×

Paul Rudd on ‘Ant-Man’ Training: ‘I Took the Chris Pratt Approach’

When Marvel Studios announced that Paul Rudd — best known for his comedy work in such films as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Anchorman” and “Clueless” — would star as Ant-Man in their bigscreen adaptation, Rudd understood that some fans might be skeptical about him playing the beloved comic book superhero, who shrinks to insect size to battle crime.

“When people heard that I was cast in this movie, I think most people’s reactions were ‘Huh? Paul Rudd as a superhero? Really?'” Rudd told Variety Monday night at the film’s Cinema Society screening in New York at the School of Visual Arts Theater.

“The majority of my career has been doing comedies, and I was always that guy, so I completely understand. Playing a comic book character is different from anything I have ever done before, and that was a huge appeal to me. I wanted to do something unexpected. I’m grateful that Marvel took a chance with me. It’s been really gratifying.”

In “Ant-Man,” Rudd not only made his leading man debut in a Hollywood tentpole, but also co-wrote the screenplay, which centers on a father-daughter relationship.

“It’s an emotional story that people can get invested in,” he said. “We wanted to make sure the movie had heart and be funny with all the action.”

Michael Peña, who plays a crook and Rudd’s friend, nearly steals every scene he’s in with his dim-witted jokes. The “Crash” actor says he did some improvising to get the big laughs in the film.

“My performance was probably 50% improv,” Peña said. “When I study a script, I want to do different takes and try to change it up. I like to rehearse a lot, so all of these ideas came up when Paul and I were rehearsing. Thank God Marvel was like, ‘If you want to try it, do it.’ Paul was really instrumental with the jokes. We’d come in the morning and we’d rewrite some stuff, and he was really good with that. It allowed me to open up. Paul is the best at improv. He can do it for days.”

Co-star Michael Douglas admits he did not read comic books growing up, but jumped at the chance to star in “Ant-Man” — his first superhero movie.

“Most of my career has been R-rated,” Douglas told Variety. “My children haven’t seen most of my pictures. But when I told my son about ‘Ant-Man,’ he said, ‘Dad, you have to do this.’ He was like my agent. I’m glad I took his advice. It turned out really well.”

To portray a superhero, Rudd listened to Chris Pratt, his “Parks and Recreation” co-star, on how to bulk up and look like a fighter.

“I basically didn’t eat anything for about a year,” said Rudd, who shows off his washboard abs onscreen. “I took the Chris Pratt approach to training for an action movie. Eliminate anything fun for a year and then you can play a hero.”

As for donning the Ant-Man suit, “It was just cool all the way around,” Rudd said with a big smile. “I felt like the part in that thing. It was a lot of fun. It got a little toasty, but it was never debilitating.” Asked if there any problems going to the bathroom in the suit, Rudd quipped, “No. I’m thankful they planned ahead!”

Following the screening, Rudd, Douglas and Peña joined co-stars Corey Stoll (“House of Cards”) and Bobby Cannavale at the rooftop of the Knickerbocker Hotel located in Times Square for the after-party. Other notable guests included “Girls” actor Andrew Rannells and actress Malin Akerman.

More Scene

  • Angler Los Angeles

    Angler Is L.A.'s Major New Seafood Destination

    San Francisco transplant Angler is set to make a major splash in Los Angeles, as Joshua Skenes’ innovative seafood-focused restaurant opens in the somewhat unlikely location of the Beverly Center. Angler is the latest and the most ambitious restaurant to join a fresh crop of spots, including Cal Mare and Yardbird, on the recently refurbished [...]

  • Bette Midler

    Bette Midler Set for Special Performance at New York Pride (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bette Midler is set to appear at New York’s Pride Main Event this Saturday (June 29) at the Javits Center. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, she’ll perform a song accompanied by composer Marc Shaiman, of “Hairspray” and “Mary Poppins Returns” fame. Her stage time is set for 11 p.m. Also scheduled to [...]

  • Magic Johnson, Larry Bird

    Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Robin Roberts Honored at 2019 NBA Awards

    The NBA went Hollywood on Monday night, mixing basketball legends with a star-studded list of presenters including Samuel L. Jackson, Tiffany Haddish and “This Is Us” star Justin Hartley at the 2019 NBA Awards. Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal hosted the third annual award show, which aired live on TNT, kicking things off with a surprise [...]

  • Naomi Watts and Gretchen Carlson'The Loudest

    ‘The Loudest Voice’ Stars Naomi Watts, Russell Crowe Talk Roger Ailes

    Roger Ailes may have been the force behind the creation of Fox News, but the late newsman’s legacy will forever be his atrocious sexual harassment of several of the network’s female anchors and producers. Showtime premiered its new limited series “The Loudest Voice,” which chronicles Ailes’ rise and fall, on Monday night at the Paris [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]

  • Bebe Rexha

    Mumford and Sons, Sting, Ciara, Bebe Rexha Light Up Cannes Lions

    There was no shortage of excellent music at the 2019 edition of Cannes Lion. The international gathering of creatives drew top music brands – among them: Spotify, Live Nation, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM/Pandora, VEVO and Universal Music Group – and a slew of well-known acts to stages across the Croissette, to villas above the city and onto [...]

  • Patrick Wilson

    Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace on Scary Stories From 'Annabelle Comes Home' Set

    Tales of spooky occurrences on the sets of horror movies like “The Exorcist” and “Poltergeist” have circulated for years, and it looks like “The Conjuring” franchise is following in their footsteps in that regard. The cast of “Annabelle Comes Home” shared their unnerving stories from set at the film’s premiere on Thursday night at the Regency [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content