Marvel’s #AntMan: Exclusive Interview With Paul Rudd And Evangeline Lilly #AntManEvent

When the ruggedly handsome and epically funny Paul Rudd walks in, we’re instantly given a vivacious greeting that you’d expect from a comical leading man. Traditionally seen as the goofy husband or the poker buddy, Rudd is now part of the box office leviathan, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His new role as Ant-Man is sure to propel him as a household name, just as it did for Guardian’s Chris Pratt.

Evangeline Lilly, also a new member of the MCU, will now likely be remembered as the kick ass powerhouse gal who punched Rudd in the face. But, with her emotional role as both the independent woman we hope for in a Marvel movie as well as the vulnerable daughter of Michael Douglas’ character, certainly she has secured her future in the MCU.

Recently, we had the chance to sit down with both of these leading Marvel marvels to talk about the big summer blockbuster, Marvel’s Ant-Man. If you’re not familiar with the history of Ant-Man or the story behind it, check out our post here!

Paul Rudd

Paul Rudd: “Hi Mommies!!! Wow.”

Evangeline Lilly: “I feel like we should have a turkey dinner spread out.”

Paul: “Or the biggest game of poker in the history of poker.”

We all laugh; it’s instantly apparent that the chemistry between these two extends far beyond the big screen and we’re in for a fun interview. I take a deep breath because already, I’m overly excited about meeting this dynamic duo. I don’t go all fangirl for many celebrities; on this day, I made an exception.

Q: You are very well known for your comedy roles; how is this high action role different from your traditional roles?

Paul: “I always felt like, especially with Marvel movies but just talking about this one, that it was going to be funny. They are good with levity. I mean, all their films have funny moments but they’re not necessarily straight up comedies. And with this one, I knew that the action was going to be really good. I knew the visuals were going to be crazy good.

But, I also knew that there was this relationship that Scott Lang had with his daughter and that there was the relationship that Michael Douglas’ character has with his daughter and that this whole thing with parents and children – that was going to be really the thrust of the film. And that’s relatable and empathetic and something that you can hang the whole thing on. And that’s pretty dramatic.

So, that’s really what I kind of focused on, figuring humor would be there in the end.”

Evangeline: “And that said,” she laughs “he did not stop improving and cracking jokes; there wasn’t one scene, no matter how serious, where [Paul] didn’t make me break character. And I kept asking him ‘What am I supposed to do with that? Do I riff with you? Do I shut up and let you do your thing?’ Like, I am so out of my element ’cause [Paul] is so comfortable in that comedic space and he, being the sweetest man alive as we all know…always.

I’m only preaching to the choir. Do you see their faces?

It’s true; his charm oozes into the room and we’re all under his spell. He just smiles and looks vaguely embarrassed at the compliment.

Paul and evangeline

Q: How fun was it to punch him?

Evangeline: “Everyone asks me that. You know I didn’t really punch him, right? I didn’t actually punch him.”

Paul: “Movie magic.”

Evangeline: “I loved the take that they kept in the film because of course you never know what they’re going to use and what’s going to end up on the cutting room floor. One of his improvs was when he said ‘Were you aiming for the head?’ I was so glad that it ended up in there because I love that line.”

Q: Now that you’re part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, do you feel sort of the weight of that?

Paul: “You know, there’s certain things that, if we stopped and really think about it, could be overwhelming and we don’t have any control over a lot of stuff. I just figure I’m going to focus on doing the part as best I can and let the other things just kind of happen the way they’re going to happen and hopefully I’ll be able to adapt.

I do realize, and have continually been surprised, by just how many people are interested. I guess not really surprised. I know how passionate the fan base is for Marvel films and for these characters. But, it’s been a whole new experience for me and thrilling and maybe just a little bit, uh, overwhelming – a little bit.”

Paul’s excitement for being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is apparent, as is his dedication for playing the role the best he can. He laughs it off, but after being able to screen Ant-Man before our interview, I can’t imagine many MCU fans – or comic book fans, for that matter – that could be disappointed with his portrayal.

“I think that female strength has many more dimensions…I think that a lot of our strength comes from our vulnerability, our compassion, our maternal instincts; I don’t think that those things should ever be labeled as weaknesses.” – Evangeline Lilly

Q: Evangeline, you worked with Paul and Adam during the writing process in order to develop your character. Do you feel that it came out how you wanted as far as the ‘girl power’ part of it?

Evangeline: “You know, it’s funny because actually the girl power part was not really my contribution. That was Marvel and the boys. I mean what guy doesn’t like a girl who can kick ass? They like to see that on screen, right? What I think is important is that a woman, first of all, be a woman and not a girl, and that she also have all the dimensions that a male character who can kick ass would also have. And, I think a lot of the times what happens mistakenly in men’s very, very meaningful attempts to make strong women is they make them strong in the way that they relate to, which is wrong.

And I think that female strength has many more dimensions than that, and I think that a lot of our strength comes from our vulnerability, our compassion, our maternal instincts; I don’t think that those things should ever be labeled as weaknesses. I think that’s one of the things that I always look to put in, and infuse these characters with – the sort of moments where you suddenly realize underneath that very hard facade, underneath what she’s trying to project to the world because she feels she has to survive or she has to do what she needs to do is you know, a little girl within all of us – and even within Paul – there’s just a little girl…”

Paul: “It’s true, very true.”

