Corey Stoll portrays Darren Cross and Yellowjacket, the complex Villain in Marvel’s ANT-MAN, which is out in theatres on July 17th. Corey, known for roles in movies like Salt and The Bourne Legacy and TV series such as “House of Cards” and “The Strain,” is an incredibly versatile actor. It's no surprise the depth he brings to the role.
In our interview, he was charming, modest, and soft-spoken—very different from the cocky character he plays in Ant-Man. For 15 minutes, Corey talked about special effects, looking like a Power Ranger, his love of Spiderman, and how much fun it was to be Yellowjacket.
On being such an incredible villain
Corey: My first day of shooting was sort of a microcosm of what the whole shoot would be, where in the morning was all Motion Capture, totally abstract, just stunts. It was like being in a silent film where you run this way and then duck and then pick up a toy train and throw it, and it was just pure play. So that was really fun, and then the afternoon was a very quiet scene with Michael Douglas where I show up at his house unannounced, and it’s our really most sort of intense scene.
And it was just such a great way to start because there are these two extremes of what this role would be. It was fun. I wanted to make sure this character is scary, but I also loved how what a loser he was. He’s the least cool guy in the world, but he wants to be Tony Stark. He wants to be the coolest guy in the world.
He’s puffing himself up with these Tom Ford suits and driving an Aston Martin. And so he puffs himself up, but he knows that he’s not that guy. And that’s the irony: he’s trying to puff himself up in the end to impress this father figure, and it’s exactly the opposite of what the father figure wants. I think the script was really smart about giving very real, playable motivation.
On being a Comic Book Fan
Corey: In Junior High School and High School, I was really into Comic Books starting with the real Super Hero Marvel Comic Books, and then getting into some sort of darker stuff, but yeah, Spiderman, X-Men, and all that stuff.
His favorite comic book character
Corey: It really bounced around, but I would definitely say it’s Spiderman. He was just the guy that I think that as a High School student that you could identify with the most. And then also just the New Yorkness. I liked Batman and Superman, but they were all in these fictional Cities, and Spiderman was New York. As a kid from Queens, the idea, that fantasy of being able to swing through the buildings that I see every day was really cool.
On working with motion capture
Corey: I mean the closest thing that it was to me was dance. It’s so funny because it’s this huge, all these resources. In the end, it was basically the same feeling as when I was 10 years old playing in the playground. You just sort of use your imagination and have fun.
And the camera picks it all up and they just feed that into a computer and then thousands of people all over the world, you know, type away at the computers and make it really cool. But my part of that job is just play.
On the Yellowjacket suit
Corey: I did two separate trips down to Atlanta just to try on different versions of the suit, and it just never looked right. And I remember the first time I tried it on, everybody was trying to convince themselves that it looked cool. “Yeah, yeah, it's gonna be great, just a little CGI over there and you know, it’ll look great.” And I just felt like a Power Ranger. So and luckily, you know, smarter heads prevailed and they just did it all CGI.
I think it's awesome. I'm so excited the way it works. I was there, I know I wasn't wearing something, but you look at it, it really looks real. It's really amazing.
On his favorite scene
Corey: Well big sort of climax scene in the Feature's Vaults, where I have sort of lured Hank Pym and Hope in order to deliver my big Villain Monologue and all that. I would say it was several days, maybe 3 days shooting that scene. It was an endurance feat, because there were so many people in that scene. We really felt like we were sort of trapped in that room for a long time. It was just really fun to have that license to just be that big sort of Bond Villain, just go for it.
On finding redeeming qualities in Darren Cross
Corey: There's something really didn't end up in the film, but when he's first selling the Yellowjacket and this technology, we really sort of brainstormed about what would be the beneficial applications of this technology, and you realize that this actually could save the world. You know, there's so many things you could do, you could get a shipping container down to the side of a Volkswagen Bug, and shipping cost would be like nothing.
And there would be Carbon emissions would become smaller, or you could maybe shrink smoke as it comes out of a coal power planet or you could surgeon down to go and do micro-surgery. It really is like this incredibly Utopian thing. And I think there is that element in Darren that's like he wants to change the world for the better, it’s just that this Military Application has to be the most lucrative thing.
And he just made the wrong choice. But also having Michael Douglas be the person playing the Father figure, that was very easy to sort of identify with wanting to get this approval. But as a youngish actor, I would like his approval. That's pretty rewarding.
On getting involved with the project
Corey: I had a general meeting with the Executives at Marvel years ago. That was the first thing: I said I want to play a Villain.
Marvel’s ANT-MAN, one of the original members of the Avengers, makes his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut this summer following the global, critical and box office success of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. ANT-MAN stars Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Douglas and is in theaters everywhere on July 17th!
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ANT-MAN opens in theaters everywhere on July 17th!