In conversation with Chris Evans as part of Variety‘s Actors on Actors At Home series, Paul Rudd admitted that some people thought it was a joke when he was first picked to play the lead in Marvel’s “Ant-Man” franchise.
“I would say, ‘I got this part, I’m playing Ant-Man,’ and then they would say, ‘Well what does Ant-Man do?'” Rudd said. “I would say, ‘He can shrink to the size of an ant but he retains strength and he can also control ants and talk to ants.’ And people would laugh as I’d explain what the character does.”
Not only did people find humor in Ant-Man’s powers, but also the fact that Rudd was chosen to play the superhero. However, Rudd said he decided to take their disbelief as an opportunity to make the character of Ant-Man more relatable.
“I’m not the first guy that people would think of when it comes to playing a big superhero,” Rudd said. “I wanted to try and make a character, a superhero, who was kind of a regular person. The whole world of it, of superherodom, seemed overwhelming and it’s like, ‘What do you do with this?’ you know, to make it identifiable.”
Beyond the pressure Rudd felt to fill the big shoes of other Marvel superheroes – like Evans’ Captain America – he also hoped to impress the already existing fans of the “Ant-Man” comics.
“These characters are important to many people and you want to treat them with respect and want to do the character a service,” Rudd said. “And certainly, the character – when he was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee and everyone at Marvel – has been around for a while.”
Watch the full discussion below: