To celebrate the home release of Captain America: Civil War earlier this month, we caught up with actor Paul Rudd – who plays Scott Lang/Ant-Man/Giant-Man in the movie – to find his thoughts on the Marvel blockbuster – from his new suit, to joining the (almost) full gang for the first time:
Scott Lang was introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Ant-Man. How does it feel to see the character join forces with the Avengers in Captain America: Civil War?
It’s amazing. When we shot Ant-Man, people would ask me, “What does it feel like to be part of the Marvel universe?” And I always thought, ‘It’s fantastic. It’s great. It’s really fun.’ But we were also working in a bubble. When I showed up on set for the first time on Captain America: Civil War, I was doing a scene with Captain America and Falcon, and I immediately turned into an excited 10-year-old. It was pretty strange and trippy, but really cool. That was the first time that I thought, ‘Man, I really am part of this.’ It was exciting.
What do you like about Scott Lang?
There are a lot of things I like about this character. I like all of his flaws, but I also like the fact that he can crack a joke in really extreme and serious situations. He alleviates some of the tension, but he is still engaged. He’s still tough. He’s still strong. He’s still operating according to his own moral compass, but he’s doing it at his own speed.
Ant-Man isn’t as polished as some of the other Marvel superheroes. Does that make it easier to have some fun with the character?
I remember Robert [Downey Jr.] saying that he wanted these characters to be relatable. This is a guy who wasn’t born with any kind of superhero ability, so it’s fun to see these characters through Scott Lang’s eyes.
When it comes to the comedy of the movie, were you allowed to improvise on set or did you stick to the script?
I think I was given freedom, although most of this stuff was written in the script. They were definitely saying, “Go ahead and play around with it a little bit.” I mean, that’s part of the fun of a character like Scott Lang.
One of Ant-Man’s most memorable lines in the movie is: “I believe this belongs to you, Captain America.” Was that improvised?
I think that was always in the script, but we would play around with lines and we would suggest things. Sometimes, we would come up with things after the fact. One of the great things about having a character with a mask is that if you think of a great joke afterwards, you can add it later – but I think that particular line was always in there.
How much did you enjoy working with Anthony and Joe Russo, the directors of Captain America: Civil War?
The Russos have a real even keel about them, which is crucial and very nice. There are so many moving parts to shooting this movie; there’s a lot of action, there are a lot of characters, and there’s a lot going on. It’s enormous. The mood of any set is dictated by the director or the directors – and this one was really chill and fun because they made it that way. They also are really enthusiastic about what they’re making and that’s infectious. That’s really fun to be around.
Ant-Man’s suit has had an upgrade for Captain America: Civil War. What did you think of your new costume?
The new suit is really streamlined, and it looks a little more high-tech. The helmet no longer has cables that snap into the back of it. Antennas shoot up from the bottom and the regulator also has no dial on it. It’s great.
Do you prefer the new suit to the original?
I loved the original Ant-Man suit because it had a real vintage look to it. Now, it looks like it’s been tricked out, so it fits in with modern times a little bit more. It was exciting to see it; I had that same feeling as when I tried it on for the very first time in Ant-Man. I looked in the mirror and went, “This thing looks awesome.” So, yeah, it’s great.
What was your initial reaction when you read the script to Captain America: Civil War for the very first time?
Sometimes you get really lucky. You read something and you immediately think, ‘Wow, I’m going to be a part of that!’ That was the feeling I had when I read this script for the first time; especially the sequence where we’re all fighting each other. I knew that seeing that scene would be such a spectacle.
In the movie, Scott Lang is a Captain America fan-boy. Did you relate to your character in any way on your first day of shooting with this iconic cast?
How did I feel as far as being the fan-boy of the group in the movie? Listen, there was very little acting required for me in those scenes. They’ve all worked together and done this before – but I’ve just seen the movies, so I couldn’t stop geeking out. At one point, I thought, ‘Oh, man… There’s the shield. Wow!’ I was blown away. Even when I was getting the suit on, there was this area where we’d get changed and I would be thinking, ‘There’s Iron Man’s suit. Whoa! And there they all are. This is crazy.’ It was really exciting. I kept thinking, ‘I can’t believe I’ve landed here. This is nuts.’
Did the cast put you through any kind of initiation when you turned up on set?
It was a little surreal to see everybody in their suits – but no, everybody was very nice. It was a very welcoming feeling. This reference will just drop like a lead balloon, but I felt a little bit like Cousin Oliver coming along and joining the rest of the Brady Bunch. It’s been great.
Captain America: Civil War is on DVD and Blu-Ray now, featuring 60 minutes of exclusive bonus material, including never-before-seen deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes footage.