Let’s go back to the coldest day in Atlanta last November. I may be exaggerating a little about THE coldest day, but it was VERY cold. Fourteen bloggers, including myself, were invited to a secret set visit for Ant-Man. This was a huge secret that had us all off the radar for a few days and really enjoying an amazing experience for being on the set of a Marvel movie. One that happens to star Paul Rudd.
The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man.” Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
From the time we walked onto the set in an Atlanta neighborhood that looks like one that would be in San Francisco where the movie takes place, it was exciting. So much so that I almost forgot I was freezing my tush off. We watch Paul and his co-stars Judy Greer (Maggie) and Abby Ryder Fortson (Abby) filming some scenes celebrating Abby’s birthday. Originally the party was supposed to be outside, but due to the freezing cold temperatures, it was moved inside which made filming a tight squeeze, but we still got a chance to be on the set and watch up close. A truly special experience. While waiting outside, they did have a tent with heaters set up and it was where Paul took a few minutes to chat with us in between takes. He talks about working 15 hour days for a few weeks straight. He was pretty tired, yet with the movie wrapping up shortly after the time we were there, and he was really great to not only watch work, but just a nice guy even with little sleep!
Paul Rudd as Ant-Man Interview
So how does it feel to be a part of Marvel and being a superhero?
It’s fun! Yeah. It’s a totally different kind of experience for me. I’ve just kind of given into it. Yeah, and gone on this wild ride and it has been one so far. But it’s been great, yeah. I’ve enjoyed it.
What made you want to sign up to do a superhero part?
Well, you know, when I first signed on, the director was Edgar Wright, who also wrote the script with a guy named Joe Cornish, and Edgar’s a friend of mine, and I was excited about working with Edgar, and it also seemed like, just a different kind of thing, which was interesting in and of itself. I figured it would probably be funny. But then there were other elements that like action and some drama and stuff like that that. I don’t think people normally associate with me.
Are you into comics?
I wasn’t a real big comic guy. I heard about Ant-Man years ago, actually from Edgar. Uh, but I, I didn’t really know that much about him.
What’s it like being in the Ant-Man costume?
It feels really cool, ‘cause it looks bad ass. It’s a great suit. It’s a little tough to move around in. I just kinda make due, you know. Try and strike a heroic pose knowing my arms aren’t really gonna be able to… I can’t get them up any higher, you know…there was one time where I was, like, all right, I’m ready to kinda take this off. And it was that thing of, like, having your arm in a cast where I thought I felt an itch like on my head. I couldn’t do it. And I couldn’t do anything. The best thing you do is just try and zen that out. That part’s kind of a bummer.
How long were you in those costumes when you were in ‘em?
It varied. You know sometimes it would just be kind of a shot or two. Other times it was most of the day. We shot inside a lot, and they were able to keep the sound stages a little cooler, which was good, ‘cause it didn’t breathe that well. There were certain days I was in it for a long time. It felt great to take it off at the end of the day. And it takes a few people to kind of get in and out of it. I had a small pit crew.
Did you have to do research or training for your role?
Uh, yeah. I mean, both! I’d say more training than research. I like, do just basic research and things on ants and that kinda thing, and then some Marvel stuff. I trained for this for about a year, and there’s been a lot of training. I did some gymnastics. I tried to get familiar with that. I’d never done that before. And then just weight training and all that kind of stuff that is required for these kinds of parts.
What were your family and friends’ reactions when you told them you were going to be playing Ant-Man?
They seemed pretty excited. I guess. I mean, it’s for those that cared. I mean, there were others that didn’t care, really. I mean, why would they? They’ve all got their own lives. At a certain point it’s, like, great! My family was excited. I’ve got a 10 year old son, and I was really excited to tell him that I was gonna be a superhero. He’s more into kind of sports and music. The superhero stuff hasn’t really gotten him in. He just turned 10. But I was excited at the idea that he’d get to see a movie that I did, ‘cause he’s never seen one, really. And then when he said what is it called? Who you gonna play? And I said Ant-Man. He just looked at me and said, what? Ant-Man? And he couldn’t quite wrap his brain around that one. I acknowledged it doesn’t have quite the same verve and panache as Iron Man. To a 9 year old, that kind of stuff makes a big difference.
‘Til next year when all of his friends are trick or treating in your costume.
Yeah, that’ll be…But he came to the set, and it was pretty cool. He got to see the suit. He tried on the helmet, and I think that changed his excitement a little.
It seems like the lines were a little bit different every time. Is there a lot of improv in this movie?
Uh, yeah. There has been, to a certain extent. More than on some things I’ve worked on, and a lot less than other things I’ve worked on. But Marvel has a way of shooting these films. They have a kind of a Marvel approach, and they’ll often try lots of different versions of things. And they want to kind of explore every avenue. And I like that. I like working like that and sometimes it feels maybe like you’re going down a nowhere road. But I think so much of this stuff is shaped as you edit it and you get into post. We have a script and we do the scenes as written, but then we’ll play around with it as well.
What was it like to play basically a deadbeat dad?
Very close to home. I haven’t seen my family in years. They don’t travel with me to Atlanta. (Ha! Totally straight faced and kidding!) There are, there are certainly aspects to his character, and I think one of the things that we really have tried to focus on in this movie is are kind of parental and relationships. Relationships we have with our kids, and the relationships we have with our parents. And, you know, now I have experienced in both of those, I think that’s certainly enriched my experience as the character and in performing it as well. I do the scenes with Abby, and it’s like, I have a daughter that’s younger than she is.
What’d you find the most challenging about this role?
I don’t know what I found the challenging. Maybe adhering to the world that it lives in and, this is not a broad comedy. They’re all challenging in their own ways. There’s the physical aspects, while challenging they are really fun. So I liked it all. But I don’t know what the most demanding part is. There’s been certain things that have been demanding like cutting out all carbs for a year. That’s the most demanding. That part sucks! Has nothing to do with actually playing the character. It’s not being able to even have a Guinness on a weekend. Don’t you feel bad for me? See…it’s hard doing this stuff. Just a few more weeks.
ANT-MAN opens in theaters everywhere on July 17th!