Two Key Movies That Have Inspired Ant-Man And The Wasp

Hank Pym Ant-Man & The Wasp

With the idea of advancing beyond the idea of the "comic book movie," the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been very careful when it comes to offering different genres with their different superhero properties. For example, Guardians of the Galaxy is a space opera; Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a political thriller; and Ant-Man was crafted as a heist narrative. So what can we expect from the upcoming Ant-Man and The Wasp? According to director Peyton Reed, you should be thinking about Martin Scorsese's After Hours and Martin Brest's Midnight Run:

When we first started talking about what Ant-Man and the Wasp would look and feel like, and the kind of movie we wanted to make, I definitely started talking about things like After Hours and Midnight Run, and these things where there's a lot of forward momentum. There's almost a road movie quality to the movie in that way. The first movie, because it was an origin story, a lot of it took place in Hank Pym's house. I just wanted to open the movie up and get out and take advantage of San Francisco, because that felt like a different texture for the MCU.

Every director takes particular cinematic influences with them into shooting a movie, and on the set of Ant-Man and The Wasp Peyton Reed revealed two fantastic titles that were on his mind during the production of his second Marvel feature. I visited the Atlanta, Georgia set last year along with a small group of other journalists, given permission to watch filming and interview the actors/filmmakers, and it was early in our interview with Reed that he revealed the inspiration provided by After Hours and Midnight Run.

It should be noted that After Hours and Midnight Run are pretty different movies -- the former chronicling a crazy, weird night in the life of an ordinary guy; and the latter following a straight-laced bounty hunter on a mission to deliver a talkative target -- but one thing that the two titles have in common is consistent pressure and motivation that is ever driving the characters forward. As described by Peyton Reed, for Ant-Man and The Wasp what's serving that purpose is the titular heroes trying to find a way to rescue The Wasp's mom, Michelle Pfeiffer's Janet van Dyne. Said Reed,

The urgency was really about trying to graft this idea of a search and rescue movie onto this ticking clock, and for whatever scientific reasons, if they were going to go, perhaps, look for Janet van Dyne, how do you go about doing that? And it's an impossible thing, scientifically, but also if there's urgency and there's maybe a window of time they have to do it, it's about collecting the people, the things, everything they need to do that.

Being a bit fan of both After Hours and Midnight Run, this was incredibly exciting to hear, but Peyton Reed also offered up another key outside influence that fans may be able to pick up on. Evidently along with the ticking clock mission to save Janet van Dyne there were also be a nice sprawling mystery filled with all kinds of important characters/roadblocks -- similar to those found in the works of author Elmore Leonard (Get Shorty,Out of Sight, Rum Punch, et. al.). Reed explained,

The first was more of a heist movie, and this wanted to be a little more of an Elmore Leonard vibe, where we have villains, but we also have antagonists, and we have these roadblocks to our heroes getting to where they need to be, and getting what they need for this mission. It felt like this sort of more chaotic comedy and action in the movie felt like a good next step for Ant-Man and the Wasp.

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: the only way that comic book movies stay popular is if they are consistently offering up something fresh and new for fans, and it definitely sounds like Ant-Man and The Wasp is being cooked up as something original and a whole lot of fun.

We'll have plenty more set visit coverage coming your way soon, so stay tuned here on CinemaBlend, and look for Ant-Man and The Wasp in theaters on July 6th.

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.