Paul Rudd, the man who never seems to really age, has now played Scott Lang, also known as the ex-con turned superhero Ant-Man for nearly a decade. In the third installment of the Ant-Man films, the action now takes place in the mysterious quantum realm, where new dangers await.
We last saw Ant-Man in Avengers: Endgame. Now he is back in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, where the story continues after Thanos’ snap that erased half of all life in the universe.
What is the new movie about?
In “Ant-man and The Wasp: Quantumania,” me, my family and extended family get inadvertently sucked down into a vast, subatomic realm that we were not prepared to go to. The creatures there are terrifying. And it is challenging to get out, to say the least.
What we are doing in this movie is probably going to surprise some people that are familiar with the other “Ant-Man” movies—this story, these stakes are crazy high. What happens in this movie impacts everything that follows. Everything is heightened, amplified. We still have this familial thread that runs through—it really is about family. It’s funny but it’s also so much more dramatic and even scary.
One of the things that is unique about this “Ant-Man” film versus the other two is really the scale of it, the size. It feels weird to talk about scale and size in regard to an “Ant-Man” film, but it feels so much bigger. The villain in this film poses a bigger threat than we’ve ever seen before.
Who is the villain in “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania”?
The villain in our film is Kang who’s played by Jonathan Majors. Audiences have seen Jonathan play a version of this character in the series “Loki,” but it’s a very different character—a variant—it’s hard to believe it’s the same guy.
It’s probably one of the most enjoyable things about playing that part—it’s a unique thing to get to play different versions of the same character. His version of Kang in our film is very scary. I think that audiences will respond to him.
Jonathan, of course, is a terrific actor and he brought an entirely new kind of intensity and ownership to the role and to the movie. He injected it with a lot of power and fear and everything else that audiences will experience when they watch it.
Where do we find Scott as the film gets underway?
A lot has happened with Scott over the last several years. This is a guy who was living a normal life until he committed a Robin-Hood-type crime—because he is a good guy. He went to jail for a couple years and then was recruited to be a Super Hero. He joined the Avengers, went down to the Quantum Realm and when he came back, he saved the Universe.
We start this film after the events of “Endgame” have happened. I think for the first time in many years, Scott is able to take a breath and sit back and spend some time with his daughter and be present in his own life. But that doesn’t last long.
One of the things that’s been fun about playing this part is that there’s nothing extraordinary about Scott. He doesn’t possess any real super abilities—he’s not a God of Thunder, he’s not big and green and strong, he can’t fly. He’s just an intuitive, smart guy. To play the part of a regular guy who didn’t really want this but is forced to be heroic is fun.
What does it mean to you to portray this character?
Playing this character, Scott Lang, has been really important to me and my life. I’ve never played a part for a long period of time, really. I never did the same role season after season, so this is new to get to do it over the course of almost a decade. I feel a kind of kinship with the part, with the franchise, with the company. I’ve loved it and I feel protective of Scott Lang and Ant-Man because of it.
I look back and think it’s been almost a decade now that I’ve been playing this part—that I’ve been a part of the MCU. It’s a bit surreal to take a step back, much like Scott does in the film. It’s been an incredible thing to be a part of. I’ve been to many countries I never would have gotten to go to because I get to promote the films and I get to visit places and meet lots of people. To be a part of a franchise that’s so globally beloved by so many people—so many kids—has been really cool and I’ve really enjoyed being a part of all of it. I’ve really liked the people I’ve worked with, which you know at the end of the day is the number-one thing. We spend a lot of time on these films.
In “Civil War,” the scene on the tarmac when I’m meeting Captain America for the first time with some of the other Avengers was the first time that I’d filmed with them. It was almost like there was a locker room and we were all putting on our costumes. I’m getting into my Ant-Man suit and I’m looking over and Sebastian Stan is putting his silver armor on and Chris Evans is getting into his Captain America suit and there’s Anthony Mackie and [with] his Falcon pack. The whole thing was surreal. I felt a little like the character I was playing and I even tried to bring some of that to that scene, which was fan-boying out—impressed with the Super Heroes that I’m surrounded by. I still feel that Scott has a little bit of that—it’s like “I can’t believe I’m on this team.”
How does it feel to return to set with people you’ve worked with in the previous “Ant-Man” films?
You want to like the people you’re working with—not just the actors, who are all great, but the crew and the producers and executives at Marvel. It really has been an amazing group of people I’ve gotten to spend a good chunk of time with, and I’ve treasured it, I really have.
It’s really nice coming back and working with the same actors. We all get on really well. I still can’t believe that I’m [working] and there’s Michelle Pfeiffer and there’s Michael Douglas. It’s really nice to work with legends—I don’t get used to it. I just try and recognize how privileged and fortunate I am that I get to act opposite these people.
Peyton Reed, the director, is a great guy. I trust him implicitly as far as what he wants to do with the film, how he sees the scenes, what he thinks. He’s very collaborative. Our main producer Stephen Broussard is a really smart, very stealthy, cool, hilarious kind of master puppeteer. I think that guy has a really strong vision for all of this and I love the guy, as well as Kevin Feige.
Evangeline and I have worked now on three of the films, but this is the first time I got to work with Kathryn Newton whom I adore. She’s great. [She’s] really talented and a really, really sweet person—it was fun getting to know her.
Describe the relationship between Scott and Cassie.
The relationship that Scott has had with Cassie has always been the most important thing in Scott’s life. They have a strong relationship and I think there’s a lot of love between those two characters. It really is at the heart of what these films are about. As far as having Kathryn now play Cassie as a young adult was great. It’s much different dealing with a 6-year-old than somebody who’s 18.
It was fun watching Kathryn take on Cassie and play a character who wants to find her own way, discover who she is and maybe butt heads with her dad a little bit. [Scott] missed a lot of time in her life, so he wants to pick up where they left off and he wants to spend time with her and let her live a normal life and she maybe has some other ideas.
What is the Quantum Realm and how much does it factor into this film?
The Quantum Realm is really front and center in this film. We have seen glimpses of it in the past but we’re spending the majority of this film in the Quantum Realm. It looks crazy—the settings, the characters and some of the things you might find in the Quantum Realm will be unique to audiences.
[I saw] some pre-visualizations and computer-generated things when we were shooting. But [we won’t see the Quantum Realm] until the movie is done—and they’re working on the effects all the way up until the release date. Part of the fun for actors, I think, is seeing what it looks like when it’s all done because we’ve only ever imagined it. I think when I see the movie, it’s going to be bonkers.
Why should people watch this film on the big screen?
One, you can’t beat it, going to a movie theater is still the best thing. It is transportive and visually striking. There are some films that you see in a theater and the experience is completely different and enhanced, and I think that this film is that.