This year, following Marvel’s highly-anticipated release The Avengers: Age of Ultron, the studio will debut another original film in the form of Ant-Man. Although the first trailer for Ant-Man focused more on the serious aspects of the film - Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) family, Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) suit - the upcoming Marvel feature is said to be more of an action-comedy in the vein of Guardians of the Galaxy.
Co-stars Judy Greer - who plays Scott’s ex-wife Maggie - and Bobby Cannavale - Maggie’s new husband - have discussed the humor of Ant-Man. After Edgar Wright’s exit, the film’s script was revised by Adam McKay (Anchorman) and Rudd, and the feature was directed by Peyton Reed (Yes Man). Now, in a new interview, Cannavale spoke about working alongside Reed and Rudd as well as the difficulty of working in front of blue screen.
While speaking to CB, Cannavale talked about the scope of the Ant-Man set, saying that it and crew were huge, and the blue screen was everywhere. In terms of the blue screen, Cannavale said, “That part of it was baffling to me.” However, when it came to his scenes with Greer, Rudd, and Michael Pena, Cannavale reiterated that Ant-Man “felt like an indie film.”
Read Cannavale’s full quote:
"The actual work — the scenes with me and Paul Rudd, and Judy Greer and Michael Pena — felt like an indie film. It felt like fun. Peyton Reed [and the studio], they weren’t mercurial about the script. They weren’t mercurial about the humor, at all. They let us be in charge of that. We improvised a lot. Judy Greer’s very funny. Paul’s very funny — he’s a great improviser. The rewrite of the script that Paul did with McKay — and I’ve worked with McKay before — lent itself to that. You could see that there’s a funny scene and we could actually riff off of that, and that felt impressive to me in this big huge blockbuster film. It made me feel kind of good, that it felt like Marvel was going for something different. It didn’t feel like ‘Thor’. It felt more like ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, which I really enjoyed and I thought brought a certain levity to a superhero movie that I had never seen before."
Though Cannavale has referred to the indie film feeling on the set of Ant-Man before, it seems that both Reed and Marvel encouraged the cast to play to their strengths. For Rudd, Cannavale, and Greer, that was the humor in Ant-Man. However, how that humor and tone will work alongside the more blockbuster aspects of Ant-Man remains to be seen.
Cannavale also spoke at length about having trouble on set imagining Rudd shrinking and utilizing his Ant-Man suit. In an effort to understand each scene and how he should react, Cannavale said he would ask questions on set:
"I’d ask ridiculous questions all the time. Peyton Reed, he just kept saying, 'Dude, just do it.' But I’d say, 'I don’t understand. Does the mask go up this way or this way?' And there’s a visual effects guy there and I want an answer. They got so tired of my questions: 'So I don’t understand — If I was just over there, how did I get over here so quick?' Reed would be like, 'Cannavale, it’s a superhero movie, dude. Just do it!' But I’d say, 'Yeah, but do I have superhuman speed, because I was just three blocks away and now I’m here and I’m not even out of breath. Should I be out of breath?' He’d be like, 'Dude, it’s not 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being.' It’s just [frick]ing ‘Ant-Man’. Just say the line.' Then it just became a joke. I had a blast. We laughed so much on that thing."
From Cannavale’s comments about the set of Ant-Man, it appears that the cast and crew were aware of the balance between silly and serious that must be found in a movie about a man with the ability to shrink and control ants. According to Cannavale, it seems there’s plenty of dynamic character interactions to temper the more out-there sci-fi aspects of Ant-Man.
That being said, it still may be difficult for some viewers to have a good grasp on what to expect from Ant-Man once the film hits theaters this summer. Though Cannavale, along with other cast members like Greer, have teased the Marvel feature as an action-comedy on par with Guardians of the Galaxy, that description is at odds with the teaser trailer that has been released.
Of course, Ant-Man wouldn’t be the first film for which the trailers misled the audience; Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy did surpass expectations for a film starring a team of outlaws that included a talking raccoon and a tree. Ant-Man may still pull all the pieces - the humor, the suit, the effects - together into a cohesive and enjoyable film.
Ant-Man opens in theaters July 17th, 2015.