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Posted July 22, 2015 by admin in Resource
 
 

Catatan Produksi Film Ant-Man (2015)


About the Production

The Marvel Cinematic Universe

In 2015 Marvel Studios continued its streak of pleasing fans and critics alike with the release of the box-office blockbuster sequel “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” The film opened to over $191 million at the box office and has gone on to gross more than $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office and counting.

In 2014 Marvel Studios released “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the top-grossing domestic film of 2014 with $333.2 million and $772.8 million worldwide. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which broke the opening record for an April release by earning $95 million in its first weekend, went on to gross more than $711 million worldwide.

In 2013 Marvel produced the megahits “Thor: The Dark World” and “Iron Man 3.” The two films have earned over $644 million and $1.2 billion worldwide, respectively, since their openings. In 2012 Marvel’s critically acclaimed “The Avengers” set an all-time, domestic three-day weekend box-office record at $207.4 million. The film went on to gross over $1.5 billion worldwide, becoming Disney’s highest-grossing global and domestic release of all time.

Completing the roster of films that make up the Marvel Cinematic Universe are the box-office hits “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2” and “The Incredible Hulk.”

President of Marvel Studios and “Ant-Man” producer Kevin Feige explains why Marvel has continued its unprecedented box-office success within its ever-expanding universe of characters. “For all of us at Marvel it’s always been about the characters and always making sure at the core of the film it is about being able to relate and connect to these amazing but flawed individuals,” says Feige. “We have been really lucky and grateful that audiences have continued to champion these characters and take the ride with them.”

He continues, “The other fun thing is we want our films to stand apart on their own, and we love that ‘Thor’ is sort of a science fiction fantasy film, and ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is an action-adventure science fiction film and that we have techno-thriller elements in the ‘Iron Man’ films. ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ is a 1970s political thriller and ‘Ant-Man’ is a heist film. So we don’t believe that the superhero film is a genre unto itself. We love taking subgenres and putting them together and then adding the superhero elements into other genres of film.”

Marvel Studios’ co-president Louis D’Esposito explains why it is critical to keep the Marvel Cinematic Universe moving forward in different directions. “We want each of our established franchises to feel fresh, but at the same time we also have to continue to introduce new characters and franchises into the mix,” says D’Esposito. “I think we have been really lucky in finding that balance, keeping things going in new directions as well as continuing to give audiences more of the franchises and characters they have grown to love. There are so many characters in the Marvel Universe, so it is fun when we get to take a new one from the comics to the big screen.”

The first step in the process of creating a new franchise was deciding how the story of Ant-Man fit into the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. Launching another character and franchise is a process that is aided by the goodwill of audiences earned over the years by producing successful films for fans and critics alike. “With the success of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ it showed us that audiences don’t have to be that familiar with the characters to embrace them if the movie’s good,” says Feige. “Audiences are ready for new material and when they see that Marvel logo, they know it is part of the Cinematic Universe. They may or may not know who those characters are, but they know what that logo stands for-something new, something reliably good, with quality, freshness and the unexpected. With ‘Ant-Man,’ we actually have the best of both worlds. It’s completely original and fresh and he is a founding member of The Avengers. We wanted to play with that history and backstory with Hank Pym and how the torch is being passed to Scott Lang and how they connect in this movie and in the future.”

 

Director on Board

Bringing the story and new franchise to the forefront of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is director Peyton Reed. A lifelong fan of Marvel films and comic books, Reed explains what he liked about the source material for the film: “Ant-Man is interesting because he was one of the original Avengers, which a lot of people might not know,” says Reed. “I also like that there is a passing of the mantle from Hank Pym to Scott Lang that sets up a great mentor-pupil dynamic between the characters. That’s a classic Marvel Comics dynamic and something that we really haven’t seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far.”

The director continues, “I’m the kid who grew up with silver-age Marvel comics and spent untold hours poring through them. I was always into the early Avengers comics with Ant-Man because there was a real mythology to them. They’re just amazing tales, and the stories that were created in that period have really stood the test of time. Marvel has always been great about updating these characters since they were created in the 1960s, but every decade has had its own version of these heroes.”

For director Reed the 2015 film incarnation of “Ant-Man” is one that will surprise audiences. “Ant-Man’ is an incredibly powerful character,” says Reed. “He can shrink down to a very tiny size and actually command these armies of different types of ants which on the face of it may seem like a silly power, but the great thing about the comics and the great thing about this story is you get to see what kinds of things a bunch of ants can get done and in what interesting ways they can help Scott.”

For the filmmakers, Reed was the perfect choice to direct Marvel’s “Ant-Man.” “I’ve been a fan of Peyton’s for a long time,” says producer Kevin Feige. “I have met and spoken to him many times over the years and we have always gotten along really well.

Peyton was always high on our lists, and so when this opportunity came up, he was someone who I thought would be great for this film. He really hit the ground running and infused some great new elements into the story and tone.”

Continuing, the producer adds, “Peyton understood the character from the start; he understood this world and you’ll never find a bigger fanboy than Peyton Reed. He and I connect on a very deep level when it comes to these kinds of films and to film history and to cinematic genres like this, which we both love. Peyton showed me something after he got the job; it was a drawing that he had done in high school for a punk band that he was in, and it was a pencil-drawn re-creation of ‘The Avengers #1,’ where each of the band members was a different Avenger. Sure enough, Peyton had drawn himself as Ant-Man when he was in high school, so that connection to it was very cool.”

Summing up, Feige says of his director, “Peyton and Paul Rudd hit it off, and he and Michael Douglas hit it off in a great way as well. He knows the genre and he’s a fan at heart, so he knew where we wanted to do things differently and why we wanted to do things differently. He was amazing in creating these ants as great characters. At the same time, he knows humor and how to have levity and not let it get too broad. ‘Ant-Man’ is one of the funniest films we’ve ever made. It’s also one of the most emotional films we’ve ever made, and the heart of that is Peyton guiding us through it.”

 

Casting Ant-Man

The themes of fatherhood, mentorship and abandonment play a big part in the relationships of the lead characters in Marvel’s “Ant-Man.” With the story of the film centering on Hank Pym and Scott Lang’s newfound partnership and relationship, the characters are grounded as they struggle with the everyday challenges of being a good father and mentor.

“We always felt that this story and film was a two-hander, in which an older character bestows the mantle to a younger character,” says producer Kevin Feige. “It’s right out of the comic books, and the older character, of course, is Hank Pym and the younger character is Scott Lang, and that relationship is really the story of this film.”

The producer continues, “Scott Lang is a good-hearted, good-humored man who has been put into a bind because of his past and he is desperately trying to make things right for his daughter, Cassie, whom he loves very much. He’s divorced from her mother because of his antics, but he just wants to do one more job to set things right and be able to support them and to be the father he believes he could be. Unfortunately, he believes the only way he can do that is through burglary. The house belongs to Hank Pym, who sets him up and gives him the opportunity to use his skills for the benefit of mankind.”

In casting the role of Scott Lang, the filmmakers chose Paul Rudd. For Rudd, joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe was an exciting prospect for the comedic actor. “Marvel’s track record with their films is amazing. The one thing that I have come to learn is that Kevin Feige is a mad scientist whose instincts in the genre are amazing and he inherently seems to always make the right decision,” says Rudd. “Everyone I’ve met at Marvel really loves what they do and they’re truly comic book fans. They know what they like about them and they know what other comic book fans like about them. They really care about the characters and story, first and foremost. I think that’s what makes it all work.”

