I have now shared my set visit interviews with Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lily, Abby Ryder-Fortson so it’s time to share my final Ant-Man and The Wasp Interview with Director Peyton Reed. I spoke with him during my last Ant-Man set visit in 2015, and his excitement is even bigger this time around. With the focus on family and the relationship between Ant-Man and the Wasp’s Scott and Hope, he gives a great interview of what to expect with NO SPOILERS.
Ant-Man and The Wasp Interview with Director Peyton Reed
Let’s talk take 2.
Yeah! Well, I think we went into this with the idea that it wanted to be both bigger and get out in the world more. But also, be even more intimate and delve into family stuff even more. ‘Cause to me that’s one of the big strengths of Ant-Man within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I always liked that Scott Lang is just a normal guy who’s made bad decisions in his life, and he keeps trying to make the right decisions. And he keeps having these setbacks.
But he is not someone who naturally has superpowers. That’s all about the suit! And at the end of the last movie, you know, Hope Van Dyne was very much a character in the first movie, but she hadn’t become a hero in a suit yet. That obviously was the most exciting thing at the beginning of this. It’s like, okay, we get to see Wasp in action finally, and also see them in a partnership. A lot of the first movie took place, you know, in the Pym Tech Laboratory and in Hank Pym’s house.
And I really wanted to get out and feel San Francisco more in this movie and put these two characters in the real world. The big thing about it is sort of our starting off point. And I don’t know if you saw Captain America Civil War, but, Scott Lang is in that movie a little bit. But it’s a significant little bit. That became a thing where it’s like, well, he went off and was Gi-Ant-Man and got involved in fighting with the Avengers. And my first thing was, like, well, Hank Pym would not have liked that very much.
This is Scott transgressing the law that Hank Pym has laid down. This technology is dangerous. And you know, Ant-Man and Wasp are the protectors of this Pym Technology, and then he’s gone off and exposed it to Tony Stark who is his worst nightmare. So, I liked the idea that that could give us a really clear jumping off point in terms of what that did to Scott and Hank’s relationship, and also Scott and Hope’s relationship. ‘Cause the movie’s absolutely about Hope and Scott attacking being heroes in very different ways.
And then also the notion of, will they or won’t they be successful as a duo. Which is a kind of different thing, you know in the MCU. I guess you have Captain America and Falcon as a partnership. But this is a very different partnership. We decided to call the movie Ant-Man and Wasp because it’s very much about both of them. And it’s very important to represent both of their points of views equally in this movie. And that was really, really fun because it’s part search and rescue movie. There are elements of a romantic comedy in it. And it’s sort of a family movie because it is still all about parents and their children. And without giving too much away, that thematic even informs our villain and our antagonist in the movie.
Cassey is a young Avenger in the comics.
In the comics…Yes…
Is that something we can expect?
There’s a scene in the movie where Scott and Cassey have a real heart to heart discussion about what’s going on in their lives. And, about his struggle. Part of Scott’s thing is, he’s on house arrest at the beginning of the movie. But part of it is really kind of a work-life balance issue. You know? Because all these other people are full-time heroes. After the first movie, he helped Hank Pym with his heist. And this specific problem. But his goal was really just, I want to do this so I can be a part of my daughter’s life.
But then what happens in Civil War kind of puts him back in a tough position again. And that’s his big dilemma is just, again, wanting to be there as a dad. And Cassie has a slightly different point of view on things, once she kind of starts to become aware of what’s going on with her dad. That’s, I think, all I can say about that.
Let talk about the villain.
Well, the villain in the movie is certainly based on a villain in the Marvel comics. Ghost. In the comics, Ghost started out as an Iron Man villain and was a man. And I very much wanted a female antagonist in this movie. And it gave us also a chance to sort of play with that thematic that I was talking about. About parents and their kids. And sort of creating an antagonist. Yeah, I stop shy of calling her a villain, though she is the villain. But an antagonist who you really see the root of what happened to this woman who was a girl, and how it’s informed the rest of her life, and her own dilemma.
She has a solid point of view. And I think the audience is really gonna relate to her as well. It’s a very complicated set of dynamics that I’m not at liberty to discuss in detail. But it was important to do something that wasn’t just… a sort of arch villain that someone who had… who’s tied into the history of the Pym Van Dyne dynamic.
Can you talk a little bit about making the decision between building tangible sets? Like the Pym laboratory is a substantial set, versus making the decision to use CGI for some of these sets, versus filming on location what drives those decisions?
That was a big one because, they talked to you about the lab and what it does, with the shrinking? So, we just thought it would be fun to not only play with scale and size with our lead characters but also with some of the environments.
So the audience is continually guessing where they are and what’s happening. What size are they? And the idea came up of this shrinking portable lab. Because at the beginning of our movie, Hank and Hope find themselves on the move. And the idea came about, like, well, what if they had this giant building and could shrink it. But in terms of shooting it… There are so many of these movies now that create all digital environments, and they do it exceptionally well. You know, and some of the Marvel movies do it extremely well.
For me I really wanted it to be a tactile thing, ’cause I think that you get so much regarding the actors reacting to something real. And you build it, obviously, to shoot it. But you still have physical limitations that the camera has to move around. The actors have to navigate around, and… You know. This was, I think maybe the biggest set that’s ever been built for a Marvel movie.
