Ant-Man's Corey Stoll Is Driven By This Classic Villain Contradiction

Darren Cross – the central villain of Ant-Man as portrayed by Corey Stoll – is a complex guy. He has an intense love/hate relationship with his former mentor, Michael Douglas’ Dr. Hank Pym, and he has dedicated his life to seeking revenge by cracking Pym’s most incredible secret. But while he presents himself as a big tough business guy who is dealing in weapons manufacturing, that’s not who the actor portraying him really sees in the character. Instead, that’s all just a cover for the fact that Cross is a true-blue loser.

During the Ant-Man press day that was held in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, I had the fantastic opportunity to sit down one-on-one with Corey Stoll and talk about his latest role. It was during our conversation that the Strain star revealed his deeper psychological view of his Marvel villain role, revealing that there was a negotiation in developing the character when it came to tone. He explained,

When I first auditioned for Darren Cross, what I really connected to was to the humor of the role, and that there was this really… he’s a real loser! He is really the least cool person on the planet, and he wants to be Tony Stark. He wants to be the coolest guy in the world.

In Ant-Man, Darren Cross’ way of trying to becoming the "coolest guy in the world" is by developing a replica of Dr. Pym’s legendary Pym Particle formula – a scientific discovery that lets a user reduce the distance between atoms while also increasing density. Cross’ goal is to weaponized this technology in the form of a super suit – which he calls the Yellowjacket – and it winds up being the responsibility of Dr. Pym, Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang, and Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Van Dyne to stop him.

Again, this may all read like the planning of a comic book master genius, but in reality Corey Stoll felt that all of his bluster and action comes from personal insecurity (plus the fact that he’s slowly going mad from particle exposure). Seeing the character inside and out helped the actor add his own layers of depth to him. Said Stoll,

And that sort of false humility, and just sort of the fact that he’s got this shell being a CEO with these power suits, and you know - he’s a real winner on the outside, but he's still this little scared little nerd.

You’ll be able to see Corey Stoll play with this classic villain contradiction in just a few days, as Ant-Man will be arriving in theaters this Friday. And be sure to stay tuned for more from our interviews with the movie’s cast and creators!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.