ONE FOR RUDD TO MARVEL

Be­com­ing a bona fide su­per­hero is a long way from a role as a sit­com chick’s boyfriend and Paul Rudd sim­ply didn’t see it com­ing

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES - NEALA JOHN­SON

Paul Rudd – Phoebe’s boyfriend from Friends, Brian Fan­tana with the Sex Pan­ther cologne in An­chor­man, Alicia Sil­ver­stone’s per­fect match in Clue­less – still can’t wrap his head around the fact that he’s a Marvel su­per­hero.

He’s shot his ori­gins film Ant-Man and has al­ready joined the wider Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse by film­ing Ant-Man’s scenes in next year’s Cap­tain Amer­ica: Civil War. Still, it’s not sink­ing in. “I had sev­eral mo­ments work­ing on Civil War where I’d turn into a 10-year-old: ‘That’s the Win­ter Soldier arm!’ ‘There’s Cap­tain Amer­ica – holy s---! And I’m sup­posed to go talk to him right now and call him Cap­tain!’ Hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with Robert Downey Jr: ‘Holy s---, what? This is crazy!’

“That hasn’t re­ally gone away.”

Maybe that’s be­cause Rudd, 46, didn’t see this par­tic­u­lar ca­reer tan­gent com­ing, even when his mate, English wri­ter­di­rec­tor Edgar Wright, was show­ing him test footage of the Ant-Man movie he was go­ing to (but ul­ti­mately didn’t) make.

“I knew Edgar had been work­ing on it ’cos I’m friends with Edgar. But when we talked about it, it was never that I was be­ing con­sid­ered for it or any­thing ... I cer­tainly didn’t see it com­ing.”

When it did come, Rudd got “su­per ex­cited”. Then Wright, the Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz cre­ator who had been work­ing up Ant-Man since 2006, parted ways with Marvel over “dif­fer­ences in their vi­sion of the film”.

Asked if, as a loyal friend, he se­ri­ously con­sid­ered jump­ing ship af­ter Wright, Rudd replies with a wary laugh: “Well, there are cer­tain things I can’t quite get into ... That was maybe not an op­tion.”

Still, he ad­mits, he was “re­ally up­set”.

“I was thrilled at the idea of work­ing on an Edgar Wright movie and work­ing with my friend ... it was tough. That said, we had to put some pieces back in place and some­times in a chaotic or tricky sit­u­a­tion you’re forced to think in dif­fer­ent ways and do things that were never part of the orig­i­nal plan. So it’s funny how things have a way of work­ing out.”

There were two main pieces that helped Ant-Man work out: the hir­ing of a new di­rec­tor, Pey­ton Reed (“This is now such a Pey­ton Reed movie and I loved work­ing with Pey­ton,” Rudd says) and Rudd sit­ting down with An­chor­man di­rec­tor Adam McKay to do a re­write. (Rudd is quick to add that “the bones” of Wright and Joe Cor­nish’s script re­main). For the record, ev­ery­one says Rudd and McKay added more emo­tional stuff to the story of cat bur­glar Scott Lang – a guy just out of jail and des­per­ate to re­con­nect with his daugh­ter. Which, know­ing Rudd and McKay and their Sex Pan­ther jokes, seems rather odd.

“Yeah, you would think it would just be jokes and it isn’t that re­ally at all,” shrugs Rudd. “Although we did cer­tainly write some very funny stuff ...”

A lot of that funny stuff is gifted to Lang’s crim­i­nal crew, a rag­tag bunch played by rap­per T.I., David Dast­malchian and Michael Pena, who give Ant-Man a sim­i­lar rol­lick­ing tone to Guardians of the Gal­axy. Pena is hi­lar­i­ous. Who knew he had it in him? “I did,” says Rudd. “I knew he had it in him.”

So, who is Ant-Man? In the Marvel comics, he was a found­ing mem­ber of the Avengers – with his part­ner, Wasp, the char­ac­ter was on the cover of Avengers #1 with Hulk, Iron Man and Thor.

The story goes that sci­en­tist Hank Pym cre­ated Pym Par­ti­cles, which al­lowed him to shrink down to in­sect size, while pack­ing an out­sized punch.

With a suit that al­lowed him to with­stand shrink­ing and the abil­ity to com­mand an army of ants, he could be the per­fect soldier – one the en­emy would never see com­ing.

And Rudd’s tip for get­ting in su­per­hero shape: “You have to put down the cup­cakes!”)

Scene from Marvel film Ant-Man with lead char­ac­ter Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and one of his crazy ants.

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