Evangeline: “…that needs love and wants to give love in order to receive love and I think that’s what we’re all doing. That’s the human predicament, is ‘How do we give unconditional love’, and just not losing sight of that.”

Paul & Evangeline

Q: Paul, which was your favorite ant?

Paul: “You know, I have a very personal relationship with ‘Antony’, which was something that we kind of put in the film and I think even giving him the name Antony kind came around later and I thought like ‘Oh, could it be Anton?’ It was even almost said early on when we were working on the script before we started shooting, like maybe do we give him a number?

‘Let’s call him Antony’ and then it stuck and that idea that you can have a personal attachment to ants; that you can see this film, especially kids, and really like say ‘Oh my God, ants are amazing!’ and that one in particular, you develop a real fondness for Antony, my favorite.”

Evangeline: “The Antony moment, which I can’t– I’m not going to say more…we’re not going to give it away to the crowd, but the Anthony moment was the moment in the movie where I was like ‘I love that man. GO GET ‘EM, ANT-MAN!'”

Q: Evangeline, I believe you had a figure once before for Lost…

Evangeline: Three times, actually.”

Q: I think this is your first project, Paul, where you got a vast array of toys, correct?

Paul: “I have a Brian Fantana bobblehead.”

Q: So are you going to start collecting yourself now or for your children?

Paul: “I was so excited to learn that there was going to be an Ant-Man LEGO set. That was, I think, the thing that I was most excited about.”

As Paul talks about the LEGO Ant-Man sets, he spots a few of the action figures on the table. These were popular with the cast that we interviewed and created some great conversation.

Paul: “As far as– I’m sitting here, meanwhile, I’m playing with my legs [on the action figure]. I think that I will collect some of this stuff, yeah. It’s pretty cool and by the way.

“We’ve all had bumpy times in whatever our relationship is, with our parent or our child and that’s the stuff that I think people will relate to.” -Paul Rudd

Q: What’s your most memorable moment?

Evangeline: “That’s the hardest question. I had a moment when I was doing a scene – a very intense, emotional scene with Michael Douglas – where, for the first time since I had attached myself to the project, the penny dropped and I knew who was on and I was like ‘Great, good cast, everything’s good, things are coming together.’

But I was thinking with an analytical mind of ‘Do I want to do this project or don’t I?’ And it wasn’t until I was working with him and witnessing the sort of magic that is the legend of Michael Douglas and what he brings to a film set and how he performs and what he does to the energy in the room when he performs that made me suddenly sit up and take notice and go, ‘Oh my God. I’d better bring it. I’m working with Michael Douglas and he’s a living legend’ and that was an honor.

Paul: “Yeah I never shook that feeling every single scene working with him, wow, this is– this is acting royalty. But I remember the first time walking onto the set in the {Ant-Man] suit. And, the first time I ever put it on at a fitting was thrilling; I felt like I was 10 years old. Every single time after that, it was ‘Whoa, I can’t believe this is so cool.’ And then we shot the scene where I discovered the suit for the first time. I’d stand in the bathtub and I– that was the first time putting it on when we were shooting it as well.

And to go from the tent, because there was a tent that I went into and had a small pit crew helping me get into it, walk on set and the camera department and everyone stopped and saw Ant-Man for the first time was totally exciting. And I’ll always remember that.”

Paul Rudd

Q: What do you think the main theme of the movie as far as the parent/child relationship?

Evangeline: “I think redemption really is a big theme in the film and I think redemption between father/daughter and the father/daughter relationship is the powerful theme that really anchors the film emotionally.”

Paul: “I like this idea that we’re dealing with all of this craziness with a suit that shrinks you down and controlling ants and all this kind of stuff, and yet this constant thing with parents and children, whether it’s with Michael, or my daughter and me, or Corey and Michael. That this is the stuff; this is what makes the movie more than just a visual spectacle.

It’s the thing that I think everyone will relate to, you know? We’ve all had bumpy times in whatever our relationship is, with our parent or our child and that’s the stuff that I think people will relate to.”

Paul & Evangeline

Q: There is that dynamic that opposites attract; between your characters, what do you think that it was that attracted them to each other?

Evangeline: “I think that in our lives, we all know often what our greatest pitfall is in our character and we don’t know we’re doing this but I believe that we’re constantly drawing people into our life to help us deal with that thing and usually those people are the most unpleasant people for us to deal with because they bring to light that thing that you wish you could just push under the carpet and not think about, but you know you need to work on.

And I feel like for Hope, Scott coming into her life could not have more poignantly exasperated the issue of her need for control, to control everything, every little thing right down to her lipstick point and her haircut. And you know, he just is so loose and from her perspective he seems so out of control and I think that’s that rub that we draw to ourselves. She drew in that energy because she needed to face it and she needed to deal with it and I think it’s really appropriate that it’s the Scott Lang character who helps Hope to realize what’s truly going on in her relationship with her father because she couldn’t see it for herself.”

See Marvel’s Ant-Man in theaters July 17th! 

Be sure to follow Ant-Man on Twitter and on Facebook for more exclusive content.

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