Describing his role, Rudd says, “In the beginning of the film, my character Scott Lang has just gotten out of prison. He doesn’t know anything about Ant-Man and has nothing to do with Hank Pym. On the other hand, Pym singled him out and, quite aware of his notoriety, has been watching him with ulterior motives. He sets up a scenario where Scott has to resort to his old ways. He breaks into Hank’s house to steal some money to help pay child support for his daughter, the only person he really cares about. Unbeknownst to Scott, Hank has orchestrated the entire scenario. This brings Scott into Pym’s world where he can potentially teach Scott how to use the suit properly and steal something Pym really needs.”

For Rudd, the film also allowed him to exercise his writing skills by partnering with Adam McKay on a rewrite of the script. In doing so, the actor was also able to dig into the character in a much deeper way. “The one thing that being a screenwriter on ‘Ant-Man’ has done for me is that it just gives me much more of an insight into all of the characters,” informs Rudd. “I’m thinking about all of the characters’ motivations, story lines and how every decision my character makes affects theirs. So it gives me a much more comprehensive knowledge of the story, and I can immediately go to any scene and have a pretty deep understanding of it.”

For director Peyton Reed, having Rudd on board as Scott Lang was a great piece of casting. “One of the things that excited me most about ‘Ant-Man’ was having Paul Rudd in the lead role,” says Reed. “There’s nobody more likable than Paul Rudd, but this role re-contextualizes him a little bit as an ex-con and a master thief, which was really fun to me. If you know Paul’s work, he’s done plenty of comedy work, but he’s also done a lot of dramatic work in both film and stage and he’s an amazing actor. I think audiences are going to really enjoy seeing him in a type of role that he really hasn’t done before.”

Elaborating on the character, Reed offers, “Scott Lang committed a crime, did some time and now he’s out and trying to figure out what to do with his life. The other interesting thing about the character is while he was in prison his wife left him, and he also has a daughter. That dynamic is unique in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as we’re dealing with a lead character and hero who has a child and all that goes with parenthood. So what is really fresh in the film is that the character has some really tough decisions about what the rest of his life is going to be like and what kind of role he is going to play in his daughter’s life.”

Watching and mentoring Scott Lang in the story is Dr. Hank Pym. Inventor of the Pym Particle and founder of Pym Technologies, Hank has been forced out of his own company by his former protege and now CEO Darren Cross, who has taken over control of day-to-day operations. For Hank, also the inventor of the Ant-Man suit, finding the right person who can step in for him and use his technology for the good of mankind has become his top priority.

“One of the things I love about this film is there’s sort of this passing of the torch between the characters,” says Reed. “That’s exciting to me because you get this sort of generational thing where Hank Pym was once Ant-Man, but as time went on he discovered that his technology was going to be weaponized and used for a lot of bad things, so he decided the best thing was to sort of hide the technology away.”

The director continues, “But unfortunately it’s not completely in his control anymore, so Hank has got to devise a way to sneak into Pym Technologies and steal back his technology. He targets this guy Scott Lang who’s really a thief and maybe the last guy you’d think could pull off a thing like this. But Hank sees something in him and that’s part of the fun of the movie.”

For Michael Douglas, joining the cast of Marvel’s “Ant-Man” was something that made him very cool within his own household. He admits, “Before ‘Ant-Man,’ I had no career in my kids’ eyes. I’ve never done a picture as far as they were concerned. Two Academy Awards meant nothing. Now I’m cool. I am cool to my son and to his friends, too. This is the first time I’ve ever heard my kids say, ‘Can we go to the premiere?’ So they’re going to come.”

“When we started looking at casting lists for Hank Pym and we saw Michael Douglas’ name on it, Kevin, Brad Winderbaum and I all looked at each other and said, ‘Do you think we have a shot at getting Michael Douglas? Should we even try?’ Of course, we did and how exciting is that to have him part of this film,” explains executive producer Louis D’Esposito. “It takes some work, but the Marvel brand now is becoming synonymous with excellence because we’re telling great stories and we’re always going after the best actor possible. I worked with Michael in the past on ‘Basic Instinct’ and we know each other quite well. So he came in and met and the next thing you know he’s part of the Marvel family and it’s truly exciting to have him playing alongside Paul Rudd.”

Adds the director, “Michael Douglas’ career has spanned decades with so many different types of amazing roles. In this film his character has a rich amount of amazing baggage from his past that we wanted to play on. It’s a great reveal when you find out that there’s somebody watching and guiding Scott Lang toward this thing that turns out to be his destiny. The fact that Michael Douglas is the guy in control really takes it to another level and gives it the gravitas that we wanted.”

Douglas says that his character Hank Pym “has a sense of humor; he’s got a slight tongue-in-cheek attitude and likes to test people a little bit.” Continuing, he adds, “He’s obviously a brilliant scientist but combined with that he has military-like training in weaponry. Because of situations that exist, he is looking for a person who can take on his role and he picks a recent ex-convict, Scott Lang, and now he is going to teach him all the tricks of the trade of Ant-Man.”

For Paul Rudd, having a screen legend as his character’s mentor in the film was everything he thought it would be and more. “I was elated that Michael wanted to do the movie. When he signed, it was a great day for the film and comic book fans everywhere,” says Rudd. “When I was doing the rewrite with Adam McKay, I knew how great he was going to be in the film and I started imagining him in the part. I’ve been able in my career, which hasn’t really been all that long, to work with some legendary actors and he is one of those who are in that rarified-air category.”

As successful as Hank Pym has been throughout the years with his technology company, the one thing he has never seemed to master is his rocky relationship with his daughter, Hope van Dyne, played by Evangeline Lilly. “When Hank Pym was the Ant-Man, his wife was the Wasp and we worked together on a lot of secret missions for the government and others, taking care of a lot of bad guys,” says Douglas. “We had this daughter, Hope. Hope now is working for Hank’s old company Pym Tech, and she’s a very smart scientist, trained in the martial arts. As things get more difficult and tough, she involves herself more and helps him in terms of training Scott to become the new Ant-Man. Of course, it’s a role that Hope would have liked to have done because her mother was the Wasp and she is capable, so there’s frustration in the fact that Hank picked this yo-yo, an ex-con, to take over his Ant-Man role rather than his own daughter.”

For director Reed, the personal relationships and dynamics in the film were something he really connected to and wanted to explore deeper. “When Peyton came aboard, the thing that resonated the most with him was the idea that both Hank Pym and Scott Lang are struggling with their pasts and they weren’t the best fathers,” says co-producer Brad Winderbaum. “They weren’t able to provide in the way that they needed to for their daughters, and their life choices reflect that.”

Winderbaum continues, “Scott feels like he’s a good dad in the emotional sense, but he’s a terrible dad when it comes to actually providing a stable environment for his daughter. Hank has the opposite problem. He’s a brilliant scientist who started a successful business and has saved the world on many occasions, but is completely not equipped to provide for his daughter emotionally. Scott ends up shining a light on the real deep-rooted issues between Hank and his daughter, Hope van Dyne, who’s played by Evangeline Lilly.”

