When it was announced that Michael Douglas would be playing Dr. Hank Pym in Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man, a specific bit of speculation began to spread around the internet. Knowing that the blockbuster was going to feature specific flashback sequences with a young Hank Pym, fans wondered if the production would soon be hiring an actor to play a young Michael Douglas. This never happened for a specific reason: the flashback sequences will actually feature a digitally de-aged version of the Wall Street star.

I learned this fascinating detail last year when I joined a group of other film journalists in traveling down to Atlanta, Georgia to visit the set of Ant-Man while it was still in production. During a group interview with Marvel Studios Kevin Feige, we learned a bit more about Janet Van Dyne/Wasp’s role in the upcoming movie, and it was at this time that I took the opportunity to ask if the production had hired actors for the roles of young Hank Pym and Janet, to which Feige replied,
Michael Douglas is playing the younger version of Hank, and we only see Janet, she’s in the helmet. She’s in the outfit, so you just sort of see eyes.

Some of you may be made nervous by this news – now having flashbacks to the less-than-perfect de-aged Jeff Bridges featured in Tron: Legacy - but allow me to assure you: the digitally de-aged Michael Douglas featured in Ant-Man looks spectacular. Last week, I had the opportunity to visit the edit bay for the film at Industrial Light and Magic headquarters in San Francisco, and it was there that I got an early look at the young Hank Pym. The first scene of the movie is set in 1989 and features a younger Michael Douglas berating the heads of S.H.I.E.L.D. about stealing his research, and I was floored by how good the work is. Physically, guy looks like he stepped right out of Romancing The Stone.

It should be noted that while the young Dr. Hank Pym is a marvel to look at, the truth is that you won’t really be seeing too much of him in the final cut of the film. As described by Kevin Feige, 96 percent of Ant-Man takes place during the present day, meaning most of Michael Douglas’ performance will not use digital makeup, and will feature him at his current age. That being said, I’m very excited to see more of the young character in action during the flashback sequences.

The look of young Michael Douglas in Ant-Man will probably be kept out of the marketing of the movie just for the surprise factor – but the good news is that fans won’t have to wait much longer to see it for themselves. The new Peyton Reed-directed Marvel film will arrive in theaters on July 17th.

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