I know I’ve already mentioned that later this week I’m going to be in LA watching the Marvel movie Ant-Man and attending the press junket. Which makes me feel like I’ll be brining you a full circle picture of making the movie to the final results. One of the things we did on the day of our Ant-Man set visit was take a tour of the house they were filming in that day. The house was very well decorated and there were kids everywhere. I loved seeing it. I mean it was a real house not a built set. I was one of the last groups to go into the house. When we went in we had to stand at the back door and wait while they filmed and talked to the actors about what to do next. Then they were trying to decide how to move the camera to get the angle they wanted. Before we were able to go any further we had to walk back out because they decided to reset the camera and since it was a house there wasn’t exactly a lot of room. We were able to sit down with the director though and chat with him about working on this movie.
What’s your experience of Ant-Man before starting production on the movie?
Well I am a classic uh Marvel Comics nerd who was reading comic books from a really, really young age and uh there was kind of a choice as a kid. You either read Marvel Comics or DC Comics. Some kids read both, but I was strictly a Marvel guy and uh Ant Man was one of my favorites. I always loved Ant Man.
He’s kind of an outsider character, even in the comics world. He really kinda’ never had his own comic book. He was an Avenger and there was Tales To Astonish with the Ant Man and but he, he kind of was a little schizophrenic the character of Hank Pym, but he was in the comics he was Ant Man and Giant Man and all these different things. But I always loved that character and I was actually um in a punk band in the 80’s and I would draw all the fliers to the, to the shows.
And there was one where I totally ripped off the cover of Avengers #1 and had the band members as characters of the Avengers and I was Ant Man in the, in the thing and this was probably ’86. Uh and we actually showed it at Comicon and uh, yeah. It was just a weird thing to sort of be directing Ant Man now when I had been that character back in, back in the day– back in my punk rock days. Um but yeah it’s, it’s um– for me it’s fun just– it’s the kind of movie I’ve wanted to direct for a long time and to be able ta’ have the opportunity has, has been great.
Q : Ant-Man he’s a father in the comics. A lot of why he becomes Ant Man is because of his daughter. How much of that played a part in this film?
Well there is….it’s one of the things that I really was attracted to about the movie because I think he’s the only super hero in the Marvel Universe that’s a parent. And we’ve changed some of the specifics from the comic, but he still definitely has the relationship with his daughter Cassie.
And it is a driving force as to why he sort of embraces his heroic side. Um and that was really appealing to me to sort of do a movie that has all these weird elements to it. The shrinking, the controlling ants, and all the sort of super heroics, but also has this really grounded domestic side you know. This– it’s, it’s this guy who is making really poor decisions in his life and is now trying ta’– trying some kind of redemption. And a big part of that is to really be a part of his daughter’s life. And also to kind of make the world a better place for his daughter to grow up in. And there’s a great thematic between Paul and his daughter, and also Michael Douglas and his daughter, in the movie, Evangeline Lily.
And I think that, that in terms of the script and the story is one of the great things. Is they both, Paul and Michael, are very flawed characters who have things to learn about parenting and about being there for your kids. And that I think is a different thing from, from a lot of the other Marvel movies.
How Do You Take The Ant-Man Comics and Translate them to A Movie?
Well I think the comics…..I mean I think all the comic to movie translations change because you wanna’….do the same thing that Marvel Comics did from the 60’s to present day, is you know each version of say the Avengers or, or you know Iron Man, each decade there’s sort of a different take on those characters. To keep them fresh and relevant to the world around them.
And even like in the original Stan Lee, Jack Kirby Comics they were all about sort of– they were pop culture references. It was all about really being relevant to young readership and I think the same is with movie. So there’s a lot of discussion about what changes and what stays the same, but I think everybody’s united on the fact that you wanna’….keep it fresh ‘cause there’s so many super hero movies.
And there’s all this talk about super hero fatigue and I think no one is more aware of that than Kevin Feige and the people at Marvel. And it’s like you know you, you gotta’ stay 5 steps ahead of the audience ‘cause ultimately he just wants the audience to be surprised and entertained and, and not bored and not this, “Oh I’ve seen that before.”
And again, one of the things about Ant Man that I love is like the powers are, are really, really different and the, the style of story’s very different. And it’s, it’s– he’s a very– he’s, he’s very grounded. It’s a grounded story.
Then he goes onto telling us more about the movie and how it evolved.
This movie really kinda’ has the DNA of a heist movie. Um and it’s– you know in the way that it was written and the way that we’re shooting it you know it’s got a real sort of rhythm. There’s a lot of stuff that has to happen and, and there are a lotta’ heist movies that, that we watched as, as inspiration. Um so it is you know a super hero movie, but it really has the spine of a, of a heist movie.
There were a bunch of heist movies. I mean obviously like probably more recently Oceans 11, but going back to stuff like The Killing, Stanley Kubrick and um you know the original uh Thomas Crown Affair, stuff like that. And, and there are a lot of things that have to be set in motion and you have a group of characters who all have a defined function in this heist and how it plays out.
And the notion that as much as you plan anything there’s always that sort of “X” factor or that act of God or something that you didn’t count on to come up. So we uh we definitely took all that into account.
Tell us about casting?
I inherited Paul Rudd…… And we have an amazing cast. I mean you know I certainly cast a lot of the other roles around, but you know uh Michael and Paul and Evangeline were on the movie before. In terms of the performance and the performance is all around, they’re incredible. I mean Paul….uh I was saying before I think Paul was probably, I don’t know is there’s an official award, but he’s gotta’ be the most liked and most likeable guy in Hollywood. I knew Paul a little bit before the movie, but to find out that you when you’re watching a Paul Rudd movie it’s like, “Oh I can, I can hang out with that guy.” And you actually do feel that way when you work with Paul ‘cause he’s, he’s great. He’s kind of an Actor that when I decided I wanted to be a Director.
And wondered what it would be like I always, I always hoped that Actors would be that way and, and Paul is that way. And obviously he’s an incredibly gifted Comedic Actor, but if you look at his dramatic work he’s equally amazing in movies and on stage. And this movie definitely asks him to exercise all those muscles you know. It’s kind of a different– we, we– we introduce him in a different context and you first see him in the movie he’s in prison.
He’s getting out of prison and it’s like a rougher, more rugged version of Paul. Uh and that’s been really fun. To kind of see him– he’s worked out and he’s been doing all this fight training and um and he’s amazing. And you know my wife for example, who’s always loved Paul Rudd, you know she saw from the first day and she’s like, “Ohhhh impressive.” And I said, “Calm down” ….I’m never letting you come to set. ….. Um but he’s– yeah he’s amazing in the movie and he and, and Michael Douglas together are fantastic.
It was quite a bit of fun getting to do all these things. A full set is a very busy place and everyone has a job to do. You can see the final product July 17th.