With Ant-Man less than a month away from release, titular star Paul Rudd and Marvel Studios' President Kevin Feige talked with The Hollywood Reporter about the film, the departure of Edgar Wright, and how the finished film is both "standaone" and connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"Essentially, this is a heist film, and if you look at the structure of heist films, there is always a test run and the test run fails," said Rudd. "In talking about what could be a good test run, we were just playing around with conversations and thought, 'Oh my God, what if he actually fought an Avenger?' We started getting really giddy about this idea. It seemed like that would be a fun way to incorporate the universe into this film."
Feige said that the notion of father/daughter relationships had been a key part of Ant-Man going back to former director Edgar Wright's earliest scripts. In the film, Rudd's Scott Lang is father to Cassie Lang (played by Abby Ryder Forston), while Hope Van Dyne (played by Evangeline Lilly) is the daughter to Hank Pym (Michael Douglas).
"These two guys are birds of a feather in many regards," says Rudd, who c-wrote the shooting script for Ant-Man with Adam McKay. "If Scott is experiencing some of these things with his daughter, Hank can be maybe a few steps ahead of the game, but have the same kind of dynamic. It just seemed like interesting parallel stories to focus on, this idea of struggles that parents and kids have."
Feige explains that Rudd is signed for a minimum of three Ant-Man films, plus work in other projects such as Captain America: Civil War.
"I was telling Kevin, [Captain America: Civil War] was the first time I really felt like I was in it," Rudd said. "I started working on Ant-Man a couple of years ago, and I've been so immersed in it. But we've been shooting it in a bubble. When I went to the set of Civil War, I was 10 years old. There's Captain America, there's Iron Man. And not only that, but I'm doing scenes with them, calling them by their names. That feeling of excitement, the surreal nature of it is the best, it was great. I really felt for the first time part of the Marvel Universe."
Ant-Man acts as the final film in the second phase of Marvel Studios' films, but Feige reveals that in some ways it sets the stage for what comes next.
"Phase One ended with Avengers. So some people thought that Phase Two would end with an Avengers film," Feige explained. "But the truth is, there is so much in Ant-Man: introducing a new hero, introducing a very important part of technology in the Marvel universe, the Pym particles. Ant-Man getting on the Avengers' radar in this film and even – this is the weirdest part, you shouldn't really talk about it because it won't be apparent for years – but the whole notion of the quantum realm and the whole notion of going to places that are so out there, they are almost mind-bendingly hard to fathom. It all plays into Phase Three. It became very clear that Ant-Man is the pinnacle and finale of Phase Two and Captain America: Civil War is the start of Phase Three."