When Paul Rudd revealed people laughed at him when he was cast as Ant-Man: ‘These characters are important’

Paul Rudd is 53, not that you would be able to guess his age by looking at him. He is often called the man who can’t (or won’t) age and there are even whispered rumours that he is a vampire (and his, um, sanguine diet is responsible for his appearance). Conspiracy theories aside, his striking good looks often tend to overshadow the fact that he is an incredible, charismatic actor.

Although earlier he was best known for romantic comedies, ever since he began starring in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, he has become Ant-Man and Ant-Man only, particularly for Generation Z.

A minor (literally and figuratively) superhero in comics, Ant-Man, due to Rudd’s casting and performance, writing and Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige’s commitment to even lesser-known characters from the canon, Ant-Man movies are extremely popular and critical and commercial successes.

But Rudd once revealed that when he was cast in the coveted role, he was laughed at and some even thought it was an elaborate joke. While speaking to fellow MCU actor Chris Evans as part of Variety‘s Actors on Actors series, Rudd said, “I would say, ‘I got this part, I’m playing Ant-Man,’ and then they would say, ‘Well what does Ant-Man do?’ I would say, ‘He can shrink to the size of an ant but he retains strength and he can also control ants and talk to ants.’ And people would laugh as I’d explain what the character does.”

He admitted that he is not the first person people would imagine when think of an actor playing a superhero. “I wanted to try and make a character, a superhero, who was kind of a regular person. The whole world of it, of superherodom, seemed overwhelming and it’s like, ‘What do you do with this?’ you know, to make it identifiable. These characters are important to many people and you want to treat them with respect and want to do the character a service. And certainly, the character – when he was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee and everyone at Marvel – has been around for a while,” he added.

Rudd debuted in MCU with 2015’s Ant-Man, a Peyton Reed directorial. It centred around a thief called Scott Lang (Rudd) who gets a suit that allows him to shrink to an insect-like size and becomes a superhero. He also joined the Avengers and supported Captain America’s faction in the Civil War. He played a key role in bringing back half of all living beings who were snapped out of existence by Thanos.

Rudd is currently filming the third Ant-Man film, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. The film also brings back Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne. Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas return as Hope’s mother Janet van Dyne, and father Hank Pym, respectively.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania releases on July 28, 2023.

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