When Evangeline Lilly was first approached to lend her talents to the part of Hope van Dyne, she admits that she needed to do some research to get up to speed on Marvel. “I was not familiar with Marvel Comics or Ant-Man when I was first approached about the part, so I had to do some homework,” says Lilly. “I watched some Marvel films because I was completely ignorant of the incredible things that they were doing. I discovered that they are very talented with story and character and they know how to put on a spectacle. Then, when I was doing screen tests, they started showing me pre-vis material of Ant-Man and the ants in action. Once I saw it with my own eyes, I suddenly realized how cool this movie was going to be.”

Lilly also responded to the fractured relationship between Hank Pym and his daughter Hope, feeling that the bond was both grounded and relatable. “One of the main themes that I loved in the story and script was the father/daughter issues that are prevalent throughout the entire film,” says Lilly. “I just don’t know if there’s anyone in the world who can say that they are completely above father/daughter issues. There’s just always stuff to be mined there because the relationship between a parent and a child is so complex and it lends itself to so much wonderful, relatable material within those story lines.”

For director Peyton Reed, Evangeline Lilly was the perfect choice to play the strong female lead of Hope van Dyne. “I’ve always been a fan of Evangeline’s, and I think in this film with her as this dynamic, multidimensional character, audiences are going to get to see a really different version of her,” informs Reed. “She’s been kind of rough and tough in her previous films, but in ‘Ant-Man’ she really gets to be a badass. Hope van Dyne is someone you don’t want to mess with. She knows martial arts, she’s incredibly smart and she looks amazing. The character also has a big arc in the film and there is a whole other side of the character that women will be able to relate to as well.”

For Lilly, Hope van Dyne represents a strong female character and a good example for girls. “It’s a huge motivating factor for the choices I make as an actress and the things I do publicly as an actress,” says Lilly. “I do feel very strongly that the reason why you need female characters in movies like this is because you have females going to watch the film, whether they are children, teenagers, adults or seniors. They need to be represented, and the best compliment I ever get about any of the roles I’ve done is to have a parent come to me and say, ‘My little girl just idolized that character.’ I know in my heart that I gave her a character to idolize and that I didn’t somehow let her down or misrepresent women. Having a child of my own now has made me excited to create entertainment for the whole family and to put something out there that is good entertainment for children and either teaches them something, has moral lessons or gives them heroes that are worth looking up to.”

In the process of pushing her own father out of Pym Technologies, Hope has also grown closer to and supported Darren Cross, her father’s former protege who is currently calling the shots at Pym Technologies. “The Darren Cross character, played by Corey Stoll, created a lot of room for dimension in all of the different relationships,” says Lilly. “Hank and Hope’s relationship has just been difficult for so long and there is a lot of animosity within Hope’s relationship with Scott Lang and she thinks he’s useless and wishes he wasn’t around. But Darren Cross is a complicated man with complicated emotional issues. Hope has known him for so many years that the question always remains is she really on his side and does she really care about him. I was thrilled when Corey Stoll was cast because he is such a consummate and incredible actor who always manages to bring so many layers to every performance that he gives.”

“Darren and Hope both have similar relationships to Hank,” says Corey Stoll. “Hank is obviously Hope’s real father, but he’s very judgmental and difficult to deal with, and they both share that resentment yet at the same time that desire to try to impress him as well. So they scheme and orchestrate a hostile corporate takeover of the boardroom and kick out Hank. They’re now at the center of this company and becoming very intimate and I think Darren reads a lot more into that intimacy than Hope does.”

According to producer Kevin Feige, Marvel filmmakers had seen Corey Stoll in a number of productions, particularly in “House of Cards,” and were impressed. “Whenever we see great actors, we think how great it would be to find a place for them in our universe,” says Feige. “As we were putting together the idea of Darren Cross, Corey’s name started popping up again, because like all of our villains, Darren Cross is somebody who’s very driven, who doesn’t think he’s the villain, and who believes that he’s doing something that’s going to better the world. So with Darren Cross we wanted somebody who could make you understand why he’s doing what he’s doing and you can understand that, in fact, he feels betrayed by Hank Pym, his former mentor, who won’t tell him the truth. We felt Corey was a perfect fit to bring Darren Cross to life on screen.”

Adds director Peyton Reed, “To have Corey be the villain in this movie is great. He’s grounded but he’s also able to be this oddball, very confused character. The thing I didn’t know about Corey before we started this is that he is a rabid comic book nerd. I would not look at Corey Stoll and think he spent his time reading comic books, but he does and he can talk specifically about all of these characters. So it was great to have a villain who understood what it took to be a compelling villain but also wanted to make it grounded.”

Offering an overview of his character, Stoll says, “Hank Pym found Darren Cross at a very young age and took him under his wing. Darren spent a lot of time at Pym Technologies growing up and he got a whiff of this other life that Hank Pym was leading as Ant-Man and the incredible technology to be able to shrink to half-an-inch tall. Darren became enthralled and obsessed with it and wanted to pursue it, but Hank decided to leave all that behind when he realized the Pandora’s Box that the technology would open.”

The actor continues, “So Hank, who is not the warmest father figure possible, shut him out of it, which really broke Darren’s heart. Darren has this idea that he needs to be a larger-than-life figure, but he just keeps falling short. When I read the script, I thought it would be a really fun character to play because you have that dynamic of this very scared little boy inside a very boastful industrial captain who is running the ship full steam ahead trying to pursue the Pym Particle technology and Ant-Man suit. In a lot of ways, he is the anti-Tony Stark. They both share a genius and are incredibly ambitious with serious daddy issues, but Darren Cross really is a 13-year-old boy at heart when it comes down to it.”

When Scott Lang gets out of prison for what he hopes to be the last time, he reconnects with his old friend and former cellmate Luis, played by Michael Pena. Affable, loyal Luis is a good friend but still has dreams of making the heist of a lifetime-with help from trying-to-go-straight Scott. This dynamic leads to some great humor between the characters, but as producer Kevin Feige relates, there is more to Luis than meets the eye. “We meet Luis at the beginning of the film,” says Feige. “He’s a lot of fun and provides what you think is some of the best comic relief of the movie. But over the course of the film, by the end, you see him step into this role of heroism. And one of the themes of the movie is when people believe in you, it inspires you to do the right thing.”

Director Peyton Reed adds, “I really liked the notion of honor among thieves or this idea of being ‘thick as thieves.’ There’s this bond that Scott and Luis have from being cellmates in prison. If you can survive that and go through that, you can do almost anything. It’s very telling that when Scott finally gets out of prison, the one guy who shows up for him there is Luis. Michael Pena plays Luis, and whatever has happened to this guy in his life-and bad things have happened to him in his life-he is relentlessly optimistic and enthusiastic, which are endearing qualities for a character. That was an important element and was something that Michael and I talked about bringing to that character.”

“Luis is Scotty’s best friend from jail and they both got there in different ways,” says Michael Pena. “Luis is a street criminal while Scott is a white-collar criminal. They were cellmates and became buddies because Luis protected Scott in jail and in return he taught Luis about pulling off heists. So when he gets out of prison and realizes that it’s not easy for an ex-con to get any kind of job, Scott becomes part of a job that Luis has gotten an inside tip on. So they put a team together that includes Scott as well as two new guys, Dave and Kurt, who are both experts in their own fields.”

The humor that provides the backbone emanates from the characters and the actors who portray them, and it is especially evident in the comedic energy between Michael Pena and Paul Rudd. “I’m a huge Michael Pena fan,” comments Reed. “I think I’ve seen everything he’s done, but I did not quite know what a comedic sharpshooter he is. He is a secret weapon in this movie. He is really funny, and he and Rudd together particularly are great.”

