From the Marvel Cinematic Universe and director Peyton Reed comes Ant-Man and The Wasp, in which Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has been left to deal with the consequences of his choices, ultimately leaving him on house arrest and struggling to balance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man. When Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) need Scott to put on the suit again and help them uncover the truth of whether or not Janet (Michelle Pfeiffer) could still be alive in the Quantum Realm.
During a conference at the film’s press day, co-stars Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, along with director Peyton Reed and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, talked about having Ant-Man and The Wasp serve as both an Ant-Man sequel and a sequel to Captain America: Civil War, the biggest challenges of this film, when we could see the Quantum Realm again, what makes The Wasp so cool, channeling Michelle Pfeiffer, the different kind of villains that you see in the film, how and why this became a title of equal billing, that rumor about an all-female Avengers film, and whether there could ever be a prequel with Hank Pym in the Ant-Man suit. Be aware that there are some spoilers discussed.
Question: Paul, this is actually the third time that you’ve played Ant-Man. How did you and (director) Peyton Reed approach this, not only as the sequel to Ant-Man, but as a sequel to Captain America: Civil War?
PEYTON REED: It’s a really good point you make, that it’s a sequel to both movies. What was cool about Captain America: Civil War is that we could not ignore what had happened to Scott Lang in that movie, in this movie. It gave us an organic jumping off point because my first reaction was, what would Hank Pym and Hope van Dyne think about Scott taking the suit and getting involved with all of this and fighting with the Avengers? They’d be pissed off. So, it really gave us this starting point where we were like, what if they were estranged at the beginning of the movie, as a result of this? There are ramifications of the Sokovia Accords, and Scott being on house arrest gave us a natural starting point, from the get-go.
PAUL RUDD: One of the things that was nice was that it gave us a little bit of leeway to lean things, now that the character has been established and we’ve seen Scott in two other films. People buy the abilities. They buy me in the role. They understand the rules. So, it felt as if we had a little bit more freedom to play into the humor. Would Scott do this? Would he say this kind of thing? Would he make this kind of choice? The first time around, we were still modulating. One of the really fun parts about this is that we went into it with the feeling of, let’s try it because people know who this guy is already.
Since Paul Rudd helped to write the first movie and now this movie, do you feel that he gives himself all of the good lines, or does he also give everyone else as many good lines?
EVANGELINE LILLY: His best lines in the movie were not in the script.
REED: Paul is as generous a writer, as he is an actor. Paul could easily say, I’m getting all the lines, and you’re not going to say this or do this, but he always has the whole picture in mind when he’s writing and acting. At least, that’s my perception.
RUDD: I try to think of the film, as a whole, and every character. This has been a collaborative effort, more than anything I’ve ever worked on. To think that I actually wrote it would be a gross overstatement. The truth of the matter is, Peyton was in the room and has been working on this, for a long time, and it’s the same with our producer, Stephen Broussard, and Kevin [Feige]. And two writers, in particular – Erik Sommers and Chris McKenna – really did a lot of the heavy lifting. Those guys are great. I tip my cap to them.
Peyton, what was the most daunting sequence you had to do for this?
REED: There were a lot of daunting sequences because we really wanted to go nuts with the Pym particles technology in this movie, and it occurred to us that maybe it’s not just Ant-Man and The Wasp who can shrink and grow, but what if it was also vehicles, buildings and other things, but what that did was create some real technical challenges. Maybe the biggest is that we did a whole car chase that took us through the city of San Francisco. We wanted to do a chase that you just simply wouldn’t see, in any other movie, because of all the size changes. That was probably the biggest challenge.
What were the street closure situations like, in order to be able to pull that off?
REED: That was something we thought about a lot because when we decided we wanted to spend more time in the streets of San Francisco, we wanted to do all of these very specific things and make San Francisco a character in the movie. We wanted to utilize the city and make the chase specific to that city, with the landmarks and things like Lombard Street, but then it occurred to us that we might not be allowed to do that. Thankfully, the city of San Francisco was so cooperative. We really had free range to do some of the craziest things imaginable in that city.
Kevin, in regard to the Quantum Realm and how we’ve been introduced to it, what future plans do you have? Are we going to see it, in future films?
KEVIN FEIGE: Yeah. Without giving anything away, all of the new places and new things are storytelling tools. In the first film, we got a glimpse of it. For people who like to go through, frame-by-frame, there was a little silhouette of Janet, as The Wasp, in there, which is a big story element in this movie. There are things that Peyton has put in there, but where and how they pay off, in the near term and in the long term, remains to be seen.
Are any of you competent and proficient, when it comes to explaining quantum theory in the Quantum Realm?
LILLY: I can actually answer that question because I really love quantum physics and always did, before this ever happened. That’s one of the reasons I was excited about this. I really dig quantum physics. At one point, we thought the atom was the be all and end all, and that everything ended at the atom because that was the smallest nucleus in the world, but we’ve actually discovered that the atom is kinetic and that atoms exist in multiple places, at the same time. That was scientifically proven. Once you discover that, then you know that matter is kinetic and matter is displacing, all the time, and if it can be displaced, it can be warped. So, if you can warp it, then you can warp size. If you can warp matter, can you warp time? Can you warp reality? Can you warp universes?
Evangeline, what was your favorite part of that wonderful fight sequence in the kitchen, and what did you most enjoy about getting to play Hope and The Wasp in this film?
LILLY: The knife gag in the restaurant scene is very, very cool. I love the element of having somebody who’s completely in jeopardy, but also completely in control, as a superhero. And it was just fun to finally get to see her take on the mantle because this is something that she’s been ready and willing to do, basically her whole life. Her parents are both superheroes and she was rearing to get in that suit, for an entire film, and we never got there. So, to actually see her fighting, in that moment, was wonderful.
Paul, how was it to channel Michelle Pfeiffer?
RUDD: I feel like I’ve been doing that for years! Every time we would refer to that, we kept calling it the “All Of Me Sequence” We had many conversations about it, early on, because it seemed like a fairly big swing. It was surreal, to say the least. There are those moments, as an actor, where you have to buy into this scenario, and you’re playing the truth of the moment. At the same time, as me being me and Michael [Douglas] being Michael, when I had my hand tenderly to his cheek and was staring into his eyes, we giggled a couple of times.