The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of the Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man.” .” Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang, also known as Ant-Man (played by Paul Rudd), must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas), protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
Even before “Ant-Man” was released, it generated a lot of publicity for its behind-the-scenes drama when writer/director Edgar Wright abruptly exited the project, reportedly because of “creative differences.” Peyton Reed replaced Wright as director of the movie. Here is what Rudd, Douglas, Reed and “Ant-Man” co-star Michael Peña (who plays who play Scott Lang’s heist associate Luis) said at an “Ant-Man” press conference held in London.
Did “Ant-Man” give you a newfound respect for ants?
Reed: Yes, I’ve always had respect for ants, but that level has increased. It’s important to note that no ants were harmed in making the movie in any way.
Douglas: I didn’t know there were so many possible characters — working ants, flying ants — seeing all the different characters, it was always a joy. Everyone wanted to take a brief respite to look away at some of the ant hills.
Rudd: It was like looking at an aquarium. In answer to your question: Yes! Not to sound cute or anything, but even last week, I was standing by the sink, and some ants started walking toward the coffee maker. Maybe in an earlier time, I would’ve given a little flick. Now, I absolutely let them do what they want to do, and I stand back.
Peña: They said everything. I can’t think of anything else. Ants are awesome! Yeah!
Can you talk about Edgar Wright’s involvement?
Reed: I think it’s fair to say that none of us would be here, and there might not be an Ant-Man movie if it weren’t for Edgar and Joe [Cornish]. The idea to make Ant-Man a heist movie structure was all Edgar and Joe. The idea of Hank Pym and Scott Lang as mentor and pupil, again that was all theirs. I came on at the same time that Adam [McKay] and Paul [Rudd] were starting to do rewrites on the draft. There were some elements that had been in the comics but had not made their way into the script, that we wanted to bring into it.
What inspired you the most in portraying your “Ant-Man” character?
Peña: As far as I know, there is no comic book called “Luis.” I am portraying someone that actually lives in Chicago, he may or may not be a criminal. He may or may not be in jail, I cannot say.
Rudd: The idea of Scott doing everything that he does for his daughter is from the comics. That’s the imprint we used for the film. When we were working on the movie and writing the script. Adam [McKay, who co-wrote the “Ant-Man” screenplay] and I felt that we never veered too far from something that doesn’t make sense in the Marvel universe, or something that isn’t true to the comic.
Douglas: I was never a comic kid growing up. They were kind enough to send me the script of “Ant-Man” along with a leather-bound copy of two years of the comics. There was more back story for Hank Pym than any of the so-called reality movies that I might done. So I had a pretty good blueprint to follow.
For more info: “Ant-Man” website