Pena admits that working on his first Marvel film was “a little nerve-wracking in the beginning because these are great story lines that connect in the Marvel Cinematic Universe; they’ve created their own universe so it’s like being asked to join a club, but a club that’s really awesome.”

He adds, “What was cool for me is that they added more scenes for my character and that egged me on to do my best job. That’s the difference with Marvel; they will change things up when they have ideas or when someone is bringing something to the character.”

While Scott Lang is a very loving father to his daughter, Cassie, he has fallen very short in providing a stable home and life for her and his ex-wife, Maggie, due to the life of crime that he has led. When he is away at prison, Maggie finds a more stable partner in Jim Paxton, played by Bobby Cannavale, a local police officer who keeps Scott on a tight leash after he returns from his latest incarceration.

For Cannavale, the opportunity to be in a Marvel Super Hero film was something that caught him off-guard. “I was really surprised to get the call because I had never done a Super Hero film like this before,” says Cannavale. “I was also simultaneously thrilled because Paul Rudd is one of my closest friends.”

The actor continues, “I knew about the Ant-Man character as a kid and I always wondered if they were ever going to get to that character in a film because he’s sort of responsible for putting together The Avengers. When I read this script, what I liked the most was that it wasn’t just about being a Super Hero flying around and doing crazy stuff, it was also about real characters with real-life problems and relationships.”

In the film, Officer Paxton is not thrilled that he has to deal with Scott and his unpredictable track record with Maggie and Cassie. “Paxton has formed this great little home for Maggie and Cassie and he’s devoted to them both and is pretty intent on keeping their home a safe place for the girls,” explains Cannavale. “It’s important to Paxton that Scott keeps whatever nonsense he’s involved in away from the new family that he’s trying to solidify. Paxton’s arc is pretty clear, and he comes off in the beginning of the film as somebody who’s pretty adamant at following the rules in the service of protecting his family, but he comes to figure out that people aren’t always what they appear to be and that sometimes situations can be very complicated if you don’t see all of the moving parts.”

For Maggie, played by Judy Greer, her daughter Cassie’s happiness is her number one priority, and when Scott comes back from his latest stint in prison she is not happy to see that he is reverting back to his old ways again. “In the beginning of the film, Scott comes around after getting out of prison for an unannounced visit with his daughter and he hasn’t gotten a stable job and hasn’t paid child support and Maggie is really frustrated with him,” explains Greer. “She gives him an ultimatum like, ‘If you don’t get your life together, then you can’t see your daughter anymore,’ so that’s really the impetus that drives Scott to try and make something of his life outside of stealing things.”

The actress continues, “Despite their divorce, they are friends and they’re emotionally supportive of each other. Scott is not trying to win her back and she’s not pining for him. They have a really cool relationship, which was something that I really liked when I read the script because it wasn’t that typical ‘I wish we were together’ scenario that you normally see in these situations. It doesn’t feel like Paxton is a runner-up to Scott. Maggie truly has moved on and I like that because it makes for a stronger character to play.”

“There are so many different ways to play a scene,” says executive producer Louis D’Esposito. “Judy Greer is really good at bringing whatever her character’s going through and giving it a different kind of delivery, which turns the scene a little bit on its head and makes it a little more interesting than what it appears to be on the page. When you can get that from your supporting cast in a film it really adds so many more layers and great moments to the film.”

Comments Kevin Feige, “We were so lucky when Judy Greer agreed to join us as Scott’s ex-wife and Bobby Cannavale agreed to join us as his ex-wife’s new husband, who is also a police officer, which leads to conflict between he and Scott in a fun way. But we didn’t want it to be over the top; we wanted it to be fun and have fun with the conflict between them, but also for it to be quite real. When you have actors like Judy Greer and like Bobby Cannavale, that’s what helps ground it, so you have all these other amazing, Marvel-level sci-fi elements and comic book elements, but at the same time keeping that emotional underpinning there.”

Rounding out the group of ex-cons is Dave, played by Tip “T.I.” Harris, and Kurt, played by David Dastmalchian. “We all met in prison and now that we’re out, we’re all trying to get our lives straightened out and on the right path,” says T.I. “My character Dave’s specialty is transportation, navigation and contingency plans. So when the first plan doesn’t work, Dave is always quick to think of something that can be done to ensure that all is not lost.”

The actor continues, “One of Dave’s main responsibilities is taking care of the surveillance van. It starts out as a not-so-glamorous vehicle and it turns into just a not-so-glamorous vehicle. But it is the perfect van for surveillance in that it doesn’t draw a lot of attention and it has the room for all of our equipment and space that we can all occupy. I treat it with extreme care so it stays in good shape and running well.”

Describing Kurt, David Dastmalchian says, “Kurt is very talented with computer hacking and he has been in the United States for some time and spent some time in prison at which point he became friends with Luis. Now he’s out and he’s trying to do something positive with his skills, but he is not having a lot of luck with the job market. Kurt is a very fun character who is part of this really cool gang of knucklehead criminals that are trying to turn themselves around. I love Michael Pena, and getting to play with T.I. and obviously Paul is just an awesome opportunity.”

For Dastmalchian, the role also required him to speak with a Russian-American accent, which he picked up quickly thanks to his neighbor in Los Angeles. “I have this neighbor in Los Angeles and her family is Russian. They have the same dialect that I wanted for Kurt, so instead of using the more traditional method of getting a voice coach, I just started hanging out with her family and had dinners with them and just listened to the way that they all talked. Sometimes if I got stuck on something on set, I just called her and asked her how your dad would say, ‘I am moving the van,’ and she would tell me.”

Also in the talented group of actors are Abby Ryder Fortson as Maggieand Scott’s daughter, Cassie, and Wood Harris as Gale, Paxton’s partner.

 

Ant-Man Comes to Life

Although Marvel’s “Ant-Man” was principally shot in Atlanta, production actually kicked off in San Francisco, which would serve as the backdrop for the film. With Pym Technologies being a high-tech company, San Francisco and its Silicon Valley seemed like natural fits in the story. It also allowed the filmmakers to shoot in a city that has not been seen before in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“‘Ant-Man’ is a very different kind of a Marvel film,” explains producer Kevin Feige. “This is very much a Marvel film set within the heist genre. San Francisco is an amazing city visually, and when you think of the great films that have taken place here in the past, it just felt like a great convergence of a new idea for a genre, a new city, and all the new characters in the world of Scott Lang and Hank Pym.”

It is in San Francisco where Luis’ ever-evolving van is first introduced. Production designer Shepherd Frankel comments, “Doing a vehicle as a character piece is always fun. Luis’ van actually has a character arc to it in a way because it changes through the course of the story.”

He continues, “Luis’ van goes through three phases, which we call the Mark 1, the Mark 2 and the Mark 3. The Mark 1 is the van that Luis uses to pick up Scott, Paul Rudd’s character, at prison. Luis is really proud of this van, but we see it as less than fancy. We later see the Mark 1 outside of Luis’ apartment in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco and it fits perfectly into that set and the whole character of Luis.

“The second phase, the Mark 2 van, gets enhanced a little bit. All of the criminals accessorize it for the gig, adding bigger mirrors so you can see who is coming and going and side boards for fast ins and outs. The Mark 3 is geared up for the Pym Tech heist, where they’ve actually taken the entire van and painted it and accessorized it to look like a Water & Power utility vehicle, ” concludes Frankel.

