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Ant-Man - Paul Rudd interview

Ant-Man, Paul Rudd

Interview by Rob Carnevale

PAUL Rudd talks about some of the challenges of making Ant-Man, including re-writing the script following Edgar Wright’s departure and getting into the right kind of physical shape to play the role of Scott Lang.

He also talks about which type of comics he read as a kid, what he would like to see in future Ant-Man films and his excitement at getting to meet the likes of Iron Man and Captain America on the set of Civil War. He was speaking at a UK press conference…

Q. Did this movie give you a newfound respect for ants?
Paul Rudd: Yes. Without trying to sound cute or anything, even last week I was standing by the sink and some ants came sort of walking toward the coffee maker and maybe in an earlier time I would have given them a little flick… now I absolutely let them do whatever they want to do and I stand back.

Q. Did you try and get them to make the coffee?
Paul Rudd: No! They wouldn’t!

Q. Where did you go to look for inspiration for the personalities behind the characters you play? Was it just from the comics?
Paul Rudd: Well, the idea of Scott doing everything that he does for his daughter comes from the comics. That said, when we were working on the movie and writing the script, we were kind of thinking of it as its own thing. So, Adam and I felt that if we ever veered too far from something that doesn’t make sense in the Marvel universe or something that isn’t true to the comic or to these characters that have been created that they would rein us back in.

Q. Were you a comic book fan growing up?
Paul Rudd: I read comics and I had some Marvel comics but I was a casual reader. There was a while I was committed to The Hulk, primarily because of the television show. So, I read some of the superhero comics and some of the Marvel comics. I read more English comics, actually. My aunt and uncle would send me these comics called Beano and Dandy, so I grew up with those characters. I was into Roger The Dodger and stuff like that. So, I probably read more of those than Marvel comics. And also Archie.

Q. Can you tell us about the physical aspect of the role and how long you had to prepare to get into such good shape for playing Ant-Man?
Michael Pena: You’re asking about his abs?

Paul Rudd: I didn’t do anything fun for a year! I ate no carbs or sugar. I basically made health and fitness the focus of my day for a long time. I worked out with a trainer. I worked with a guy who was teaching me tumbling and how to do flips and things like that. I was eating protein and vegetables and I was eating at very specific times of the day. I didn’t drink any alcohol. And I was miserable to be around for about a year.

But actually, I liked it. I enjoyed having the focus. I knew I was going to be held accountable, so that made it a little easier. But I’d never done anything like that before, to that extreme, and having the majority of my day built around that was really kind of great. I woke up very early in the morning, I felt really good, I had lots of energy and it helped me also just get into the mindset of this character. I figured that if I was in really good shape I would feel less of an imposter in the role.

Q. As we reach the end of the first generation of Marvel heroes, does that add any pressure to you going in as one of the newer generation?
Paul Rudd: I don’t really think in those terms. There’s only external pressure if you think about it for five minutes. I just worry about what I’m dealing with in the moment and I want to try and be believable in this part, so focus on that. I have no idea what the future holds. I’m excited about it. I’m interested in playing this part again. But I don’t think in those terms really.

Q. The Marvel movies always have a light touch to them but this one, in particular, is extremely funny. Is that something you’re going to stick with? Or will you go darker?
Paul Rudd: Ant-Man 2 will be like a Bergman film! It will be very quiet. We’ll shoot in Sweden and it’ll be black and white.

Q. What themes would you like to explore in Ant-Man 2 if you get the chance?
Paul Rudd: I’ve had thoughts of where it could go and things that might happen. But it’s so embryonic and I’ve had no conversations with anyone about it. But I’d be thrilled to get the opportunity to explore some of that.

Q. But you do get to appear in Captain America: Civil War. So there is more of Ant-Man coming?
Paul Rudd: I saw Iron Man in person, and Captain America. But it was weird. It made this whole thing seem real. We were kind of shooting in a bubble when we did this first film but then I was like: “Oh my God, I’ve seen them! I’ve seen all of them [The Avengers]!”

Q. What’s the scale of Captain America: Civil War going to be like? I mean, how much war?
Paul Rudd: There’s a lot of war but it’s a civil war!

Read our review of Ant-Man

Read our interview with director Peyton Reed