Michael Douglas on ‘Ant-Man’, Returning for the Sequel, Remembering ‘The Game’
With director Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man now available on Blu-ray/DVD, I recently landed an exclusive interview with Michael Douglas. As most of you know, Douglas plays Dr. Hank Pym, the original creator of the Ant-Man technology.
During the interview Douglas talked about being part of the Marvel universe and if he’ll be coming back for the sequel (Ant-Man and the Wasp), what surprised him about the making of Ant-Man, everyone’s reaction to how young he looked in the beginning of the film, what he remembers about making David Fincher’s The Game, and his thoughts on Hollywood remaking and rebooting so many films. Check out what he had to say below.
Collider: You mentioned a while ago that one of the reasons you did the movie was your kids and being able to share this with your family. So I have to ask, now that everyone has seen the movie, what was their reaction seeing you super young and then doing all the stuff that you do in the movie?
MICHAEL DOUGLAS: I was a little disappointed that the thing that they were amazed the most [by] was how young I looked in the opening sequence [Laughs]. I thought they dwelled on that a little too long, my kids, compared to all the incredible other special effects. But they loved it. Seeing it for the first time was unlike any other kind of movie because –You know, I’ve produced too so I’m kind of aware how the movies go and what it looks like. But when you have something like this with four units shooting and you’re only involved in the principal cast unit, when it’s all together I’m sure it’s the first time you see it. I think for all of us our jaw dropped, and they shared all the things that I loved in terms of the humor, the whole idea of getting small as opposed to the testosterone, larger than life, super action, sort of the other type of picture. It was very smart for them to go in that way in sort of the kids route. It was a relative seamless movie, it did this amazing job at kind of creating a credibility, a miniature credibility that just seemed like it was just special effects.
Since joining the Marvel universe, have you now felt compelled to sort of keep up with all the comings and goings and news about Marvel movies, or are you sort of like, “They’ll call me if they need me.”?
DOUGLAS: They’ll call me if they need me. I never was a big comic book guy growing up, I had to do my research for Ant-Man and in the Marvel world in general. I got a deep appreciation for Stan Lee, really enjoyed getting to meet him. I wanna be like Stan when I’m 93, so vivid, so alive, active imagination, big sense of humor, good guy. But no, I just got a call recently and they wanted to negotiate for a sequel. I thought, “That’s great!” Hopefully I won’t have to carry quite as much exposition and dialogue as the first one, but I had a wonderful time doing it, just a great, great time. The cast was fantastic. Paul [Rudd], Evangeline [Lilly], Michael Pena, I’m sure they’ll probably be back. If they can scrape Corey Stoll off the wall, I’m sure they’ll want him too, he’s such a good villain. And crew wise too, Peyton [Reed]. It was a lovely experience, so I welcome it. I chuckle at being involved in a movie that already has a release date in 2018. It’s hard to conceive of that, but it’s all good, all the way around, it’s all good.
One of the things I wanted to ask you about was that it’s really surprising that you didn’t have –A lot of the time with Marvel they make people sign a three, five, seven picture deal, and when I heard that you were only signed for this one movie I was sort of stunned. So I am happy to hear that you guys are talking about the sequel. Are you excited to jump back into this?
DOUGLAS: I am! It’s always nice to be wanted. And again, it was very thoughtful of them early on to express their interest, and also clearly they gotta know whether you’re in or out so they can start writing the script, they’re smart enough that they don’t want to start writing something if you’re not –But I think they do that too. Obviously I’ve done, you know, -A lot like [Anthony] Hopkins maybe and a couple of other people, they don’t wanna scare you away by making you sign up to a series of movies which they may or may not want to do if you’ve ever been in that world before. But I certainly am grateful and looking forward to it. I enjoyed myself immensely and I loved the final result. I’m proud to be part of it.
You’ve worked with so many great directors and you’ve worked in so many different genres. Was there anything that really surprised you about the making of Ant-Man that maybe you weren’t expecting going in?
DOUGLAS: I guess the complexity. I tip my hat to Peyton because it’s one thing shooting moment to moment in the scene with the actors, but it’s something else having a sense of the storyboards. I know about storyboards but I’d never seen an animated storyboard before, which is almost like watching a movie in sketch form but really helps to give you a sense of the rhythm of the movie. So it’s not just looking at one picture and then something else, it gives you almost a sense of the time and I could see how you actually mange something as complex as this. But the trust that you have to have, on one side the director I don’t think ever gets enough credit in this type of pictures, and I’m glad to hear that Peyton is coming back and appreciated for what a great job he did. And on the other side, as a director, to put so much trust in your production team, in the other units that you cannot be overseeing every moment, whether it’s your stunt units, your green screen units, your macro unit, and to count on them putting those pieces together as it closes. So that was tour, an overwhelming tour that I was really impressed about that I never really experienced before.
Hollywood is obsessed with remakes, and rebooting and going after IP that has already been done and that is popular in the public consciousness. You’ve produced a couple of movies and starred in, I’m very curious, have you ever had people come up to you and say, “Hey, we’d love to reboot Romancing the Stone” or some of the other movies you been involved with, and what are your feelings on the whole reboot idea?
DOUGLAS: Well it’s taken on a voracious appetite. I mean, I’ve got two pictures that I’ve produced, Starman and Flatliners that I’m developing with Sony as possible remakes of interpretation. I’ve been in it a couple of times, Jewel of the Nile is a sequel to Romancing and there’s Wall Street 2. Generally I don’t unless there’s teams to make a discussion. I mean, I’m discussing Black Rain sometimes in terms of a television series, that’s another one that gets talked about a fair amount. But I guess if they reach out…but also, a lot of good writers have moved into television because they can produce as well. So in the feature film area I guess with people getting more conservative or scared, they reach into their libraries, they reach into things that they already control. And I am a little amazed at the incredible success that they have with it.
I’m gonna ask you about The Game, which is one of my favorite movies and as long as I have you on the phone I have to. I really think that movie is underrated. When you look back on making The Game and the film itself, what do you remember most, are you proud of it, what’s your take on it?
DOUGLAS: I think what I’m most proud about is that it’s one of the very few movies that you could not guess the ending. That’s why I’m such a big sports fan, with sports you can never guess what’s gonna happen. Most movies you get halfway through and you can kind of guess the ending. The Game you could never figure out what the ending was gonna be. David Fincher is a very talented filmmaker. It was an extremely tough shoot, it was very long, a lot of nights. But I agree with you Steve, I thought it was a really well-made picture, very unpredictable and I do hear that picture when I talk about movies that I’ve made that people liked a lot.