Following San Francisco, the production settled into Pinewood Studios’ newly built facilities in Atlanta and Marvel’s “Ant-Man” became the very first movie to film there.

Frankel and his team jumped right in by utilizing the brand-new soundstages to create the interiors of Hank Pym’s house, the Victorian exterior of which was shot in San Francisco. In creating the interior, Shepherd tailored it to fit Hank Pym’s character. “In our story Hank Pym, a scientist, a physicist, an engineer, has lived without his wife for about 20 years and he raised his daughter here, so the detail of this beautiful home has been taken over by the study and scholarship of Hank Pym,” says Frankel.

Frankel and his team re-created the classic Victorian interior with furniture, moldings, wallpaper, fireplaces and even stained glass, but Frankel carefully integrated Hank’s interests for an eclectic, bachelor look. “Some of the classic furniture from the Victorian era has been mixed with mid-century furniture,” relates Frankel. “Some of the house has been taken over by Hank Pym’s interests, and some of the things that we’ve integrated into the house are miniatures to suggest that Hank has tested out the Pym Particles, which are responsible for shrinking our character into Ant-Man. Now Pym Particles have been developed over years and taken a lot of time, so we’ve seen some of these pieces being shrunk and integrated into his day-today activity.”

Frankel adds, “Great examples of some of the miniatures that really tie into the character and the culture of Hank Pym are weapons, a guitar, a violin and cello and a harp. These speak to his worldly travels and adventures plus his education and culture and sophistication.”

In addition to a main floor set, Frankel created an upstairs bedroom area and a basement. The basement is where Pym works on his experiments and where he created the Ant-Man suit that is stored in an 1897 vault, made from the same steel that built the Titanic. There is also a gym in the basement, which serves as the training ground for Hope to teach Scott Lang martial arts.

One of the most unique features of the basement is the secure room. The secure room contains Pym’s lab and it is built like a bomb shelter in that it resembles a corrugated metal tube. What’s behind the locked door is fascinating, as Frankel points out: “Behind the door is the history of the Ant-Man suit and a series of molds and pieces. We have a 3D printer; we’ve got a monitor; we’ve got the science of Pym Particles; we’ve got light tables and blueprints. There is a featured piece where we’ve put an oversized scale piece of the engineering and science behind the Ant-Man helmet so Hank Pym could work out all the wiring and technology on a larger scale. When he builds it, he can shrink it down to human size.”

An interesting visual in the secure room is Pym’s training ground for the ants. “Pym understands and studies ants,” explains Frankel. “He studies ants here like the Paraponera clavata, the Camponotus, the Solenopsis, and there are actual ants inside a vertical ant farm that we created.”

In addition to hosting Frankel’s highly detailed sets, the stages of Pinewood Atlanta also served up another first: the first time the cast and crew would get to see Paul Rudd in his full Ant-Man suit. For Rudd it was a thrill to finally step into the red-and-black suit of the character. “I went through many fittings for this suit, which is very deceptive in its complexity,” explains Paul Rudd. “Not just the number of parts but how certain things work. How the pieces of the shoulders can move when I lift up my arm, for example. It’s really exceptional craftsmanship, and when I put it on for the first time I stood differently and I couldn’t get over the fact that I was in the Ant-Man suit. The first thing I thought of was, ‘Wow, I know there are a lot of people right now that would like to see what this thing looks like,’ and that was really cool. I felt like I was trespassing a little bit. Seeing something I wasn’t supposed to.”

“When Paul first walked on set in the Ant-Man suit, I said to myself-and I’m biased- but I think it’s the most badass suit in the Marvel Cinematic Universe,” declares director Peyton Reed. “The great thing about it is you feel the history of that suit. It’s got battle damage on the helmet and you look at that suit and think of all the stuff Hank Pym probably went through in that suit. It’s so detailed and you look at it and it really makes sense. You feel like you can figure out how that would work and how this spreads the Pym Particles around. It’s very plausible.”

Kevin Feige adds, “You never lose that rush of seeing the actor for the first time in the finished version of the costume. I love visual effects and I love all the work that our team does through post-production to make the movies look the way they do, but it’s more fun when the heroes are there on set with you walking around. Ant-Man was one of those rare opportunities where the hero is there the whole time. Other than the mask opening and closing, which we did digitally, it’s all real and it looks amazing.”

Rudd explains the power of the Ant-Man suit and how it works. “The suit is a mechanism that allows a person to shrink down to the size of an ant,” explains the actor. “It isn’t that Scott has superpowers or Hank Pym has superpowers, but it is the Pym Particles that run through an intricate system of veins throughout the suit and the helmet. It’s also very protective because the particles are volatile and change the distance between atoms. When you shrink down in the suit, you actually exceed the strength of a normal person because energy and mass compacted create a more powerful force. So part of the training that I had to learn was how to harness that kind of power. If I punch somebody and I don’t know how to punch them properly, I could kill them. It’s like a bullet, so learning the nuances and how to use that power takes some work.”

So what happens when Scott Lang dons the Ant-Man suit? He can instantly shrink down, but when he does, his power grows exponentially. As the director explains, “Ant-Man becomes very dense when he’s small, so I could be a bad guy sitting here holding the gun on somebody and suddenly- ‘Wham!’-something flies in and knocks my tooth out. It’s Ant-Man flying through the air and launching into my tooth with the full power of a guy actually punching me. So that’s something new and interesting. He’s like a bullet and you don’t see him coming.”

Reed adds, “The other thing about him is that it’s not just a matter of he shrinks and he’s done; he can change sizes very quickly, like in the middle of a fight sequence. Part of his power is keeping the enemy off-guard because he can change sizes with this suit at will.”

 

Building A Super-Hero Suit

Costume designer Sammy Sheldon Differ and head suit designer Ivo Coveney were tasked with designing and creating from scratch all of the practical Ant-Man suits that Paul Rudd and the stunt team would wear.

“When I was first approached to do a test shoot over two years ago, we were given a design for the suit and helmet and were asked if we could do it in four weeks,” recalls the costume designer. “I looked at the drawing and thought the first thing I need is to bring on Ivo Coveney, who has virtually done all of these types of films that I’ve worked on. Between us we decided what we could achieve in that first test given the short lead time, and we put all of our energy into the helmet so we could get a good idea for Marvel of what that could be.”

Following a successful test shoot of the helmet and suit, Differ and Coveney began the long process of designing and building the Ant-Man suit and helmet for the film itself. The first step in the process was deciding on the style and materials that would comprise the suit design. “Because the Ant-Man suit was supposed to have been made in the ’60s, Sammy and I were very keen on trying to make it have an older vintage feel,” explains Coveney. “I’ve deliberately left screws showing how some things are put together because we just felt that it needed to have a strong retro look, but still look cool and modern, which is quite a difficult thing to achieve.”

“For the suit in general, the consensus from the filmmakers was that the leather route was great for the basis of the suit,” adds Differ. “We knew from the test shoot that one of the main problems was going to be how to get the tubes fixed to the outside surface of the suit so they didn’t buckle away when Paul was wearing the suit. So we had to do a lot of research and development into the suit and the environment surrounding it.”

