Lots of people grow up wishing they could be superheroes, and a select few actually get to play them in movies and on TV. So you’d think that Paul Rudd would have felt like he was living the dream when he was cast as the titular hero in Ant-Man -- but given how people used to react to the news, it sounds like it wasn’t exactly the stuff dreams are made of.
Ant-Man is, admittedly, one of the less thrilling MCU superheroes. Still, being able to say you’re a part of the biggest movie franchise of all time has to come with some bragging rights. At least, you’d think so. After Paul Rudd was cast as Scott Lang, though, he found that people were more confused than impressed when he explained exactly what his character was capable of doing. During an installment of Variety's Actors on Actors, he told his fellow MCU-er Chris Evans:
People would ask me. I’d go, ‘I got this part; I’m playing Ant-Man.’ Then they’d say, ‘Well, what does Ant-Man do?’ Then I’d say, ‘Well, he can shrink to the size of an ant. Then he retains you know, strength. He can also control ants.’ And people would laugh as I explained what the character does.
Laughter is probably not the first thing you want to hear when you tell someone you’re playing a superhero, but it sounds like Paul Rudd took it in stride. He said he also understood why people might be a little bit skeptical about him playing a superhero at all:
And it was me playing it. Which, I’m not the first guy people would think of when it comes to playing a big superhero.I wanted to make a superhero that was kind of a regular person. That the whole world of it of superherodom seemed overwhelming and what would you do with this?
What he’s describing is really a big part of the appeal of Ant-Man and, despite any dubiousness about his ability to hold his own in the MCU, Paul Rudd, who also co-wrote the film, and the rest of the creative team behind the movie made it work.
The first Ant-Man film released in 2015, was a huge hit, and made way for Paul Rudd’s character to join the fray in Captain America: Civil War and, later, Avengers: Endgame. The 2018 follow-up, Ant-Man and the Wasp, did even better at the box office, raking in over $600 million internationally. Critics and fans have praised both movies for being bold, funny, and unique from their counterparts in the MCU -- because they embrace the weirdness of the characters and the story.