Marvel’s ANT-MAN is out in theatres on July 17th. While Ant-Man's leading man, Paul Rudd is already a household name, this role is sure to propel him to éclat, much the way Guardians of the Galaxy did for Chris Pratt did last summer. Playing the role of a superhero is a sure way to become a real life hero for any star, even when you already have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Evangeline Lilly, probably most known for her role on Lost, is absolutely a star in this film, as well. Full of grace and demure in everything she does, she was stunning and radiant and she and Paul Rudd walked into our interview room to sit down and chat with us for the next 16 minutes about their roles in Ant-Man, the comedy of the movie, and the relationships that make the movie tick.
Paul, ever the gentleman, escorted the glowing 7-months pregnant Evangeline to her seat when they entered the room. I had the pleasure of capturing a few shots of this leading couple for our interview. (I'm also pretty sure it was one of the first baby bump shots on the internet.)
PAUL : Hi Mommies!!! Wow. [LAUGHTER]
EVANGELINE: I feel like we should have like a turkey dinner spread out. [LAUGHTER]
PAUL: Or the biggest game of poker in the history of poker. [LAUGHTER]
[for some reason this is WOW is often the response when the talent walks in and sees 25 smiling, eager faces ready to ask questions that are related to the movie and not grill them about their personal lives]
On what it's like from making the change from comedy to action
PAUL : Right, I always felt…especially with Marvel movies, but just talking about this one, that it was going to be funny. They are good with levity. I mean, all their films have funny moments, but they're not necessarily straight-up comedies. And, with this one I knew that the action was going to be really good. I knew the visuals were going to be crazy good.
But I also knew that there was this relationship that Scott Lang had with his daughter, and that there was the relationship that Michael Douglas has with his daughter, and that this whole thing with parents and children, that that was going to be really the thrust of the film. And that's relatable and empathetic and something that you can hang the whole thing on. And that's pretty dramatic.
So, that's really what I kind of focused on, figuring humor would be there in the end.
EVANGELINE: And that said, he did not stop improving and cracking jokes. There wasn't one scene, no matter how serious, where you didn't make me break character. And I kept asking him, “What am I supposed to do when you do that? Do I riff with you? Do I shut up and let you do your thing? I am so out of my element 'cause you are so comfortable in that comedic space, and he being the sweetest man alive, as we all know, always—I'm always preaching to the choir. Do you see their faces? [LAUGHTER]
Generally, like it's alright. You were always like, “I'll just do what you say, do whatever you want.” “I don't know what to do. Nothing feels right. Tell me what to do.” And he never did, never would.
PAUL: I really think that it's—that we left that kind of thing to Michael.
EVANGELINE: No doubt.
PAUL: Yeah, which that was—he had the—making us laugh so hard.
EVANGELINE: At the end of every take something off color would come out.
PAUL: Well they're so funny, just such a quick mind and so funny and fun to watch in those scenes.
EVANGELINE: Well then, which made me even more insecure, 'cause even Michael Douglas can riff an improv. [LAUGHTER] I was the only person on set who wasn't improving.
PAUL: I think you are selling yourself short.
EVANGELINE: Umm, like ant short? [LAUGHTER]
On the punching scenes
EVANGELINE: Everyone asks me that. You know I didn't really punch him, right? I didn't actually punch him.
PAUL: Movie magic.
EVANGELINE: I loved the take that they kept in the film, because of course you never know what they're going to use and what's going to end up on the cutting room floor, and one of his improvs was when he said, “Were you aiming for the face—or for the hand?” [LAUGHTER] I was so glad that it ended up in there 'cause I love that line.
On the chemistry between Paul and Evangeline
EVANGELINE: Oh we fell in love. [LAUGHTER]
PAUL: Yeah we got on right away.
On the extra responsibility of being superheroes in the Marvel Universe
PAUL: You know, there's certain things that if I think we stopped and really—I'll speak for myself—but stop and think about, could be overwhelming, and we don't have any control over a lot of stuff, so I just figure I'm going to focus on doing the part as best I can and let the other things just kind of happen the way they're going to happen, and hopefully I'll be able to adapt.
I do realize and have continually been surprised by just how many people are interested. I guess not really surprised. I know how passionate the fan base is for Marvel films and these characters, but it's been a whole new experience for me and thrilling, and maybe just a little bit overwhelming, a little bit.
On Evangeline working with Paul and Adam with writing in order to develop Hope van Dyne's character
EVANGELINE: You know, it's funny because actually the girl power part was no really my contribution. That was Marvel and the boys—I mean what guy doesn't like a girl who can kick ass? They like to see that on screen, right? What I think is important is that woman, first of all be a woman and not a girl, and that she also have all the dimensions that a male character who can kick ass would also have. And I think a lot of the times what happens mistakenly in men's very, very meaningful attempts to make strong women is they make them strong in the way that they relate to, which is wrong.
And I think that female strength has many more dimensions than that, and I think that a lot of our strength comes from our women's vulnerability, our compassion, our maternal instincts, and I don't think that those things should ever be labeled as weaknesses. And I think that's one of the things that I always look to put in and infuse these characters with is the sort of moments where you suddenly realize underneath that very hard facade, underneath what she's trying to project to the world because she feels she has to survive or she has to do what she needs to do is, you know, a little girl within all of us and even within Paul, there's just a little girl [LAUGHTER].
