Paul Rudd on becoming ‘Ant-Man’ and losing his ‘dad bod’

14 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Paul Rudd Tried to Flash Michael Douglas à la Basic Instinct: ”It Looked Like I Was Basically Pleasuring Myself”.

BURBANK, Calif. In its efforts to colonize the multiplex with heroes, Marvel Studios has gone big (Thor), bigger (Hulk), neurotic (Spider-Man), unmanicured (Wolverine) and anarchist collective (Avengers) and finally decided that less is more.While filming Ant-Man, in theaters Friday, the actor tried—and failed—to recreate one of the actress’ most iconic movie scenes while filming a scene of his own with their mutual co-star, Michael Douglas.

Dylan, his 14-year-old son with Catherine Zeta-Jones, hadn’t been able to see most of his dad’s R-rated movies — well-known fare such as Traffic, Wall Street and Wonder Boys. But now that the Oscar winner is one of Marvel Studios’ latest do-gooders in Ant-Man (in theaters Friday), he “thinks I’m the cat’s meow,” says Douglas, 70, with a laugh. “I’ve finally gained his respect after all these years.” Directed by Peyton Reed, the film stars a pair of actors who some might be surprised to see hanging in the same universe as Iron Man, Captain America and Thor. Just because they lack a magic hammer or armored flying suit doesn’t mean they don’t have some super-swagger, though: Inventor Hank Pym (Douglas) hands down his high-tech hero suit to ex-con Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) so he can become Ant-Man, who has the ability to shrink down to crazy-small sizes and communicate with ants to save the day. Douglas’ career has been comprised mostly of conventional acting, so playing to a little red dot on his shoulder that would eventually be a mini-Rudd is a different experience. At no time during director Peyton Reed’s concoction does a viewer feel he’s not being played by a movie that’s equal parts revenge tale, redemptive parable, apocalyptic thriller and cornucopia of oedipal clichés.

Director Peyton Reed (Yes Man) remembers a particular day when the camera was all over Rudd’s abs. “I enjoyed being able to do shoulder roles and kind of a flip. It’s intimidating, and he’s so nice,” Rudd explained. “I didn’t want him to think that I couldn’t be myself, and I thought, ‘I’m really going to try to be buddy-buddy with the guy.'” “It was his last day and we were doing a close-up, and I thought, ‘You know what I’m going to do? He’s never been in a feature before that required shoulder rolls and parkour, “but it’s cool,” says Rudd, 46. “How many people have to learn a back handspring for their job?” He adds that it was easy to feel pretty heroic in the Ant-Man ensemble, from gloves with the shrinker button to the red-lensed helmet. “That first time I put the thing on, I was like, ‘Oh, so this is what it’s essentially going to be.’ I turned into a 10-year-old.” Even with the explosions, supervillainy and various bits of derring-do that Ant-Man has in common with, say, the Avengers films, Rudd and Douglas give a double dose of emotional depth.

Pratt’s advice turned out to be valuable on other fronts too – particularly when it came to maintaining a screen relationship with things that aren’t there (like, say, a talking raccoon). In Rudd’s case, Lang’s human bonds – with his daughter, his newfound mentor Pym, and a budding romance with Pym’s daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly) – jostle for importance alongside his relationship with, um, ants. He has some anger issues and some deep regrets in his past, so there’s a lot there for Michael to play.” Rudd is much more of a fan of the Kansas City Royals than Guardians of the Galaxy comics. As Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, Douglas maneuvers Lang into thwarting the plans of Pym’s former protégé Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), an incipient madman who plans to sell Pym’s ideas to the military—or whatever nefarious interest will pay the most. THAT’s what it looks like.’ A lot of the time, you have no idea what it is you’re making.” And now? “This is the first thing I’ve ever done ever that he is jazzed about, that his friends know about.

When we first see Lang emerge from prison, he presumes that his master’s degree in electrical engineering will lead to postincarceration employment. He reached a point five years ago where he never thought he’d work again after being diagnosed with Stage IV tongue cancer, but with Ant-Man and his Emmy-winning turn as Liberace in HBO’s Behind the Candelabra, Douglas’ career is getting “these broad chances that I had not done before.” He’s practiced at parkour, knows technology and cracks Pym’s safe with a series of innovations that are downright magical, as is Reed’s direction of same.

Fathers worshipping daughters is a big element in Ant-Man, along with sons rejecting fathers: Cross was mentored by Pym and feels abandoned; his inner turmoil is less Oprah than Aeschylus.

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