Having an itch you can’t scratch is one of the great struggles of our species. It's a plight universally understood and maddeningly frustrating. Even superheroes, or at least the actors who play them, are not immune from this plague. In fact, their costumes can sometimes make matters worse. Such was the case for Ant-Man actor Paul Rudd, who had to get creative and ask people to punch him when suffering an itch on the Avengers: Endgame set. As he tells it:
One of the things I didn’t like about my costume is that the leather and everything else make it really hard if I have an itch on my back [laughs] and want to scratch it. I remember having to go around to people and have them punch me in the back really hard to get rid of an itch. With the kind of suit I had, I couldn’t do it. And it gets hot. We are sometimes shooting outside. The suit material doesn’t breathe very well.
Desperate itches call for desperate measures, and when it’s a choice between getting punched and enduring the misery of an itch you can’t scratch, Paul Rudd knows the choice is easy. As he told Inquirer, the leather of the Ant-Man costume made it impossible for him to scratch an itch. Whether that was because of how it limited his mobility, that the material was too thick for a scratch to get through or both, he knew he had to seek outside help.
So the actor asked people to punch him in the back in the hopes that the force of the punch would get through the leather Ant-Man suit and vanquish the itch that beset him. It sounds like he went to multiple people for help too, but unfortunately he didn't reveal which ones. No disrespect to anyone’s strength, but I expect getting punched in the back by Tom Holland isn’t quite the same as getting punched by Chris Hemsworth.
I like to think that this was a combined effort that, like defeating Thanos, required the might of all the Avengers to accomplish. If he really had the powers of Ant-Man, Paul Rudd could have just told one of the ants to take care of it, but alas, in lieu of functional Pym tech, he had to rely on more primitive methods.
Unscratchable itches are just one of the many trials and tribulations actors who play big screen superheroes face due to their costumes. The suits are often heavy and uncomfortable. Some restrict your movement and feel claustrophobic. We’ve heard complaints about superhero suits being very hot, a sentiment Paul Rudd echoes, and smelling bad. They’re also not the most accommodating when you have to go to the bathroom.
Sometimes the hardest choices require the strongest wills and we are all grateful that these actors choose to endure miserable suits and unscratchable itches to entertain us. Avengers: Endgame is set to reap the rewards of those sacrifices as it has already broken records for advance ticket sales.
Avengers: Endgame arrives in theaters on April 26. It’s three hours long, so make sure you wear scratch-friendly clothing and stay frosty, because there are spoilers out there. Check out the biggest questions we still have about the movie and our 2019 Release Schedule for everything else headed your way this year.