‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’: Making A Sequel Both Bigger and Smaller
Thursday, June 28th, 2018 at 11:00 am
In Ant-Man and the Wasp, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is serving the remaining days of his house arrest in San Francisco as a consequence of his actions in the events of Captain America: Civil War. Approached by Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Lang must once again don the Ant-Man suit and fight alongside the Wasp. The urgent mission soon leads to secret revelations from the past as the dynamic duo finds themselves in an epic battle against a powerful new enemy.
We were fortunate enough to sit down with our fellow members of the press to talk about the film with Rudd, Lilly, director Peyton Reed, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. There they talked about writing the script, the logistics of filming a car chase, the film’s themes, and more. Check out what they had to say below.
Paul Rudd may play one of the two title heroes in the film, but the actor was also a writer on it. While we’ve known Rudd to be a funny actor and writer, some of the best writing didn’t even appear in the script. “His best lines in the movie isn’t even in the script,” Evangeline Lilly said.
Reed complimented Rudd on his generosity as a writer and actor. “Paul has the whole picture in mind,” Reed said.
Rudd added a little bit more saying “This has been a collaborative effort, more than anything I have ever worked on and to think I actually wrote it would be, I think, a gross overstatement,” Rudd said. “The truth of the matter is Peyton has been in the room working for a long time. Same thing with our producer Stephen Broussard. Same with Kevin Feige. And in particular two writers, Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, who did really a lot of the heavy lifting, those guys are great.”
Let’s Go Crazy
As we have seen in the trailers, it’s not just Ant-Man and The Wasp that are shrinking, but buildings and cars too. It’s only natural to take that with new characters and things as well. And that is something that Reed wanted to explore in the sequel. “We really wanted to go nuts with it,” Reed said. “But what that did was create real technical challenges. I think maybe the biggest is we did a whole car chase that took us through the city of San Francisco. We wanted to do a chase that you just simply didn’t see in any other movie because of all the size changes.”
Reed would spend a lot of time thinking about the logistics of filming the scene. He wanted to spend more time in the streets of San Francisco because he wanted to make the city a character in the movie. He also wanted to the chase to be specific to that city. “But then it occurred to us that we might not even be allowed to do that,” Reed said. “But, thankfully, the city of San Francisco was so cooperative and we really had some free range to do some of the craziest imaginable in that city.”
Revisiting The Quantum Realm
If you have seen it in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, chances are, you’ll probably see it again in another film in another shape or form. That is especially true for Ant-Man and the Wasp, where the Quantum Realm plays a much larger role in the film. But as for the possibility of seeing it again or even outside of an Ant-Man film, that remains to be seen.
“Without giving anything away, we love – they are all storytelling tools, new places and new things,” Feige said. “In the first film we got a glimpse of it, and for people who love to go through it frame by frame saw a little silhouette of Janet as The Wasp, which was a big story element in this movie. There are things that Peyton has put in there. Where they are and how they pay off in the near term or long term remains to be seen.”
Like most films that take place after The Avengers or other ensemble films, it has that special case of being a sequel to said film and said ensemble film. So with Ant-Man and the Wasp, it is both a sequel to Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War. But having Ant-Man deal with the fallout from Civil War opened the door for new challenges for the title characters. “What was cool about Captain America: Civil War was that we could not ignore what had happened to Scott Lang in that movie in this movie,” Reed said. “It gave us an organic jumping off point because my first reaction was ‘what would Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne think about Scott taking the suit and getting involved fighting the Avengers,’ well they would be pissed off.”
So that allowed them to start the movie off with an estranged relationship and the two have to deal with the ramifications of the Sokovia accords. Rudd says the events gave him some leeway to lean into some things that the character would not have been able to explore. Now that the character has been established, we get to see and buy into the character. “It felt as if we had a little bit more freedom to play into the humor,” Rudd said.
With the help of editors Dan Lebental and Craig Wood, Ant-Man and the Wasp continues to be edge of your seat fun that is not short on excitement. But during the process of trying to figure out where all the pieces go and how a car chase and rescue mission could work simultaneously, Reed knew that the film had to be as tight as possible. “We always have this Ant-Man philosophy, on the first movie and on this one, I always wanted these movies to be under two hours,” Reed said. “Firstly because they’re comedies, and second because the first one was sort of a heist movie and this one is sort of a crime/science fiction/Elmore Leonard-esque novel as a Marvel movie, and it needed to have a lot of forward momentum.”
Reed said they looked at a lot of Steve McQueen movies and What’s Up Doc, which has some of the most insane chase sequences in San Francisco.
Making Ant-Man and the Wasp Happen
There was no doubt that The Wasp was going to be in her own film. But it would take a while before that happened. Which made it worse when you learned that there were plans to have your character appear earlier than anticipated. “That was the first idea before Civil War. Clearly, that film, the first Ant-Man film, is essentially about how qualified Hope is and her estrangement from her father that prevents her from doing these things,” Feige said. “It was without question in that tag, in what ended up being the tag in the first Ant-Man film, was in there from the beginning, which was her finding that suit and saying ‘it’s about damn time.'”
Feige added that they always knew that it was always going to be Ant-Man and the Wasp, and that it would be finally time to see Hope be the hero she was born to be.
Lilly interjected, saying the original plan was to have The Wasp in Captain America: Civil War. But those plans never panned out, much to her sadness “It’s okay, I am just stoked to be here. Like I am happy to put on the suit,” Lilly said.
Although, that all changed when she had a feeling about what they were going to say next. “Are they going to say what I think they are going to say,” Lilly said. “And then they said what I thought they were going to say, which is because we really wanted to dedicate a film to introducing this female superhero, and we don’t want her just to be a side note in this larger story. And that was so exciting for me.”
While some heroes have an ego, or super serum coursing through their veins, or can climb on walls, or just have anger management issues, Scott is probably the one person anyone can relate to. He has no powers. In fact, he is probably the one person who is just your everyday man that happens to be a father. Rudd wanted to make Scott a person anyone could relate to while writing the script.
“This theme of parents and children run throughout the film. It is something relatable because, whether or not we have children of our own, many people do, we all have parents,” Rudd said. “The idea that I’m playing somebody that doesn’t have inane super abilities is a way in, I want him to be relatable, I can relate to it in that way. Certainly, when I am thinking about the story, script, and everything. That’s the approach.”
But there is one thing Rudd is going to regret having in the script. “I have a daughter roughly the age of Cassie, she’s a little bit younger, and while I know for a fact she’s gonna want me to build a slide after she sees the film, it’s really hard to do in a New York apartment, but I know what it’s like to spend the evening playing with Barbie dolls,” he continued. “That’s the glue, that’s the soul of it and the love that a family shares and how we need each other.”
“Parents need their kids, kids need their parents and if we could build a funny movie that appeals to all ages, that kids could see, that actually has all the elements, and everyone would be wowed by all aspects of it,” Rudd said. “That idea that I identify myself in that role was huge.”
Ant-Man and the Wasp opens in theaters on July 7, 2018. Click right here for more on the movie, including our review, another interview, and trailers.