(SPOT.ph) Expectations would surely run high, especially if you come on the heels of the massive success that is Avengers: Infinity War. But Paul Rudd seems to take it all in stride as one of the top billers in Marvel’s upcoming superhero movie, Ant-Man and The Wasp.
Rudd, who once again takes on the role of Scott Lang-slash-Ant-Man, didn’t look even the least bit surprised when a “Where were you?” was thrown at him, during the Southeast Asian promotional tour for the upcoming Ant-Man movie held June 12 in Taipei, Taiwan. The question was in reference to Infinity War, in which most superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe made an appearance.
“I remember going to see Infinity War and they do mention that I (as Ant-Man) was under house arrest; I was not able to leave,” Rudd begins. “I thought, ‘Okay, there we go, that explains it, I didn’t know that was coming,’” he ends with a chuckle.
Unlike Rudd’s admission, Evangeline Lilly—who reprises her role as Hope van Dyne, and plays the titular role of superheroine The Wasp for this installment—decides to crack a joke, much to the delight of the international press. “For the record, I was there, I was just tiny.”
Massive expectations and shrinking objects
It’s inevitable that they'd feel the pressure for Ant-Man and The Wasp to do well at the box office just like the last Avengers flick, but Lilly shrugs it off with humor when it's brought up during the roundtable interview. “If this movie flops, it’s my fault! He’s [Rudd] proven that he can make a movie a success!”
Rudd shakes his head in disagreement, saying that the only thing they could do is to hope for the best. “There is an innate pressure, that if we start thinking about it, we’ll collapse,” he admits.
“We’re coming right off the heels of Infinity War and while I think there are benefits to that too, because this movie has its own personality [and] while it exists in the world as a very different tone, it’s still a bit like trying to follow The Beatles in concert.”
Despite this, Rudd looks relaxed when asked these questions, which is impressive considering that he not only stars in the movie, he's also part of the writing team. When asked about who decides on what to shrink and what to make massive as seen in the official trailers, Rudd gives us an idea of what the creative process is like. “There’s a small team including Peyton Reed, our director, and Stephen Broussard, our producer, as well as Kevin Feige who runs Marvel. Everyone’s kind of adding their two cents and it turns into a very collaborative effort.”
He continues, “So many things evolve over time and eventually we go, ‘Oh, this would be kind of a cool scene, you know, a scene on the streets with cars, cars getting bigger.’”
And if you’ve seen the trailer, you might have spotted a humongous Hello Kitty Pez dispenser, which initially had different iterations.
“There was one we felt, ‘What if we threw a Captain America Pez?’ But that seemed a little too self-congratulatory.”
Rudd clues us in on what other practical objects would be, well, blown out of proportion. “We shrink some items that we didn’t see in the first one," he shares. “Common items, paper clips, things like that.”
The duo moves forward
Apart from everyday objects that will either be shrunk or enlarged, there are a lot of entertaining sequences to look forward to in the movie, made possible by the dynamic between the two actors. Rudd dismisses the idea of competition between him and his co-star, and instead shifts the conversation to the competition between the characters that they portray.
“In order for it to be fun to watch, we can’t be in competition. We’re supporting one another, and when we’re on set, we’re just having a really good time together,” he explains and adds:
“When the cameras roll, [it’s when] the insults fly!”
Lilly agrees, saying, “It’s fun to see how this relationship unfolds and I think there are things about Hope and Scott that complement each other well.”
And in this new installment, viewers will get to see not just that, but also new sides to both Scott and Hope. Scott tries to juggle being the best version of a superhero and being the best version of a parent to Cassie. On the other hand, Hope experiences a lot of “healing” and “growth” from where the first movie ended, having resolved so much of the emotional turmoil with her father. Add to that the realization of her lifelong dream: of becoming a superhero.
Ant-Man and The Wasp happens to be the first movie in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in which a female hero gets equal billing. This time around, Lilly dons a costume as the Wasp—with a superhero suit that she found so comfortable, she jokes about never taking it off—and teams up with Ant-Man himself in a new mission.
“I think it goes without saying [that] any one of the female heroines and superheroes in the MCU could rightfully have a standalone film, so I am just excited to be a part of that sisterhood,” Lilly shares during the roundtable interviews. “To represent, to be there in the bill for the first time... I hope that’s just the beginning of many, many more.”
Looking back, having a much larger part in the MCU wasn’t even something that both of them expected to happen at all. “All over the world there are people who care about these characters, invested in these characters, you want to see more of these characters,” Lilly starts. “That feels so special and surprising, something you would never expect in a million years that you would be a part of, so to be in that position where your name is in this title and these people are coming to the movie theaters to see that, that’s an incredible honor, it’s very special.”
Rudd shares the same sentiments. “To be a part of something that’s this huge and [something that] people are so interested in is overwhelming,” he declares, then adds, “It’s still a bit surreal; I don’t take it for granted; it’s pretty great.”
Ant-Man and The Wasp is out on theaters July 4.
Photos courtesy of Marvel Studios