ANT-MAN Arrives! Our European Press Launch Report

Written by Paul Mount Thursday, 09 July 2015

Movie News

He’s here! Marvel Studios’ latest – and tiniest – superhero superstar is finally about to meet his public as Ant-Man explodes onto the world’s cinema screens. STARBURST reports from the movie’s European Press Launch in London where director Peyton Reed, stars Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), Michael Douglas (Hank Pym) and Michael Pena (Scott’s ex-con pal Luis) deftly navigated the usual barrage of eccentric questions – do you have more respect for ants now? and which insect would you be if you had a choice? – to talk about the making of Marvel’s latest summer blockbuster. Here are the best Ant-Man bites... sorry, bits...

Peyton Reed on the influence of the involvement of director/writer Edgar Wright and his co-writer Joe Cornish...

Peyton Reed: None of us would be here and there might not even be an Ant-Man without Edgar and Joe. The idea of Ant-Man with a heist movie structure was all Edgar and Joe, the idea of Hank Pym and Scott Lang as mentor and pupil was all theirs and also the idea of a movie where the drive is towards a third act where the big battle between the good guy and the bad guy takes place in a little girl’s bedroom was always there from the beginning and I stand by the view that that’s genius, I love it. I came on at the same time when Adam (McKay) and Paul were starting to do rewrites on the draft. Adam and I bonded over the fact that we were both kids who grew up reading those comics - I had untold hours alone in my bedroom reading comics books and the same with Adam – and there were some elements that had been in the comics which hadn’t made their way into the script that we wanted to bring to it and we also wanted to take the heist motif and add more of that heist movie language in terms of the visual language of the movie. Also it wasn’t lost on me that Hank Pym in the comics is such a complicated character and we had a very complicated man playing that character; Michael (Douglas) has made an amazing career out of playing characters with a lot of grey areas so really we just wanted to deepen that character and the idea that always appealed to me from the beginning was that at the centre of the movie are two fathers and two daughters and there’s a lot of emotionality to be mined from that that. Adam and Paul worked incredibly hard in doing the rewrites and during production Paul continued to work with our production writers so really it was an evolution but I really think that the spirit of what Edgar and Joe created in the beginning is still very much a part of the DNA of the movie.

On taking inspiration for the movie characters from the original comics...

Paul Rudd: The idea of Scott doing everything he does for his daughter comes from the comics and that’s the imprint we used for the film. When we were writing the movie and working on the script we were thinking of it as its own thing and both Adam and I thought that if we veered too far into something that doesn’t make sense in the Marvel Universe or something that isn’t true to the comic or true to these characters that have been created that they’d rein us back in.

Michael Douglas: I was not a comic guy growing up so I didn’t know anything about this. They were kind enough to send me the script with a leather-bound copy of two years of Ant-Man comics which I digested, so although we talk two-dimensionally about these superhero movies in reality, looking through these comics, there’s Hank Pym, a brilliant scientist, warrior, creator of this incredible Pym Foundation, his wife was involved with him and was lost – there was more backstory for Hank Pym than in any of the ‘reality’ movies I might have done so I had a pretty good blueprint to follow.

 

Michael Douglas on his first experience in a big-budget special effects-driven movie...

Michael Douglas: I was very excited about this opportunity when they came to me because I’d never done anything in this milieu, my entire career is contemporary-based – not by choice, I guess I’m just about characters  - I’ve never done an effects movie so I was really curious about how this whole thing went together. I have tremendous respect for Peyton keeping all these pieces together because as we were filming as actors there are other units doing stunts and special effects and also people just doing ant ‘point of views’ , which was pretty phenomenal, and being able to juggle all those pieces together was quite impressive. I enjoyed the experience and I also have a great appreciation for actors who work with green screen because there ain’t anything there! We talked about having to play make-believe and again Peyton was very good in showing you what it would look like so you weren’t really over-acting. Paul was an anchor for the entire picture, he made all the other actors around him welcome – he gave himself a lot of good lines but he’s entitled to do that.

On reading Marvel Comics...

Paul Rudd: I had some Marvel Comics but I was a casual reader. There was a while when I was into the Hulk primarily because of the TV show and so I read some of the superhero and Marvel comics but I read more English comics, actually. My aunt and uncle would send me the Beano and the Dandy and I grew up with those characters and was into stuff like Rodger the Dodger and I read more of those and Archie Comics than Marvel Comics.

Michael Pena: I started reading comics to my son when he was one – he’s seven now – not stuff like The Punisher but really kid-friendly stories and now he knows everything about the Marvel world and before I left to do Ant-Man he said ‘Dada, don’t mess it up.’ Thanks, kid!

 

Paul Rudd on getting into shape to play Ant-Man...

Paul Rudd: I didn’t do anything fun for a year. I ate no carbs or sugar. I basically made health and fitness the focus of my day for a long time. I would work out with a trainer, I worked with a guy who was teaching me how to do tumbling and flips, I was eating a lot of protein and vegetables and I was eating at a particular time of the day and I didn’t have any alcohol – and I was miserable to be around for about a year! But I enjoyed having the focus. I knew I was going to have to be held accountable, which made it a little easier, but I’d never done anything like that before to that extreme, and having the majority of my day built around that instead of making fitness something I tried to work in on the side as I went about my day was really kind of great. I woke up early in the morning, I felt really good, I had lots of energy and it helped me get into the mindset of this character because I felt that if I was in really good shape I figured I would feel like less of an imposter in the role.

On whether Ant-Man’s ‘heist’ storyline heralds a new style of Marvel movie for the future...

Peyton Reed: I don’t know if this signals a trend in Marvel; I think they’ve always done these sub-genres which I think is one of the things that keeps the Marvel movies so interesting. If you look at last year we had Captain America: Winter Soldier, which owed to a sort of '70s political paranoia thriller, and Guardians of the Galaxy which came out the same year was this crazy gonzo space opera. Our movie just happens to have the structure and feel of a heist movie and I think that’s one of the things Marvel’s really done . Sometimes you’ll talk to Kevin Feige (President of Marvel Studios) and he says ‘We don’t make superhero movies, we make genre movies’ and I think it’s been a very smart thing.

On the future for Ant-Man...

Peyton Reed: I’m hoping audiences will respond to this movie and if we’re fortunate enough to be able to make another Ant-Man movie I think there’s a lot of story left to tell with these characters and I think there’s also a freedom at Marvel for us to tonally do what we think is  best and what serves the story best. This one happens to be a highly comedic heist movie in terms of its structure and tone and I think there’s a portion of Ant-Man which will always have a comedic component to it but I like the idea that we could invent an entirely different feel to a sequel if we’re fortunate enough to do it. We get to the end of the movie and there are a lot of questions about what may or may not happen with these characters. In terms of Scott Land he’s become Ant-Man for the purposes of this heist but what next? There are definitely some hints in the movie and we also know that Paul is going to appear as Scott Lang in Captain America: Civil War.

Paul Rudd: I don’t really think in those terms. There so many external pressures you could feel if you think about it for five minutes but I just worry about what I’m dealing with in the moment and I want to try and be believable in the part and focus on it. I have no idea what the future holds. I’m excited about it and interested in playing this part in whatever way Marvel sees fit... I’ve had thoughts about things that might happen and where it could go but it’s so embryonic and I’ve had no conversation with anyone about it. Like Peyton said, it’d be a thrill to get the opportunity to start exploring some of that.

Ant-Man is released in the UK and USA on July 17th.

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