If you'd asked me 3 years ago if I ever thought I'd have the chance to interview Michael Douglas a second time in my career I would have said it was unlikely. Having the opportunity to get a Michael Douglas interview once in my career was incredible; having a second opportunity to interview him was virtually unbelievable.
You have to laugh a little when your interview with a legend like Michael Douglas starts like this:
“Good morning, class. We’re going to learn about quantum mechanics this morning.” That's quite the icebreaker.
At the time we interviewed Michael Douglas, he still hadn't seen the completed film, but mentioned that director Peyton Reed was beaming, so that was a good sign.
On reuniting with the cast
Michael said the comfort factor of working on a sequel with the same group of actors is nice. “There’s just an inherent relaxation and joy normally about a sequel. You look back in the old days, why actors and actresses work together or directors together—you don’t have to introduce yourself again. You know each other. There’s a comfort factor, which makes it much easier. People know your own sense of humor. You’re not going to offend anybody.”
“I mean that, combined with the fact that Paul is just a sweetheart. He’s just a great, great guy so it sets the tone. You know, most of my career I’ve been number one on a call sheet, the lead, and so to be in a supporting role in a picture like this, you watch how he does it, you assume a lot of responsibility. If you’re smart, if you’re the first, you set the tone. You’re the first one on the set, you make everybody else comfortable to make their best performances possible.”
“So, that part was great with Paul. And I was excited for Evangeline because if you remember the end the first one…I show her Janet’s suit, and there’s this look in her eye as Hope when she sees her mother’s suit. But what I was looking at her when she was doing the scene, I saw Evangeline going, ‘I’m going to be a superhero',” Michael said.
“I could see her. She’s loaded. She was ready to go and excited. That part was all nice as far as with them. And then, you know, then you get that wonderful thing, Marvel does a great job of casting, obviously. Michelle was just such a treat. I'm a tremendous Michelle Pfeiffer fan; never imagined ever getting a chance to work with her. Needless to say, to play 30 years younger. So, that was great.”
“And Larry [Laurence] Fishburne is quite an actor. And then this young lady, who I think you’ll be hearing a lot about, Hannah John-Kamen…they were all talking about her almost like it was a sports team. ‘We have this great rookie, this girl, she’s fantastic.' And she really is. She’s wonderful.”
On suiting up and having a superhero moment
Michael Douglas said he had a bit of a superhero moment when he suits up in this movie. I can't give you all the details, because that would be a rude, giant spoiler, but you know he was the original Ant-Man and has a suit—that's not a spoiler.
“I must tell you, I was a little disappointed on the first one. I kind of reluctantly looked whimsically at how good everybody looked, Paul looked great and everything else,” Michael said. “I got my old suit back-up, so if this continues, my feeling is, if you get big or small, they make you young, I might as well get back in there again.”
Will he be suiting up in the next Avengers movie?
“If I open my mouth, a blowgun…it’s a Marvel blowgun [Michael mimed a blow dart shooting him in the neck]. I have learned my lesson. You have nothing. KGB has nothing on me. The quantum realm’s getting popular.
On reaching a new audience
Michael Douglas shared with us a funny anecdote from his son. When the first Ant-Man was finished, his son Dylan, so was about 15 at the time, came out of the movie with his arms crossed.
“He said, ‘This is going to be very good for your career.' I said, ‘Oh?' He goes, ‘Dad, you don’t understand! This is going to bring a new audience for you.' I said, ‘This will be very good.' He just got a kick out of it. It was a picture he could kind of see, and it is true. I must say, I never anticipated, I’ll be talking sometimes, and I'll feel something pulling on my coat, and I’ll look down, and there will be a little 5-year-old kid and go ‘Ant-Man.' And so, it does, it introduces you to a whole bunch of people who didn’t see a lot of my movies.”
On simply being in a good movie
Michael Douglas talked about how being both a producer and an actor helps to make a good movie.
“I know what my role as an actor is, but I know mostly what makes a good movie. And I guess what kind of maybe separates me from most actors is that I’m not just thinking about my role,” Michael said. “Because I’m a producer, I want to be in a good movie. Sometimes you have a good part. Sometimes Sharon Stone’s got the good part, you know. But you want to make as good a movie as possible…But I have to be careful. I like to give unsolicited advice, which I think somebody once told me, unsolicited advice can be seen as a hostile gesture.”
“I don’t mean it that way. The thing that struck me about Ant-Man and now Ant-Man the Wasp in just the response that we're getting, it’s such a divisive world right now, both in our country and just around the world and what’s happening. Everything seems to be getting fractionalized. One of the joys of this business is you make a movie like this, it’s a worldwide success. And the audiences from every continent go to see this movie and they laugh like we laugh.”
Michael Douglas said it's one of the things he admires most about the film industry, the ability to bring people together through a story.
Ant-Man and the Wasp flies into theatres July 6, 2018.
Thanks to Walt Disney Studios for bringing me to Los Angeles on an all-expense paid trip. As always, all opinions are my own.