Ant-Man Interview: Corey Stoll on Being the Villain
Nobody like the villain in movies, well at least I don’t. Corey Stoll who plays Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket in Marvel’s Ant-Man is unlike any other villain. He does a remarkable job as Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket and as the movie progressed I found myself unable to dislike him. That usual love to hate feeling just wasn’t there. When we sat down for the Marvel interviews I was excited to talk to Stoll about his role in Ant-Man. When Michael Douglas offers praise about your character and your portrayal of said role, you know you did a good job, so when Douglas shared his thoughts with us about how impressed he was with Stoll I knew we were in for a great interview.
James of The Rock Father had left his Ant-Man action figures on the table during the interviews and just about everyone who entered the room played with those toys for some portion of the interview. Stoll on the other hand, immediately picked up the Yellowjacket figure but spent the entire interview bending Ant-Man (the action figure) legs. When the interview started we shared how Douglas had just praised him for his portrayal of Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket. The first question was in regard to him playing a villain and how hard was it for him to play this character.
Stoll: “It really wasn’t hard at all. My first day of shooting was sort of a microcosm of what the whole shoot would be where. In the morning it was all Motion Capture, totally abstract, just stunts. It was like being in a silent film where you run this way and then duck and then pick up a toy train and throw it and it was just pure play. That was really fun and then the afternoon was a very quiet scene with Michael Douglas where I show up at his house unannounced and it’s our really most sort of intense scene.
And it was just such a great way to start because there are these two extremes of what this role would be. And it was just fun. I want to make sure this character is scary but I also love how, what a loser he was. He’s the least cool guy in the world. He wants to be Tony Stark. He wants to be the coolest guy in the world.
He’s puffing himself up with these Tom Ford Suits and driving an Aston Martin. He knows that he’s not that guy. And that’s the irony, he’s trying to buff himself up in the end to impress this father figure and it’s exactly the opposite of what a father figure wants. I mean I think the script was really smart about giving very real, playable motivations.”
Q: Were you always a Comic Book Fan?
Stoll: “Yeah in Junior High School and High School, I was really into Comic Books starting with the real Super Hero Marvel Comic Books and then getting into some sort of darker stuff but yeah, I mean Spiderman, X-Men, and all that stuff.”
Q: Who’s your favorite?
Stoll: “You know I really bounced around but I would definitely say Spiderman. He was just the guy that I think that as a high school student that you could identify with the most. Then also just the New Yorkness. I liked Batman and Superman but they were all in these sort of fictional cities and Spiderman was New York. You know, as a kid from Queens, the idea that fantasy of being able to swing through the buildings that I see every day was really cool.”
Q: What was it like to work with the motion capture?
Stoll: “Yeah, I mean the closest thing that describes it is Dance. I mean, it really was just like it’s so funny because it’s this huge – you know, all these resources. I don’t know how many million of dollars this movie is but in the end, it was just, it was basically the same technology or the same feeling as when I was 10 years old playing in the playground. You just sort of use your imagination and have fun.”
Q: Can you tell us about the suit?
Stoll: “I did two separate trips down to Atlanta just to try on different versions of the suit and it just never looked right. And I remember the first time I tried it on, everybody was trying to convince themselves that it looked cool. Yeah it’s gonna be great, just a little CGI over there and you know, it looked great. And I was, I just felt like a Power Ranger. So and luckily, you know, smarter heads prevailed and they just did it off CGI.”
Q: How to do you feel about the final outcome of Yellowjacket?
Stoll: “I think it’s awesome, yeah. I’m so excited the way it works. And I know I wasn’t wearing something but you look at it, it really looks real. It’s really amazing.”
Q: What was like you favorite scene to shoot in the film?
Stoll: “Well the big sort of climax scene in the Feature’s Vaults where I have sort of lured Hank Pym and Hope in order to deliver my big villain monologue and all that. I mean, I would say it was several days, maybe 3 days shooting that scene. It was an endurance feat because there were so many people in that scene. We really felt like we were sort of trapped in that room for a long time. But it was just really fun to have that license to just be that big sort of bond villain, you know, just for it.”
Q: Is there something good in Darren Cross you can relate to?
Stoll: “There’s some things that really didn’t end up in the film but when he’s first selling the Yellow Jacket and this technology, we really sort of brainstormed about what would be the beneficial applications of this technology and you realize that this actually could save the world. You know, there’s so many things you could do, you could shrink a shipping container down to the side of a Volkswagen Bug, and shipping cost would be like nothing
And then carbon emissions would become a smaller, or you could maybe like shrink smoke as it comes out of a coal powered plant or you could shrink a surgeon down to do micro-surgery. It really is like this incredibly Utopian thing. And I think there is that element in Darren that’s like he wants to change the world for the better. It’s just that this military application happens to be the most lucrative and he just made wrong choice. But also having Michael Douglas be the person playing the father figure, that was very easy to sort of identify with wanting to get this approval. But as a youngish actor, I would like his approval.”
Q: Now that your character has become a toy, will you be collecting yourself?
Stoll: “I will, I hope I can get a discount. I’ll be buying multiple versions. I have the Lego set and that’s really cool.”
James shows him a mini half inch Yellowjacket toy that comes with a set he brought to the press junket. Stoll looks across the room and declares “That looks like a choking hazard!” The room erupts in laughter because when you say that to a room filled with parents we all can relate. “I’m about to have a baby so…” before he could finish his thought the room busts out in awws and he relaxes more and tell us about his plans for his unborn child.
Stoll: “We took the tests and found out that it is a boy – not that I wouldn’t have a girl play with the action figures. But my second thought after, you know, thank God he’s healthy was I’ll be able to play with my action figure with him. But we’ll have to manufacture our own action figure for my wife so that she doesn’t feel left in the dust.”
Q: Was there any hesitation at all about joining the Marvel Universe as the bad guy and not the good guy?
Stoll: “No. I had a general meeting with the executives at Marvel years ago, and that was the first thing I said I want to play a villain. It’s just so much fun being the villain. Frankly being the hero you end up being tied up longer, the contract tends to be longer. And while I had a wonderful experience and we’ll see, how it goes. Nobody stays dead in the comic book world. I would love to reprise this role if that happens. But staring down the barrel of a 7 Picture Deal or a 9 Picture Deal like some people did. That’s a big commitment and I don’t know if I was quite ready for that.”
Ant-Man opens in theaters on Friday, July 17th. Be sure to check it out opening weekend and come back tomorrow to ready my review of the movie. Remember folks this is a Marvel movie so stay after the credits for not one but two bonus scenes. Also check out my other #AntManEvent interviews with Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, the Antourage and come back next week for my interview with director Peyton Reed.