Marvel's official press release announcing the start of production on Captain America: Civil War last month featured a near-complete cast list which confirmed that Paul Rudd would be fighting alongside The Avengers as Scott Lang after his debut later this summer in Ant-Man. Lang's inclusion wasn't surprising at all to fans of the comics and movies, but it was exciting news nonetheless.
The addition of Ant-Man to Marvel's next superhero ensemble represents much more than bolstering the roster of recognizable heroes and stars, it adds another dynamic to Civil War that only Ant-Man can bring, and that largely has to do with how the character's powers work from a visual standpoint and how scenes involving him changing size must be shot.
Ant-Man is the first Marvel Studios production that utilizes three separate units, the third being dedicated to macro photography. At Pinewood Atlanta Studios, when we visited last October to observe filming on Ant-Man and chat with the cast and crew, we explored a stage that was dedicated to shooting miniature sets and close-ups of everyday materials and locations, from plates on a dinner table to the inside of a vacuum, to construction digital environments for where Ant-Man moves when shrunken down to the size of an ant. But that's just part of it.
The way action sequences are shot in Ant-Man need to be carefully planned out since every angle between a shrunken character and a "normal" sized object or character, or even multiple small characters/objects, need to be represented in a way the audience can always understand the physical space. So, with the Ant-Man character comes an entirely new way of shooting - something only director Peyton Reed has experience with which makes him an important and valuable resource to the production of Captain America: Civil War.
We traveled to Industrial Light & Magic last week to check out some near-complete sequences of Ant-Man as post-production comes to a conclusion and since Civil War is now shooting at the same studio where Ant-Man shot last year, we had to ask Reed on his thoughts of Ant-Man moving on after he helped introduce him into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and whether or not he's been collaborating with Captain America 3 directors Anthony and Joe Russo.
"Yeah, definitely. As we were doing the movie and we were in post and they were getting ready to head out to Atlanta to do Civil War, we had a lot of conversations. And I actually wanted those guys to come in and look at our stuff, because there’s gotta be a lot of sort of crossover. I found myself getting extremely protective over the character of Scott Lang and talking to the guys, the writers, the Russo’s about, “He wouldn’t do that.” It’s important because there’s this continuity that has to happen in this universe. It was really, really great because I’ve known those guys for a long time and it was really good to sort of bring them in, show them stuff, and see them get jazzed about stuff that they were doing. I liked that about the process."
What does that mean for shooting styles? Did the Russos have to follow some sort of guidelines for shooting Ant-Man sequences? Producer Brad Winderbaum chimed in, joking "Yeah. They’ll have to try and outdo us." Reed continues:
"It’s a constant one-upmanship of how you present these characters. You know, you sort of… One of the things when we started working on this was I want to see all these different… things I love from the comics and then things we just imagined, like just scenarios to put him in and thing to see him do, and like let’s pack as much as we can into this movie.
So by the time the Russo’s get it, it was like, “All right. You guys figure out what you are going to do with it.” That’s one of the fun things about it, is watching these characters grow and evolve.
Like The Winter Soldier, the Russos bring a very different aesthetic and tone to their Marvel work and so Ant-Man will evolve to fit. Since Reed is clearly a passionate fan for Ant-Man, even long before he'd every direct a Marvel movie, would he do another if given the chance?
"If there’s an Ant-Man 2, I would love to come back for it."
Winderbaum politely chimed in, "And we would love to have you back," before Reed expanded on his answer:
"I sort of feel real ownership over these characters. Paul and I worked very closely in terms of what that character was and wasn’t. Rudd can do anything, by the way. You mostly know him from comedies. He’s also done amazing dramas and stage work. I think he can just do anything. I was sort of blown away not only by his work ethic, but he’s a co-screenwriter with McKay on the movie. And so he wasn’t just concerned with, “I gotta have more lines in this scene!” He really had the big picture of this thing and it was important to him to create this character that fits into the larger MCU, but it’s very specifically different than the other characters in MCU.
So, yes. If we’re fortunate enough to do sequel, I would love to come back."
There are no plans for sequels to any of the new solo character movies debuting in the next four years (Ant-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Doctor Strange) but depending on the success of any of them, Marvel will need projects for Phase 4 after Avengers: Infinity War.
Marvel’s “Ant-Man” stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang aka Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne, Corey Stoll as Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket, Bobby Cannavale as Paxton, Michael Peña as Luis, Tip “T.I.” Harris as Dave, Wood Harris as Gale, Judy Greer as Maggie, David Dastmalchian as Kurt, and Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym. Directed by Peyton Reed and produced by Kevin Feige, Marvel’s “Ant-Man” delivers a high-stakes, tension-filled adventure on July 17, 2015.
Ant-Man opens in theaters July 17, 2015; Captain America: Civil War – May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man reboot – July 28, 2017;Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Black Panther – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019;Inhumans – July 12, 2019.