I think… I don’t know about Dr. Strange. The Sanctum Sanctorum was pretty big. But this was a complicated set. There were certainly issues that it was gonna cost a lot relative to the budget. But it was something that I really, really fought for, and I’m glad I did because it was amazing to have Michael and Paul and Evangeline come on the set and really have this thing to work with. And all these scale cues are built in that if you’re trying to imagine them, and it’s just a sea of green, it’s harder to sort of direct them. You know. I can certainly direct them to do that. But it’s so much easier for them if they can physically see these things, and react to this space.
My personal aesthetic is, I like that they take place in a version of the real world and that the heroes and the powers are the bizarre things. There’s a lot of whimsy in the design of that lab, because, you know, you walk around, and there are Wonderbread, the clips that go on a clip of bread that we use to hold cables, or there’s like a giant clothespin. He’s taking these found objects, Legoes and Erecter Set pieces and all that stuff…
Are there Easter eggs and things that we should keep an eye out for in the movie?
There are tons of Easter eggs! I think you have to hunt for them…
While on the set the scene we watched being shot had a Hotwheel car, can we talk a little about that?
I love the Hotwheels. The Hotwheels is something that I really wanted to do as a scale thing. And then we took that. You know, it’s a… Hyundai. And the whole idea when we were designing was, like, I want this to look like a Hotwheel down to the specific Hotwheel tires and wheels. There’s such a wish fulfillment thing. And when that car makes its first appearance in the movie, if I’ve done my job correctly, it’s a big cheer moment in this…
My kid actually plays with an actual Hotwheels that looks like an Ant-Man helmet. Ant-Man Hotwheel’s not in the movie. But they do it, but…
You have such a funny cast.
Well, there’s a lot of funny stuff, just ’cause it’s Paul and Michael, and the whole cast. My goal was to make this movie more out in the real world. It’s all about 4 moments, ’cause they’re on the run. And to make it funnier, but also to make it more emotional. There are some really emotional moments in the movie that are earned emotional moments. And I love comedies enough. I’ve always done comedies. But I also like to be moved in a movie theater. I like when it’s earned. And the family dynamics, and what goes on in this movie… and the actors that I’m fortunate enough to have, you know, we really take advantage of the emotionality in the film.
So can you tell us the importance of And Man and the Wasp in the title?
Well yeah! When I first started reading the comics when I was a kid, you know, it was always Ant-Man and Wasp. You didn’t really talk about Ant-Man without Wasp. I mean, there were a handful of comics in the early ’60s that were just Ant-Man. But by the time you got around to Avengers Number One, Ant-Man and Wasp were a duo. And they were founding members of The Avengers in the comics. And, you know Janet actually named The Avengers in the comics. She’s a big deal. So when I came on the first movie, and sorta picked up with the existing scripts, there was really no Janet in that version.
And in getting to the whole history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and about why that was, you know, they sort of hold off, because they were gonna make an Ant-Man movie, and then they didn’t. By the time they did The Avengers, there was really no place for Ant-Man and Wasp. And I was, as a comics reader, was like, well that’s not cool, man!
Where are they? So I really wanted to take it in a direction, start building towards not only Scott Lang and Hope Van Dyne. But to deal with Hank and Janet. So it’s really kind of about both Ant-Man and Wasp but mostly Scott and Hope. It seemed like a natural progression from the first movie because, in the first movie, part of the story we’re telling is Hank Pym recruits Scott Lang. But the answer to his problems was right there in front of his eyes the whole time. Hope was taking care of business, but he was being overprotective. He couldn’t see it.
That was the arc of the first movie. And now that they’ve reconciled and gotten that past him, now it’s just, you know. Hope finally has this thing that she’s always wanted, and I can’t wait to sort of see how she is as a hero. And Evangeline and I always talked a lot about the very clear journey she takes in this movie and a very clear agenda about what she wants to get done.
But we talked a lot about, as a hero, separate from that. Even if it’s not in a movie. Like… What are the particular types of injustice that she, as a hero, wants to fight? Like, what’s her thing? You know? ‘Cause she’s not like Black Widow where she’s an assassin, and she’s not like Captain America where she’s a genetically engineered super soldier. Like, what is her thing? If Evangeline and I had so many conversations about… who this person was. And… how she had evolved her… jumping off point the beginning of this movie as opposed to where we left her at the end of the last movie.
Because some time has passed a lot has happened between Hope and Hank and also Hope and Scott. So that was exciting to really do something where she has a life very separate of Scott Lang. think if you’ve been waiting to see Wasp in action in the movie you’re gonna be very… excited, ’cause you see her in a lot of different scenarios. And she’s fantastic.
It’s two years, you know. What has she been doing in this time?
We answer all of that in the movie. But I think part of Hope and what she has to come to terms with is whether she wants or needs a partner at all. Which is a very relatable thing for men and women in life. Do I need a partner at all? And if I find that person, whether it’s a romantic or a professional partnership, what does that look like? There are a million different variations. And it was sort of figuring out what these two specific people… Do they need each other? Do they want each other? If so, do they work well together organically? Do they have to work on that? And that was fun stuff to explore in the movie.
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (7/6/18)
* I was invited by Disney to attend this Marvel secret set visit to share with my readers. All opinions are my own.