In the first Ant-Man movie, Michael Douglas‘ Hank Pym chooses Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), an ex-con, over his very own daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), to take up the Ant-Man mantel. They put a stop to Darren Cross, aka Yellowjacket, in that film, but two years later, is Hank regretting the decision? According to Douglas himself, the answer to that question is a big fat yes.
While visiting the Atlanta set of Ant-Man and the Wasp back in September 2017, I got to join a group of visiting journalists for a roundtable interview with Douglas who told us that at the start of the sequel, Hank isn’t happy Scott took his tech to go fight alongside the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War. But, that tension aside, in Ant-Man and the Wasp, Hank and Hope have no choice but to turn to Scott for help when they think they’ve got a chance at rescuing Hope’s mother, Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), from the quantum realm.
You can read more about that, Douglas’ experience working with extensive green screen, the incredible ensemble of actors Marvel has assembled and much more in the set visit interview below. You can catch Ant-Man and the Wasp in theaters on July 6th.
How’s it been getting back into the skin of Hank Pym?
MICHAEL DOUGLAS: Well, I love this whole experience, right? I don’t know if it’s Hank Pym, but it’s green screen, because I never did green screen in my life. It’s the whole idea of talking to an ant on your shoulder and the breadth of imagination, and what you can do, it’s staggering. And so that, I really like a lot. And this tonally, it was nice to see Marvel getting into more humor areas in the way the direction’s been going. And kind of phenomenal just to watch, not only as an actor, but as a producer, how this – I guess it’s 19 in a row now – how it works and their balance of their big set pieces, and then casting well.
Obviously they have some interesting casting choices, and all of the things, which, to me, means a little appreciation of actors … so yeah, it’s a nice group. And sort of the same thing like when you make a movie with somebody, either a director or an actor that you’ve [worked with] before, you know each other, there’s a familiarity part. It’s a nice group. Paul’s lovely, Evangeline’s great. There’s a comfort factor, which, after a lifelong career of sort of carrying a lot of movies and stuff, you enjoy it. It’s a nice trip.
Probably some of your most fun scenes will be with Michelle. I imagine you’re looking forward to those.
DOUGLAS: Well, I am. Especially – I never know what I can say. [Laughs] Well, especially since Michelle and I are gonna be 30 years younger, you know? So that’s always a treat.
How has Hank changed from the first film to now?
DOUGLAS: He’s gotten older. [Laughs] He’s still a little curmudgeon-y. I don’t think he’s changed a whole lot. Still looks at Paul as not being the right choice for Hank’s daughter, Hope. He still looks a little judgmental. Thinks she can do a little better.
What about his relationship with Hope? In the first movie, it’s her trying to get his approval. Now that that’s there, how will that change things?
DOUGLAS: It’s much more as a team. The catharsis has gone over. She’s older. I think there’s much more a sense of working together as partners, as a team, and then of course possible, the hope that Janet, Michelle, could still be alive in the quantum realm.
Somebody told us earlier that the quest to rescue Janet was primarily Hope’s idea. How is Hank involved in the whole thing?
DOUGLAS: Well, let me think now. We sort of – well, we get a signal. No, really, what happens – I expect Marvel to shoot me with a blow gun in the back of the neck – we get a signal. Hope is certainly integral, but we get a signal that actually, through Scott …
Unit Publicist: The blow dart is coming, Michael.
DOUGLAS: [Laughs] Okay, so there you go! It’s an integral part that we get a signal that she might still be alive.
We were just on the lab set and there’s so many fun details.
DOUGLAS: Isn’t that stunning?
Spending so much time there, is there anything in there that’s your favorite part of it?
DOUGLAS: Oh, god no. It can give you a headache there’s so much. Actually, it’s that strobe light with the things. It’s just a stunning set. I made a big effort to meet the production designers to see them, because I thought it was just so cool.
How does Hank feel about Scott taking the Ant-Man gear and going out for Civil War? And for exposing that tech to Tony Stark?
DOUGLAS: Yeah, he’s pretty pissed off about that. He really is. I would say that largely sets the initial tone between Scott and Hank on this one. He didn’t share much information with Dr. Pym.
Is that the tone we were seeing today in that scene on set?
DOUGLAS: A little bit of that, yeah. Little bit of that. [Laughs]
We know that Hank and Hope are on the run because they wouldn’t sign the accords, so are we gonna get to see them discussing that in this movie?
DOUGLAS: I don’t think so. I don’t know. The secret is I love making movies. I love the process of making movies. I don’t see a lot of movies myself, [even ones I’m in]. I’ll see it once in early stages. I guess all I’m really saying is, I don’t really follow all of the Marvel movies to the extent that they are out there. It’s very great. And I’m fascinated about how the audiences are immersed in the plot, and how thick the plots are. All I can do to read and understand what the hell is going on. But to expect audiences to – but they love it. They do. The more complicated they get, the better. Should be good students.
Going into the last movie, Hank hadn’t been inventing for many years. He was kind of detached from society. Now we see him building a lot. He’s built his entire lab himself. Is he kind of more centered, being his scientist self?
DOUGLAS: Part of that. I think he’s just obsessed with the love of his life, truthfully. I think he’s upset. He lost everything but he was very wealthy. Very wealthy guy. I think a lot of this was based upon hopeful wishes, thinking hopefully for the future. It’s all about a deep love, which he’s never found. Thirty years is a long time to lose your wife. Jesus. You’d think he would have moved on already. [Laughs] Then it wasn’t Michelle Pfeiffer. [Laughs]
How is it working with Laurence Fishburne?
DOUGLAS: It’s great. This is one of the joys, when I look at the casts in general that Marvel has, it’s always, ‘Oh, oh, look at that.’ He’s a treat. He’s a real deal. I’ve always been a tremendous fan of his. And since both of us don’t have our families here, we’re sort of in and out and stuff, so we spent some time when he was down. He’s just a great guy and a wonderful actor. Just a treat.
For even more from our Ant-Man and the Wasp set visit, you can browse the links below:
- ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’: 22 Things to Know About the ‘Midnight Run’-Inspired Sequel
- ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ Set Visit: Everything We Learned about the Quantum Realm
- Here’s How ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ Fits into the MCU Timeline