Marvel Comics first introduced Hank Pym/Ant-Man in 1962’s Tales to Astonish #27. The following year Pym appeared alongside The Avengers in the team’s comic book debut Avengers #1.
In Disney’s new blockbuster, Marvel’s Ant-Man, Dr Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) enlists the expertise of master thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to be the modern day Ant-Man, using Pym’s chemical substance – The Pym Particle – that shrinks him to the size of an ant, but with superhuman strength. Against insurmountable odds, Pym, along with his daughter Hope (Evangeline Lilly), and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world.
Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly spoke with journalists at the press day for the movie, which opens nationwide on July 17th 2015.
Paul, what was it about the character and the opportunity afforded to you through this film that excited you?
Paul Rudd: The fact that it was different than anything that I’d ever done. I liked the challenge, I thought it would be an exciting adventure.
I enjoyed the fact that when I was cast people went, ‘Huh, really?’ Marvel likes to do that, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity.
Were you a fan of the character as a child? Did you go back to the source material?
Paul: Growing up, I really didn’t know the character. Before we ever started shooting I read the comics to get into the mindset as much as possible.
There was also all of the physical stuff that I wanted to throw myself into, to feel as if I could play the part and not only be convincing, but just help me feel the part more.
I enjoyed being able to do shoulder rolls and flips for the first time.
Evangeline, Hope stands out as by far the biggest badass in the entire film. Can you talk about playing a character who is not a woman in distress?
Evangeline Lilly: That was the most exciting thing for me about the role.
While we were filming and during post-production there was a lot of buzz on the internet, ‘Is Evangeline playing the Wasp, is she a superhero?,’ and I had a lot of questions directed my way about that.
I couldn’t have felt more comfortable or more happy saying, she is just a really capable, very powerful force to be reckoned with. She doesn’t have a superpower and she doesn’t put on a fancy suit, and look dorky in it.
My super-suit was my power suit that I would go to work in and be a high level scientist on the board of a very, very powerful corporation. Playing the role of a female scientist in a world where mostly scientists are men is a great role to play.
Was it comfortable wearing the Ant-Man suit?
Paul: I’m biased because I loved the suit. I think it’s the coolest-looking suit of all of them, and I loved wearing it.
It was not that uncomfortable. It helped me feel the part, you know, there’s something that happens when you get in that thing, that it’s inevitable.
I would stand differently, I would feel different, I’d feel like Ant-Man.
Did you have to lose weight to get into it?
Paul: I didn’t eat anything for about a year. I worked out all the time.
I took that Chris Pratt approach which is just basically eliminate anything fun for about a year, and that’s a good way to prepare to play a superhero.
You both have father-daughter storylines in the movie. Did this give you another level to play with those characters?
Paul: It was the thing that I hung the whole thing on.
You know, you can have a movie that has amazing effects, and this certainly has that, and brilliant visuals, a lot of action, humor, whatever, but whenever you see something that you can connect to, that’s emotionally resonant, it stays with you in a very different way.
I think that’s the key to any movie and that’s what I thought about throughout this whole film. This is what the movie is about.
Evangeline: I just don’t know if there’s anyone in the world who can say, ‘I’m completely above father/daughter issues.’
There’s just always stuff to be mined there because the relationship between a parent and a child is so complex, and it lends itself to so much wonderful, relatable material within those storylines.
When this movie opens it’ll be almost 20 years to the date since Clueless came out
Paul: Oh, my god.
I have gratitude and am so appreciative that I’ve been able to continue to work doing something that I love, and not only doing something that I love but working on movies that I’ve loved.
Evangeline: Who didn’t have a crush on Paul Rudd in Clueless? So dreamy.
Paul: I know, it’s crazy. I fell in love with me. It’s unbelievable, isn’t it? (he laughs)