Differ and Coveney, whenever possible, also tried to keep the design as close as they could to the source material and concepts they received from Marvel’s visual development team, headed by Ryan Meinerding. “We tried to keep very faithful to what Marvel had given us because that’s ultimately the goal,” explains Differ. “We also did a lot of research into insects and how we could re-create those feelings from the concepts. Some of the elements we were able to nail exactly and others had to be tweaked because there would be a person actually wearing the suit and having to move around in it every day. For example, the original helmet has this mandible that goes around the jawline when it’s open. We had to move it a bit from that position or you wouldn’t be able to see Paul’s face. So you always keep those comic influences in the back of your mind when you’re doing that, but it also needs to work graphically and have a good feel in the light as well.”

One of the biggest challenges for Coveney was building and perfecting the helmet, which gives Ant-Man the power to control armies of ants. “When you look at the costume and the concept art as we were given, it looks fairly straightforward, but then when you start breaking it down you start to see just how many circuits there are for lights, you see how much the belt needs to move and all the parts of the helmet as well and you start to say this is not as simple as it looks. In fact, it is one of the more complicated suits built for Marvel because everything needed to work practically in this suit and helmet and that became a daunting task.”

Coveney continues, “For example, the way that the respirator had to sit on Paul and the way it was drawn basically made me realize that the helmet was going to have to be made in many different individual components. Believe it or not, each helmet has 54 different pieces to it as well as 10 LED lights. Then obviously there are all the nuts and bolts and you also have your lining inside the helmet as well, so at the end of the day you’re well over 60 individual components just for each helmet.”

For Rudd the “Ant-Man” helmet was one of his favorite components. “When Ivo showed me the helmet and we started trying it on, I thought back to when I first saw the Stormtrooper helmets when I was a kid and I was just like, ‘That’s the coolest helmet ever,'” recalls Rudd. “I had that same feeling with the Ant-Man helmet. I thought ‘Wow, the shape of the eyes and the way it slopes and all the wires in the back, there’s something just really cool about it.’ I know if I were a little kid, I’d be drawing that helmet a lot.”

The intricate details of the suit and amount of work that went into it were equally as impressive. “It doesn’t look incredibly complicated to the naked eye when you look at the suit because it’s a lot of leather and it seems like a vintage motorcycle suit,” says Rudd. “But what’s actually happening in that suit, and the number of pieces in the backpack, is crazy. It’s also all wired so that the whole suit, including the gloves and belt, can light up. So there are hundreds of pieces and it takes about 20 minutes to get in and out of it. I need a small pit crew to help me.”

For Coveney, lighting up the suit proved to be one of the biggest challenges in the design. “In each suit there are over 159 LEDs to light up all the pieces that we needed,” says Coveney. “We also needed to allow adjustability for each piece in case the director of photography wanted us to adjust lights down at any point. That’s doable, but the place where we had to put all the circuitry and battery was a very small backpack, which had a very limited amount of space. We made it work. All 13 suits, all 17 helmets, all of the belts and gloves, they all lit up by remote. They did exactly what was required and it really was quite a sense of accomplishment for our team and myself.”

Wearing the Super Hero suit on a daily basis was something that Paul Rudd had not experienced before. The actor describes how he kept his cool inside of the Ant-Man suit. “The only downfall of how cool the suit looked was that it didn’t breathe much,” explains Rudd. “But to their credit they knew that and prepared for it, so it wasn’t too bad. They built cold packs into the suit and they would hook a hose up to the back of the suit to cool you off. But who needs that when you’re filming in Georgia in August? Thankfully, we mostly shot on soundstages during the first part of the schedule and they kept those things like a meat locker.”

For Differ and Coveney, Rudd’s easygoing nature was a blessing for them and their team. “I think we’ve been quite lucky because the way we’ve constructed the Ant-Man suit, he can do quite a lot in it,” says the costume designer. “Paul adopted the attitude, ‘I’m in the suit, so I’m staying in it.’ By the end of the shoot we could get Paul in or out of the suit in about 15 minutes, which is quite brilliant. He’s really patient and he loved wearing it and it hasn’t been that difficult for him to be in it for a length of time.”

When all was said and done, Differ and Coveney, along with their talented team of artists, constructed 13 Ant- Man suits, 17 helmets, 17 belts, 8 pairs of gloves, 15 backpacks, 6 pairs of shoes, 15 balaclavas and 14 necklaces that go on the balaclava.

The filmmakers were all equally impressed with the pair’s work and the remarkable execution of everything that was asked of them, which is reflected up on the screen. Producer Kevin Feige praises, “The costume department on this movie was great and it was a challenge. With the Iron Man suit, there are parts of it that are practical, but it’s primarily something that we built later in post, digitally. The Ant-Man costume is not that. The Ant-Man costume is actually a piece of wardrobe that the costume department did an amazing job putting together. Paul Rudd, through numerous fittings, finally was able to wear it with pride, and he looked incredibly cool in it.”

While Differ and Coveney brought the practical Ant- Man costume to life for the film, the Yellowjacket suit that Darren Cross develops in the film took another path to get on the big screen. “We had a concept very early on for Yellowjacket, and I spent a long time trying to make sense of where the arms go and how they move,” explains Coveney. “We did a fitting with Corey Stoll, but then it was decided to go more the ‘Iron Man’ route where visual effects would create it. So for visual effects we built a full-size body from the waist up. We did that the old-fashioned way; we did a mold of it and painted it and made the helmet and a version of the mechanical arm. None of that’s going to be on film, but it’s really helpful for the visual effects at the end of every shot to roll film on it so they get a lighting reference.”

For Corey Stoll, although he didn’t have to wear the physical Yellowjacket suit, he still had to perform all of the action as if he were in his character’s new invention. “Darren Cross creates a malevolent version of the Ant- Man suit called Yellowjacket,” explains director Peyton Reed. “It is extremely lethal, and like the Ant-Man suit, can be shrunk down to small sizes. So basically I could come to you and hand you a small box and suddenly an army of Yellowjacket suits could spring out of it. The real- world implications in terms of military and world security are not good if the technology fell into the wrong hands.”

“The Yellowjacket suit is much more armored than the Ant-Man suit and it can withstand bullets,” adds Corey Stoll. “It also can fly and has these articulating arms that can shoot plasma rays and has all sorts of sensors and infrared vision and all that fun stuff.”

Playing the character also required Stoll to spend some time in the stunt gym practicing for the action sequences in the film. “The wire and stunt work was a lot of fun because I don’t usually get to do that,” says Stoll. “Another interesting thing was the motion capture, which was about getting the motion of the movements down and feeding as much physical vocabulary into the computers. And then there was the part where you’re shooting against the background just for my eyes because that’s the part that you can see through the mask.”

 

Creating Ant-Man’s Perspective

One of the things that was most important to director Peyton Reed was realizing that at its core Marvel’s “Ant- Man” is a shrinking movie. “There’s a long history of cinematic movies from ‘The Incredible Shrinking Man,’ ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’ and just on up,” says Reed, “but this had to be 2015’s version of a shrinking movie, and by that it means the bar is very, very high in terms of technology. It’s got to look photorealistic. We have to believe that he’s shrinking and part of that is what are the methodologies? How are we going to do this? It used to be that you’d bring in the giant pencil or the giant baseball, but we didn’t use any of that in the movie.”

Describing the technologies employed on the film, Reed continues, “We used a combination of motion-picture macro photography; still macro photography; motion capture with the actors; motion capture with the stunt people; and then for every set we would build these miniature sets, called macro sets. Because if you’re down small with Ant-Man and he’s running across a floor or running through a carpet, I wanted to feel those textures and make it really tactile. So that became the mantra: make it as photorealistic as possible. Using the technology the way we do, we have the resources to make all those surfaces tactile and real but we can still move our camera around as much as possible, and that’s the big technological revelation of the movie that sets it apart from all the other ‘shrink’ movies.”

