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
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.