Marvel zombies were stunned to see director Edgar Wright walk away from “Ant-Man” two months ago, but few people were more shocked than Paul Rudd.
Rudd is the man behind the mask on “Ant-Man,” playing a thief named Scott Lang who inherits the Ant-Man mantle and technology from brilliant inventor Hank Pym (played by Michael Douglas). Hiring someone traditionally known for his comedy work as the leading man of a big-budget superhero film is the exact kind of outside-the-box thinking that Marvel is known for — but according to Rudd, his involvement with “Ant-Man” owes everything to one man no longer associated with Marvel.
“I was elated, and it was not something I would have predicted,” he told MTV at San Diego Comic-Con. “And it wouldn’t have ever happened without Edgar Wright.”
Wright’s departure from “Ant-Man,” and Peyton Reed’s subsequent hiring as director, has been widely reported on, coming down to the ever-elusive “creative differences” between the filmmaker and the studio. Rudd concedes that those reports are accurate, even if they’ve been “maybe overblown a little bit lately — but it was nonetheless jarring.”
For Rudd, getting past the Wright exit required “a rethinking of things,” and no small amount of collaboration with Adam McKay, the man who directed Rudd in both “Anchorman” movies. McKay was initially in the mix to take over director duties from Wright, but ultimately came aboard “Ant-Man” only as a writer, hired to reshape the film’s story.
“The story is what it was, what Edgar and Joe Cornish, who is also a genius, wrote,” said Rudd. “But it’s now gone in some new directions. There are a lot of things involved that I’m really psyched about. It’s been fun sitting down with Adam and coming up with stuff.”
What kind of stuff, you ask? Well, let’s just say Rudd has some ideas on how to modify Ant-Man’s origin story.
“Everybody knows that the number-one characteristic of Ant-Man is that he has Lyme disease,” he joked. “When he was small, he was attacked by a giant tick. Now I have to shrink down to get back at all those damn deer ticks.”
“That’s what it says on the one-sheet,” he continued. “‘Ant-Man: You Damn Deer Ticks!'”
Honestly, we’d totally see that movie.
“Ant-Man” shrinks down on the big-screen on July 17, 2015.