Marvel #AntMan Interview with Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly
Less than two weeks ago I experienced a first for me. I was invited to attend my first Marvel press junket with Disney and Marvel. I was beyond thrilled to be heading to L.A. for a third time, this time for the #AntManEvent. Our trip started with a screening of the movie Ant-Man, be sure to check back next week for my movie review. Oh and I should know you all know it’s a Marvel movie stay through the end of the credits (both sets of credits). Part of the trip included interviews with the cast of Ant-Man and our group of bloggers were beyond excited to be sitting down with these folks to talk to them about the movie. Our time with Paul and Evangeline was short but very informative. They both walked into the room to cheers, Evangeline was glowing (as you all now know she’s seven months pregnant). We were tipped off when we sat down for the interviews. At the time it wasn’t public information and Paul the gentleman he is pulled out her seat, waited for her to sit and then he took his seat. Both their faces beaming, because of the cheers and excitement.
“I think that female strength has many more dimensions. I think that a lot of our strength comes from our women’s vulnerability, our compassion, our maternal instincts, and I don’t think that those things should ever be labeled as weaknesses” – Evangeline Lilly
Paul made a joke about the room set up like a huge poker game and Evangeline shared she felt like we should be having a huge turkey spread. Then we jumped right into the questions. The first question was directed to Paul.
Q: You’re well known for your comedy roles, I know it may not be a big change but how is it different doing an action movie vs a comedy?
Paul: “I always felt like with, especially with Marvel movies, but just talking about this one, that it was going to be funny. They are good with levity. I mean, all their films have funny moments but they’re not necessarily straight up comedies. And, with this one I knew that the action was going to be really good. I knew the visuals were going to be crazy good.
But, I also knew that there’s the relationship that Scott Lang had with his daughter and that there’s the relationship that Michael Douglas has with his daughter and that this whole thing with parents and children, that was going to be really the thrust of the film. And that’s relatable and empathetic and something that you can hang the whole thing on. And that’s pretty dramatic.
So, that’s really what I kind of focused on, figuring you know, humor would be there in the end.”
Evangeline: “And that said, she laughs, he did not stop improving and cracking jokes through the entire process. There wasn’t one scene no matter how serious where you(referring to Paul) didn’t make me break character. And I kept asking him ‘what am I supposed to do with you do that? Do I riff with you? Do I shut up and let you do your thing?’ Like, I am so out of my element because you’re(referring to Paul) so comfortable in that comedic space and being the sweetest man alive as we all know, always.
I’m only preaching to the choir. Do you see their faces?
She turns the attention to us and the faces of the women in the room light up. There were lots of Paul Rudd fans in the room, he goushes a little and laugh. Their energy set the tone of the rest of the interview. It was lighthearted and fun, like chatting with old friends you haven’t seen in a while. They both when on to share how much they admired working with Michael Douglas and how he would improv on the set. Evangeline shared she was embarrassed that even Michael Douglas could riff and she couldn’t. Paul interjected re-assuring her that she was selling herself short.
Q: How fun was it to punch him in all those action scenes?
Evangeline: “Everyone asks me that. You know I didn’t really punch him, right? I didn’t actually punch him.”
Paul: “Movie Magic!”
Evangeline: “I loved the take that they kept in the film because of course you never know what they’re going to use and what’s going to end up on the cutting room floor and one of his improvs was when he said “were you aiming for the face or for the head?” I was so glad that it ended up in there ‘cause I love that line.”
Q: You are a great pair, even just sitting there, is that something that happened right away on set?
Evangeline: “Oh we fell in love…” she jokes.
Paul: “Yeah we got along right away.”
Q: I have fans that would like to know, for both of you actually, now you have this extra responsibility of superheroes in the Marvel universe, do you feel sort of the weight of that?
Paul: “You know, there’s certain things that if I think we stopped and really – I’ll speak for myself; but stop and think about it could be overwhelming. We don’t have any control over a lot of stuff so I just figure I’m going to focus on doing the part as best I can and, and let the other things just kind of happen the way they’re going to happen and hopefully I’ll be able to adapt.
I do realize and have continually been surprised by just how many people are interested. I guess not really surprised. I know how passionate the fan base is for Marvel films and, and these characters anyway. But it’s been a whole new experience for me, thrilling and maybe just a little bit overwhelming, a little bit.
He laughs while describing his feelings about being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but I think Paul knows all to well the weight on his shoulders to pull off this role. Naysayers are going to eat there words come July 17th, when everyone finally gets to see the film. After being able to screen the movie myself I can honestly say that no one could do this role justice like Paul.
Q: Evangeline, you worked with Paul and Adam with writing, in order to develop your character, do you feel like that it came out what you wanted as far as the girl power part of it?
Evangeline: “You know, it’s funny because actually the girl power part was not really my contribution. That was Marvel and the boys. I mean what guy doesn’t like a girl who can kick ass? They like to see that on screen, right? What I think is important is that woman, first of all be a woman and not a girl, and that she also have all the dimensions that a male character who can kick ass would also have. And I think a lot of the times what happens mistakenly in men’s very, very meaningful attempts to make strong women is they make them strong in the way that they relate to, which is wrong.
I think that female strength has many more dimensions than that and I think that a lot of our strength comes from our women’s vulnerability, our compassion, our maternal instincts, and I don’t think that those things should ever be labeled as weaknesses. I think that’s one of the things that I always look to put in and infuse these characters with, it’s the sort of moments where you suddenly realize underneath that very hard facade, underneath what she’s trying to project to the world because she feels she has to survive or she has to do what she needs to do is, you know -a little girl within all of us and even within Paul – there’s just a little girl.”
