macro world that people just haven’t seen before. It’s really exciting, very cool and unique.”