Producer Kevin Feige points out that advancements in camera technology made the difference in creating the realism. “There are amazing advancements that everybody knows about in computer technology, but there have also been amazing advancements in camera technology and the lenses capable of capturing tiny, tiny images,” explains Feige. “So on a lot of big movies you have a first unit, you have a second unit, you have a stunt unit. On this movie we had what we called the macro photography unit, where we spent weeks and weeks filming the tiniest details within bank vaults, within ATM machines, within bathtubs, within the tile work of bathrooms, within the tiniest of pipes, the areas between a first floor and a second floor in buildings. We had cameras that were full 4K digital cameras but had lenses that could scope through and capture these things. So much of that was not only reference for us for the VFX sequences, but we actually would put Paul into those environments after we captured them. Again, that adds a level of realism that you’ve never seen before on that scale.”

Nevertheless, Reed and his teams encountered some challenges along the way. “What we ran into were a lot of the same issues that the comic-book artists who drew Ant-Man back in the day had. Having him small in the frame is always really exhilarating but having the points of reference for size in every frame is really important,” explains the director. “We discovered some things along the way, like if you shoot Ant-Man in a medium shot, it’s very different because now he just seems regular-size in relation to the camera. We were constantly challenging ourselves about, ‘Does he seem small enough in that? Are we buying that?’ Part of it is sort of tricking the viewers’ minds when they’re watching it by having all these things like dust motes appear large. When he’s down small, there’s dust everywhere, but when you’re small these huge dust particles float around you. We also did a lot of research in terms of what light does when you shrink down. For instance, a light that just lights a room or an area normally would be a massive wash of light for Ant-Man.”

One of the most exciting things about Ant-Man is that his perspective shifts very quickly. To bring the audience into that, the filmmakers created an immersive experience for the audience so that they feel as if they are to scale in Ant-Man’s world. “If a flying ant comes down, it’s almost like a Black Hawk helicopter coming down and you are really going to be in the middle of this action,” says the director.

The scale of the action when Ant-Man is in shrinking mode fascinated Corey Stoll, who says, “It’s inventive and playful in this incredible Rube Goldberg invention sort of thing where the conceit of shrinking suddenly opens up this whole world of different environments to fight in. They echo larger environments, so when Scott’s inside of a computer, it suddenly looks like Tokyo at night. Or there’s a child’s train set and suddenly we’re in an old Western and they’re fighting on the top of the train. There are so many really clever, really cool little action mini beats.” Kevin Feige adds, “People are used to seeing giant tidal waves coming through a giant building or, in our own movies, an entire city lifting off into the sky and dropping again-but how do you take that same level of technology and that same level of processing power from amazing CG animators and use it to make the details on a concrete surface more detailed and more interesting than you’ve ever seen them before? How do you use that to make the inside of a water pipe, which in real life is about an inch or two in diameter, and make it look like a roaring rapid as you go through it?”

Illustrating his point, Feige continues, “There’s a beat in the movie where Ant-Man has shrunk down and he’s riding a bunch of fire ants that in real life can link themselves together and form sort of a flotation raft, and Ant-Man’s standing on top of that going at great speeds through this tiny, tiny water pipe. But when you look at the water, it doesn’t move like the size of water that we’re used to seeing. Roaring rapids have the white crests and have all that turmoil in them because of the amount of water there. But when you’re looking at water within a little pipe, it moves very differently. So when you’re down there you have the scope and the scale of this fun, roaring-rapid action sequence, but at the same time the water has to move in a very different kind of way that makes you believe in it. It’s just one of the many things that makes this movie so fun.”

Macro photography aside, there was another element to the shrinking methodology that was very important to the director. “It was important to me in shooting Ant-Man sequences that you related the action when they were small to those actors when they’re big. There’s nothing worse to me in a movie like this than when you feel disconnected from the heroes when they’re in their suits to the point where you don’t relate the actor to that thing that’s flying around. So it was important to have Paul Rudd and Corey Stoll in these motion-capture suits in front of a blue screen, doing motion- capture photography, so that it would be their movement and when you see the masks it would be their faces, their eyes. In this movie it’s them all the way and that was important because they’re Super Hero movies and you want to see them in the costumes but you can’t lose sight of the character aspect of them.”

“The cool thing about ‘Ant-Man’ to me is that it doesn’t take place in Asgard and it doesn’t take place somewhere else in the galaxy,” concludes Reed. “It’s absolutely rooted in our real world, but it’s just viewed from a radically different perspective, so that’s really fun. It is a movie where the big third-act battle takes place in a little girl’s bedroom.”

 

How About Those Ants?

Director Peyton Reed thinks it is interesting that when people talk about Ant-Man they tend to only talk about shrinking down to the size of an ant and stealth technology. But the thing that is less talked about is Ant-Man’s ability to control ants. “On the face of it, it sounds ridiculous but one of the things that I’m proudest of about the movie is that we show you in grand fashion what can happen with ants,” says Reed. “We introduce the audience to different types of ants-bullet ants, crazy ants, fire ants, carpenter ants- and each of those ants has their specific skill set and we see how those skills are used to help out in this heist. It really is one of the fun parts of the movie, and when you see the movie, it absolutely answers the question, ‘What can you do with ants?’ When you see the movie you’re going to realize what can be done, and that to me is one of the secret strengths of the movie.”

Although Marvel had already done a lot of research about the ants and the types of ants, Reed did his own research as well. “We talked about what was the best use of those ants and what we would need in terms of the elements of the heist. It was an education to me. My mom sent me out a book I had as a kid called ‘World of Insects’ and there’s an ant on the cover of it. I had not seen this book since I was a kid and I was just turning through the pages like, ‘Oh, yeah!'”

Reed points out that the ants are a crucial part of the movie but also a very tricky part of the movie. “We’re asking the audience to accept these ants as real and as characters in the movie but it’s not like ‘A Bug’s Life’ as they’re not like happy, goofy ants walking around,” says Reed. “They’re not silly. You have to buy them. Particularly there’s a winged carpenter ant that Ant-Man flies around on, and a very important part of the comic book Ant-Man and the iconography of Ant-Man is that image of him flying around on an ant. That’s tricky territory because you want it to look photorealistic and real, plus there’s a bond that forms between Scott Lang and this ant. In fact, Pym is used to categorizing these ants by using numbers and Scott feels it necessary to give this ant a name.”

In the movie, Scott Lang bonds with his ant like Roy Rogers and Trigger or the Lone Ranger and Silver. “That’s one of the fun things about the movie, too, because I think a large portion of the population thinks of ants as just nuisances,” says Reed. “You get a can of inspect spray and get rid of them or they spoil a picnic. But they’re heroes in this movie and it’s really kind of cool to introduce these different types of ants. We have the bullet ants that are No. 4 on the Schmidt pain index. They have an incredibly painful sting and in the movie they look like dinosaurs. They are also well armored. Then the fire ants are like the architects as they can link together and form bridges and rafts and things like that. They’re all real and they are all based in science, which is fun.”

 

Making Music – “Heist” Style

The tone of Marvel’s “Ant-Man” is comedic but it is also a heist movie. According to director Peyton Reed, “There is a certain rhythm that it has to have and that rhythm really affected the way I shot the movie and then, in terms of music, the way we score the movie.”

