Marvel Ant-Man Interview with T.I., Michael Peña, and David Dastmalchian
I don’t think I’ve ever been in an interview as much laughter as our interview with the heist men of Ant-Man. From their entrance into the room and the entires time they spent with us we were all a ball of laughter. You’d never think that a Marvel movie would garner so much discussion on prison, living in the ghetto and prep school. This trio are scene stealers in the movie and their in person interviews were just as amazing as their on screen chemistry. Meet the self titled #Antourage – the other members of Ant-Man’s team – T.I., Michael Peña, and David Dastmalchian.
These three walked into the room surprised to see us all clapping on their entrance. That set the stage for a great interview.
Clearly they weren’t expecting the group clapping and excitement. Of all the interviews we had set up I was excited about this one the most. Just because I get to brag to my husband about interviewing T.I., and this group didn’t disappoint at all. They were so excited they all wanted to document it so Michael Pena hopped on Instagram and post a photo.
The first question went to David about how long did it take to do Kurt’s hair for Ant-Man.
David: “Okay really quick, this is great. Yvette Stone you’re seeing right here, she actually did the hair every day. She helped create that look for Kurt. And I am usually sitting in the chair for half an hour to 45 minutes. We got it down. At first it was taking a long time, but by the end of the movie we nailed it, and the tattoos and everything. My Make-Up Artist Greg Funk did the tattoos.”
Q: You guys are pretty hilarious in the movie can you guys share one of your favorite scenes?
T.I.: To me all of the scenes that we did together to me were funny. A lot of the van stuff. You don’t remember the first night we were in that van in San Francisco? (he turns to ask Michael Peña who responds ‘I’m still in Instagram mode’). In San Francisco, I think it was the scene when Scott was breaking into [S/L: Hank Pym’s] house for the first time. I mean the stuff that didn’t make it on screen, now that’s gold. [LAUGHS] That’s the action.
The group goes on to tell us about how it was on set for each of them. David shared about feeling intimidated by the actors but how they all made him feel welcomed the very first day of filming. They shared about ripping on the set and how Michael and Paul would talk about being cellmates on set all the time and T.I. and David would look at them amused. You could tell they got close on the set and Michael explained how it’s impossible to not get close on a set like Ant-Man.
Q: So Michael your story telling is hilarious are you like that in real life?
Michael: “No I was always like a quiet kid you know what I mean to be honest. Yeah. I remember I got messages on Facebook from old friends like ‘out of all people to be an actor – you’re the guy?’ [EVERYONE LAUGHS]. Yeah you can ask my best friend’s here from Chicago and he’ll say, “Yeah dude. You know he was the quiet kid!”
I was captain of the wrestling team and track team, I loved sports and stuff. That’s the only way that I really made friends, but I was like kind of a nerd to be honest, it’s hard to believe [EVERYONE LAUGHS].”
When you see Ant-Man you have to wonder where did Peña get the inspiration for such a character. If you think back on all his roles the seems to have more serious roles. David even chimed in on working with Peña.
David: “I know him. I know he’s done some comedy work before, but he’s so famous for these killer dramatic roles and stuff. And the first time we’re on set and he started making T.I. and I just bust out I was like that’s not the dude that I was expecting.”
We didn’t have to guess about where the inspiration for Luis came form because Peña was happy to share about a character that lived in his neighbor hood when he was growing up.
Michael: “I’m imitating this guy – I won’t say his name, but he’s from my old neighborhood. I had the blessing of going to prep school and living in the ghetto. Is what happens. And I’d travel like an hour in the morning just to get to that school, come back and then all of a sudden it’s like, “And how, how did it go man? [EVERYONE LAUGHS] You want a nickel bag?” And I’m like, “No man, I’m good man. I gotta’ study and stuff.” He said, “But if you don’t want a nickel bag it’s cool.” And then you know he’s the kind of dude that always see. He he got a girl pregnant when he was 13. [EVERYONE OHHHHH] Yeah, which is amazing, but he’s a really great dad when he’s not in jail. [EVERYONE LAUGHS].”
While it seems crazy to some, there could really be characters like this in someone’s life and it’s very interesting to me that Peña used his circumstances in a positive way and as an inspiration to add humor and originality to his character Luis in Ant-Man. It’s the perfect example of art imitating life.
I chimed in for this interview because it wanted to know how did these guys get connected to this Marvel project, especially T.I.
David: “I auditioned in January of 2014 and I got the sides and the role description and it’s so different than anything I’ve gotten to do before. And my immediate goal was like hey I’m a huge comic geek. And I’ve loved comics my whole life. And I also wanted something that my mom can go to the cinema and watch and not be terrified ‘cause I tend to play some goofy guys. So I went after it and I created a voice and the character and they liked it.
And then I got to test, so it was a very long process for me. I had two auditions and then a test and then I got the part and then everything started to change. I was like, “Oh my gosh am I still gonna’ get to be a part in the film?” And then my Manager called me like two months after we were starting and goes, ‘Great news. You’re going to Atlanta to test.’ And I didn’t understand what that meant and I had a newborn at home, and I was very frazzled, and I was very nervous. And I thought okay like I’m gonna’ go do another audition. So I went to Atlanta and Michael was there and everybody else.