PAUL: It's true, very true.
EVANGELINE: That needs love and wants to give love in order to receive love and I think that's what we're all doing. That's the human predicament is how do we give unconditional love and just not losing sight of that.
On Paul's favorite ant
PAUL: I have a very personal relationship with Anthony, which was something that we kind of put in the film, and I think even giving him the name Anthony kind came around later, and I thought like, “Oh, could it be Anton?” It was even almost said early on when we were working on the script before we started shooting, like oh, “Maybe if we give him a number?”
Anthony—just playing around, like, “Oh let's call him Anthony,” and then it stuck, and that idea that you can have a personal attachment to ants that you can see this film, especially kids, and really say, “Oh my God, ants are amazing,” and that one in particular, you develop a real fondness for Anthony, my favorite.
EVANGELINE: The Anthony moment, which I can't—I'm not going to say more, we all know what it is but we're not going to give it away to the crowd, but the Anthony moment was the moment in the movie where I was like, “I love that man.” [LAUGHTER] “Go get em, Ant-Man!”
EVANGELINE: Can I just tip my hat to the two male mummy bloggers—I have a male mummy in my house. My partner's the stay at home daddy so atta go, guys. [LAUGHTER]
On the toys of themselves and how many times they've had them before
[we had some of the Ant-Man toys at the table during our interviews that the talent all played with]
EVANGELINE: Three times.
PAUL: I have a Brian Fantana bobblehead.
Q: So are you going to start collecting yourself now or for your children?
PAUL: I was so excited to learn that there was going to be an Ant-Man LEGO set. I think that was the thing that I was most excited about. As far as—I'm sitting here, meanwhile I'm playing with my legs. [LAUGHTER] I think that I will collect some of this stuff, yeah. And it's pretty cool, and by the way, I'm just sitting here looking like, “I've never seen this thing.”
Q: That one comes with the bigger one.
PAUL: It does. This comes together?
Q: And with the little Yellowjacket. And it comes with Ultron's head. They're doing a build-a-figure where you have to buy the entire collection. And when you've done that, you'll complete Ultron.
PAUL: Oh. Oh. [LAUGHTER] Alright, well it looks like I'm getting started today. [as he pretends to put the toys in his pocket] [LAUGHTER]
One their most memorable moments of the film
EVANGELINE: That's the hardest question. I had a moment when I was doing a scene, a very intense emotional scene with Michael Douglas, where for the first time since I had attached myself to the project, the penny dropped, and I was like—you know, I sort of read and I knew who was on, and I was like, “Great, good cast, everything's good, things are coming together.”
But I was thinking with an analytical mind of do I want to do this project or don't I? And it wasn't until I was working with him and witnessing the sort of magic that is the legend of Michael Douglas and what he brings to a film set and how he performs and what he does to the energy in the room when he performs that made me suddenly sit up and take notice and go, “Oh my God. I'd better bring it. I'm working with Michael Douglas, and he's a living legend,” and that was an honor.
And um, so there was that moment where I had suddenly connected that moment.
PAUL: Yeah I never shook that feeling. Every single scene working with him, wow, this is—this is acting royalty.
PAUL: But I remember uh the first time walking onto the set in the suit. And the first time I ever put it on at a fitting was thrilling. And I felt like I was 10 years old. Every single time after that, it was, “Whoa, I can't believe this. This is so cool.” And then we shot the scene where I discovered the suit for the first time. I'd stand in the bathtub, and that was the first time putting it on when we were shooting it, as well.
And to go from the tent, because there was a tent that I went into and had a small pit crew helping me get into it, walk on set and the camera department and everyone stopped and saw Ant-Man for the first time was totally exciting. And I'll always remember that.
On the parent/child relationship theme in the movie
EVANGELINE: I think redemption really is a big theme in the film, and I think redemption between father/daughter, and the father/daughter relationship is the powerful theme that really anchors the film emotionally. That would be my stab at it.
PAUL: I like this idea that you know, we're dealing with all of this craziness with a suit that shrinks you down and controlling ants and all this kind of stuff, and yet this constant thing with parents and children, whether it's you know, with Michael or my daughter and me and Corey and Michael, this is what makes the movie more than just a visual spectacle.
It's the thing that I think everyone will relate to, you know. We've all had bumpy times or whatever in our relationships with our parent or our child, and that's the stuff that I think people will relate to.
EVANGELINE: Who can't relate to daddy issues? Speaking to a room of mummy bloggers. [LAUGHTER]
On the dynamic that opposites attract and the connection between Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne
EVANGELINE: I think that in our lives, we all know often what our greatest pitfall is in our character, and we don't know we're doing this, but I believe that we're constantly drawing people into our life to help us deal with that thing and usually those people are the most unpleasant people for us to deal with because they bring to light that thing that you wish you could just push under the carpet and not think about, but you know you need to work on.
And I feel like for Hope, Scott coming into her life could not have more poignantly exasperated the issue of her need for control, to control everything, every little thing right down to her lipstick point and her haircut. He just is so loose, and from her perspective, he seems so out of control, and I think that's that rub, that we draw to ourselves. She drew in that energy because she needed to face it, and she needed to deal with it, and I think it's really appropriate that it's the Scott Lang character who helps Hope to realize what's truly going on in her relationship with her father, because she couldn't see it for herself.
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!