Christophe Beck, who had worked with Reed previously as a composer on “Bring It On,” signed on to write the music. Beck has composed scores for many feature films, including such recent films as “Get Hard,” “The Judge,” “Frozen,” “Pitch Perfect,” “Let’s Be Cops,” “Tower Heist” and “The Watch.” Says Reed, “I had been a fan of his from ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and a couple of other indie movies he had done. I was thrilled to be able to work with Chris again.”

One of the things that Reed and Beck talked about was creating a recognizable theme for the hero and whether or not that could be done in the year 2015. “But we also wanted something that said ‘heist movie’ with a little bit of jazzy vibe to it and also be really fun because even though the stakes are really high in the movie, it’s fun,” says Reed. “It should feel in some ways like an ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ movie where there’s a lot going on and each character brings their own thing to it.”

For the director, the end result was a home run. “It’s a big, muscular, orchestral score, but it’s also jazzy and fun and has a theme that when you walk around the editing suite, you hear people humming it. It gets in your head. It’s amazing,” enthuses Reed.

 

It’s All About Teamwork

As the movie worked its way through the production schedule, the filmmakers were pleased with the great chemistry between Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas as well as Rudd and Evangeline Lilly.

“I was really excited to meet Michael. I have been a really big fan of his for so long,” admits Rudd. “Working with Michael was a real thrill and he brings so much talent, quality and legitimacy to the film, which really elevates it and makes the dynamic of our relationship so much stronger.”

Douglas equally praises Rudd, saying, “Paul’s fantastic. I used to get a little jealous because my role as Hank Pym is to maintain the plot, to carry the story line and to do the scientific explanations. All of this required a lot of dialogue pertaining to facts and figures. Paul always got to react and be much more of a freewheel. He would have a little line on the end of the scene that was always funny. A lot of times he improvised or would make them up himself, but I think his whole transition as Ant-Man and as a father is beautifully done.” “The on-screen chemistry between Paul and Michael was fun to watch and it’s the key to the film because Hank Pym is a mentor to Scott Lang,” explains director Peyton Reed. “Hank is a guy who has a lot of regret in his life, and one of the things that bonds these two guys is that they both have regrets.”

Another dynamic duo in the film is Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly. In the film Hope isn’t keen on having to bring Scott Lang up to speed and help him learn everything he needs to become Ant24 Man, including how to fight. “One of the things that we knew Scott was going to have to go through in becoming Ant-Man was a training sequence,” says Rudd. “But what happens is he just gets his ass kicked by Hope over and over again. She is one of the toughest ones in the film. Scott really learns how to fight from her.”

“Hope van Dyne is an expert at Muay Thai,” reveals Lilly. “I’m obviously not an expert at it, so I had to learn how to move in a convincing way to make it seem like I could be an expert and could train a man who’s been in prison and probably been in a lot of fist fights. Sadly, Scott Lang is not that great of a fighter and Hope kicks his ass, which was a lot of fun to shoot.”

Rudd continues about Lilly’s prowess in the boxing gym. “Evangeline is just a natural athlete,” says Rudd. “She’s just tough. I don’t think it’s too far from what she can do in real life, I’m guessing. Those scenes were really fun because, to be honest, it’s just fun to fight. I had to learn how to box, which I didn’t know how to do at all. I’d never punched anyone before in my life, so it was great to finally learn how.”

Another team that bonded by bringing comic relief to the film is Scott Lang’s ragtag group of friends who help him put together the big heist. Whenever Paul Rudd, Michael Pena, Tip “T.I.” Harris and David Dastmalchian were shooting on set together, there was never a dull moment.

“It’s like Hawaiian pizza,” says Dastmalchian. “You take some ham, some pineapple, some cheese and you think to yourself, ‘This is never going work,’ but in a weird way it does incredibly well. Paul, Michael, T.I. and I are all such different guys in our personalities, but yet we all really clicked. I have a difficult time keeping a straight face when Paul starts to go off book and do his thing, and then when Michael Pena and T.I. start joining in, it just gets crazy. I feel like I’ve ruined a lot of takes because I’m not good at not breaking up and not laughing. It’s been incredibly fun and they’ve become real friends, too, which is great. I think that really bled into the film.”

Michael Pena concludes, “T.I.’s an amazing performer and he is also the most laid-back dude and he just does his thing. David, or Double D as we called him, is just flat-out crazy and I don’t know what accent he is doing but it is genius. We’re all so different. I’ve got this high-pitched Latin voice and then you’ve got Paul Rudd doing his thing and being so funny. It’s just like four people that you would never think of putting together in a film.”

Reining in all the fun on set was a common occurrence, but director Peyton Reed liked to give his actors the creative freedom to go off the page when they felt it best suited the scene. “Peyton always had a lot of energy and a lot of ideas and he’s quick on the fly,” says Pena. “If I had an idea, he’d give me five examples just on that one idea. So that was really cool. It’s important, especially in a movie like this, to keep it really loose on set so you can explore and you can even mess up. In a drama, that tension is really good for the drama and then it leads you to those kinds of choices, but when you’re doing something like this in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you want to keep it a little lighter.”

“Peyton is a tremendously nice guy and surprisingly funny,” reveals Evangeline Lilly. “I only say that because it’s hard to be really funny. Most people try, but he is actually very, very funny and has impeccable taste as well. Whenever Peyton said we got it and we were moving on, I trusted him. That is the biggest compliment an actor can give their director. If they really trust them, then they know they don’t need to second-guess them and they can literally lay their performance on the line and put it in the director’s hands and be safe. Peyton’s a supremely gifted director.”

 

Your World is About to Get a Lot Smaller

There is a whole new world opening up for moviegoers when Marvel’s “Ant-Man” hits theaters on July 17. As producer Kevin Feige offers, “‘Ant-Man’ is a movie that is very different from anything we’ve ever made before, and like ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ it really feels like we are continuing to surprise audiences with how vast the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be and how diverse it can be and how unique it can be from film to film. So coming off of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ which is a sprawling, giant epic, we have ‘Ant-Man,’ which goes to much smaller scales but has that same level of thrill and that same level of Marvel-style action. But at the same time, it tells a very unique, self-contained story of people struggling with things they’ve been dealing with their entire lives and two heroes who are trying to win back the respect of their children.”

Paul Rudd thinks the film will surprise audiences on several different fronts. “One of the things I like about this movie is that it’s not an easy one to put into a box; it’s not a straight-up comedy, it’s not a straight action movie, but there are plenty of both,” says the actor. “The characters are also going through what I think are very relatable and familial struggles. There’s poignancy to the story. I think audiences will really connect with the characters in the film. On top of that, there’s amazing action in both the physical world and the macro world that people just haven’t seen before. It’s really exciting, very cool and unique.”

Adds Evangeline Lilly, “‘Ant-Man’ is really fresh and new and is something that we’ve not seen at all in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before. It’s going to have its own life and its own fan base. It has it all-great characters, great action, fun adventure…and who just doesn’t love all those amazing ants?”

Summing up, director Peyton Reed feels that people are going to have a good time when they watch Marvel’s “Ant-Man.” “They are going to laugh a lot,” promises Reed, “and I think it’s an exhilarating movie. Obviously, all these heroes have a wish fulfillment aspect to them. There’s something very childlike about the idea of shrinking. It’s almost like being invisible.”

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