And I’m meeting everybody and I’m so nervous. And I realize what they meant by that kind of test. [EVERYONE LAUGHS] ‘Cause like hair and make-up test. It’s like I had the part. I was in. [LAUGHS]”
T.I: “For me, for me I think when it was first mentioned that there would be an Ant Man film someone mentioned me in association with it and all over the blogs and everywhere. Like, ‘Yo T.I.’s gonna’ be in it.’ And I was like, ‘I have no idea what you’re talkin’ about.’
And I don’t know who it was or what it was that mentioned me, but I think over the years different people fell out and there were starts and stops, and starts and stops. And so finally maybe two weeks or three weeks before they began shooting I got a call saying, ‘Can you get to an audition in Atlanta?’ Of course I said yes, ‘Well can you go do an emergency reading for Ant-Man?’ And so I go and read and they give me a bunch of anonymous scenes to read and they called me back and offered me the role. So then I had to find a way to re-arrange the rest of my schedule to actually take advantage of this great opportunity to do this film.”
Michael jokes about the perks of being a rapper and T.I. smiles, while the irony of his role in this film may not be evident for some it’s clear to me. Here he is playing this role in a film about a convicted felon trying to redeem himself and here you have T.I. sitting in front of us discussing his role in this Marvel film, one you wouldn’t normally think he would be attached to and he’s been given the role of a lifetime. Having his own run in with the law, he could have easily let it derail his life but instead he chose redemption. He instead to chose to be an extraordinary man, husband and father. His own life being an echoing theme of the movie Ant-Man, that is’t not about what you did in the past but about what you choose to do in the present and future.
Q: T.I., I know you do a lot of stuff with Boys & Girls Club in your community and so does Marvel as well. Is that something that you recognized that you wanted to be a part of Marvel?
T.I.: “I mean I think that’s just a positive coincidence. I never considered the film philanthropic synergy that could have been created by this. I never really thought about it that way man. I mean of course if there’s anything that we can do together to help the people in the under served areas of society man that’s always a consideration.”
The guys shared their hopes with us to see the #Antourage get ore involved in the MCU and even for a comic book. I truly hope we do see this trio again because they all did a great job in the movie.
Q: Michael how does it feel to be the bigger comedian?
Michael: “The what? Bigger comedian? What you don’t like Paul Rudd? [EVERYONE LAUGHS] I’m like is that a compliment or is that an insult?
You know what Paul had a lot to do. Like you can’t really go for the joke when you’re trying to propel the story. So I would do stuff that’s when the Director would be like, ‘Yeah that’s too much’. But I think it helped that I based it off somebody who that actually exists. So I had infinite ideas about what he could do. But it’s more of a compliment.”
Q: For T.I., your character’s so funny. Can you tell us about the conversation when you told your kids you were gonna’ do Ant Man?
T.I: “You know my kids they’re jaded you know. [EVERYONE LAUGHS] When I tell ‘em I’m going to work. I’m about to Ant Man. They are like, “Ant Man? What’s that?” [EVERYONE LAUGHS] you know. Then I try to explain he’s a Marvel character like the Avengers. Kids- “Oh you’re gonna’ be in the Avengers!?”
Me – “No.” [EVERYONE LAUGHS]
Kids – “No you’re not gonna’ be in the Avengers.”
T.I. – “Well I’m gonna’ be in Ant Man.”
Kids – “Well I don’t know Ant Man. Is Ant Man in the Avengers?” Well technically in the comic– no the movie, we’ll see it in the movie.”
T.I. – “No, no.”
Kids- “Okay well you gonna’ wear a costume?” [EVERYONE LAUGHS]
T.I. – “No, not I’m not wearing a costume. You know just forget about it. [EVERYONE LAUGHS] Don’t worry about it. I’ll be back.”
While his kids didn’t seem to impressed with his role in Ant-Man he did share he recorded a scene for his show The Family Hustle where he talks about the movie with his two younger kids and they ended up making superhero capes. In the end he’s their hero and that’s all that matters.
Even at the end of the interview this group was still as down to earth as possible. David showed off photos of his baby and all of us moms in the room was excited to take a peek. He didn’t want to leave at the end of the interview feeling so relaxed around the group. T.I. hugged all the ladies in the group and dapped up the two guys. He thanked us all for taking time to interview him and finally his manager got him on to the next set of interviews. When we regrouped to wait for our final interview everyone was chattering about how friendly this group was and how T.I. hugged the group. “It’s southern hospitality,” I proclaimed, “southerners gives hugs.” After all my southern husband is a hugger. I can’t wait for you all to meet the #Antourage on July, 17th when Ant-Man opens in theaters.
Like ANT-MAN on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/antman
Follow ANT-MAN on Twitter: https://twitter.com/antman
Visit the official ANT-MAN site: http://marvel.com/antman
ANT-MAN opens in theaters everywhere on July 17th!
Disclosure: I was provided an all expenses paid trip to L.A. for the #AntManEvent, any opinions expressed are my own. Photo Credit Jana S or Mommy Merlot and Louise B of Mom Start and Walt Disney Studios.