Paul: “It’s true, very true.”
Evangeline: “That needs love and wants to give love in order to receive love and I think that’s what we’re all doing. That’s the human predicament is how do we give unconditional love and just not losing sight of that.”
Q: Paul, what was your favorite ant?
Paul: “I have a very personal relationship with Anthony, which was something that we kind of put in the film and I think even giving him the name Anthony kind came around later and I thought like oh, could it be Anton? It was said early on when we were working on the script before we started shooting, like maybe if we give him a number?
Let’s call him Anthony and then it stuck and that idea that you can have a personal attachment to ants that you can see this film, especially kids, and really like say oh my God, ants are amazing and, and that one in particular, you develop a real fondness for Anthony, my favorite.”
Evangeline: “The Anthony moment, which I can’t– I’m not going to say more, we all know what it is but we’re not going to give it away to the crowd, but the Anthony moment was the moment in the movie where I was like “I love that man. Go GET ‘EM Ant-Man!”
The pair chatter back and forth about how to say the name Antony or Anthony? Then Paul shares that they had to decide on one name for consistency during filming because he was saying them both ways. We still haven’t figured if it’s Antony or Anthony, you can decide when you see the film opening weekend in theaters July 17th.
Q: I have a question actually about play things on the table and Evangeline, I believe you had a figure once before, right?
Evangeline: “Three for Lost”
Q: And Paul I believe this was your first project where you got a vast array of toys, correct?
Paul: “I have a Brian Fantana bobblehead”
Q: So are you going to start collecting yourself now or for your children?
Paul: “I was so excited to learn that there was going to be an Ant Man Lego set. I think that was the thing that I was most excited about. He starts fiddling with the Ant-man action figure in from of him – I’m sitting here meanwhile I’m playing with my legs. I think that I will collect some of this stuff, yeah. It’s pretty cool and by the way, I’m just sitting here looking like “I’ve never seen this thing.”
Q: What’s your most memorable moment?
Evangeline: “That’s the hardest question. I had a moment when I was doing a scene, a very intense emotional scene with Michael Douglas where um, for the first time since I had attached myself to the project, the penny dropped and I was like you know, I sort of read and I knew who was on and I was like great, good cast, everything’s good, things are coming together.
But I was thinking with an analytical mind of do I want to do this project or don’t I? And it wasn’t until I was working with him and witnessing the sort of magic that is the legend of Michael Douglas and what he brings to a film set and how he performs and what he does to the energy in the room when he performs that made me suddenly sit up and take notice and go, oh my God. I’d better bring it. I’m working with Michael Douglas and he’s a living legend and, and that was um, an honor.
Paul: “I never shook that feeling every single scene working with him, wow, this is– this is acting royalty.
But I remember the first time walking onto the set in the suit. And, the first time I ever put it on at a fitting was thrilling. And I felt like I was 10 years old. Every single time after that, it was whoa, I can’t believe this is so cool. And then we shot the scene where I discovered the suit uh, for the first time, I’d stand in the bathtub and I– that was the first time uh, putting it on when we were shooting it as well.
And to go from the tent, because there was a tent that I went into and had a small pit crew helping me get into it, walk on set and the camera department and everyone stopped and saw Ant Man for the first time was totally exciting. And I’ll always remember that.
Q: What do you think the main theme of the movie as far as the parent/child relationship?
Evangeline: “I think redemption really is, is a big theme in the film and I um, you know, I think redemption between father/daughter and the father/daughter relationship is, is the powerful theme that really anchors the film emotionally. That would be my stab at it.
Paul: “I like this idea that you know, we’re dealing with all of this craziness with a suit that shrinks you down and controlling ants and all this kind of stuff, and yet this constant thing with parents and children, whether it’s you know, with Michael or my daughter and me and Corey and Michael, um, that this is the, this is the stuff, this is what makes the movie more than just um, visual spectacle.
It’s the thing that I think everyone will relate to, you know, we’ve all had bumpy times or whatever in our, in whatever our relationship is, with our parent or our child and uh, that’s the stuff that I think people will relate to.”
Q: There’s that dynamic that opposites attract, what do you think that it was about your characters that made them attracted to each other and to work with each other?
Evangeline: “I think that in our lives, we all know often what our greatest pitfall is in our character and, we don’t know we’re doing this but I believe that we’re constantly drawing people into our life to help us deal with that thing and usually those people are the most unpleasant people for us to deal with because they bring to light that thing that you wish you could just push under the carpet and not think about, but you know you need to work on.
And I feel like for Hope, Scott coming into her life could not have more poignantly exasperated the issue of her need for control, to control everything, every little thing right down to her lipstick point and her haircut. He just is so loose and, and from her perspective he seems so out of control and I think that’s that rub that we draw to ourselves. She drew in that energy because she needed to face it and she needed to deal with it and I think it’s really appropriate that it’s the Scott Lang character who helps Hope to realize um, what’s truly going on in her relationship with her father, because she couldn’t see it for herself.”
Ant-Man opens in theaters on July, 17th. It’s a great family feature from Marvel that will have you laughing and at the edge of your seat.
Disclosure: I was provided an all expense paid trip to L.A. in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. Photo credit to Jana S. of Merlot Mommy.