Peyton Reed Talks Marvel History & Making 'Ant-Man' His Own

We know in the Marvel universe that it’s all connected, but with Agent Carter coming out is there an opportunity there to have a crossover between Pym’s history with S.H.I.E.L.D.?

PEYTON REED: Yeah, yeah. I actually don’t know what specific plans they have for the series for her. I don’t have the answer to that. That would be a Feige question.

But how does he deal with her?

PEYTON REED: Well with Peggy you sort of get a glimpse of... We elaborate on Hank's feelings about S.H.I.E.L.D. and possible history there.

With the other solo Marvel movies they all seem to expand on a certain area in the cinematic universe; Captain America 2 expands on S.H.I.E.L.D., Thor expands on Asgard, Guardians takes us to space, what area is Ant-Man going to expand on that we haven’t really seen in anything else?

PEYTON REED: Well I think it’s the Pym story, I mean, to me growing up in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s reading the comics I thought he’s a character to me that’s one of the defining characters in the Marvel universe. So that’s what I think that this is exploring, this whole other sort of thing and in this movie you don’t quite know how it’s connected to the larger universe until you get to the end.

Is there a chance we will see the Big House?

PEYTON REED: A chance, there’s always a chance.

How are you visually going to show the actual shrinking?

PEYTON REED: We show it and we demonstrate it in a lot of different ways in the movie. You mean visual effects wise, the actual transition, or once they’re shrunk?

The actual transition.

PEYTON REED: Well, again, there’s sort of different styles of shrinking, but one of the things that I like is that it’s very quick [Snaps Fingers] it’s not a –you won’t see any belabored shrinking. [Laughs]

Ant-Man vs Yellowjacket
The Yellowjacket Suit

Is it the same with getting the suits on? Because I noticed it’s quick that he’s outside the helicopter and then he comes back in and he’s Yellowjacket.

PEYTON REED: Yeah, there’s stuff that goes on between those shots that there’s a little bit of passage of time.

Is it easy for him to just become Yellowjacket, is there like a briefcase that he just opens up?

PEYTON REED: It’s a process, I’ll say that.

Ant-Man debuts after Avengers: Age of Ultron and Kevin said it takes place after, how much does the fallout of the events of that movie affect this story?

PEYTON REED: I think it affects - maybe reinforces Hank Pym’s attitude about the Avengers.

This is the first character where greatness is thrust upon them, how are you gonna explore that between the characters?

PEYTON REED: Well yeah, it really is, and this has probably been said before, sort of this parallel story of these guys who sort of have their daughters and they have made some choices in their lives that have not been good and try to sort of find redemption. And it’s gonna be a very ponderous, slow movie, family drama.

[All laugh]

You and Kevin have worked together before on Fantastic 4, how did your relationship change or stay the same when you guys came back together for this one?

PEYTON REED: Well, I think the world is really different in terms of comic book movies. We were working together right after, really just as the first [Sam] Raimi Spider-Man was coming out. This was 2003, and also Marvel was not sort of the Marvel it is now so it was Marvel at Fox so you had to deal with Tom Rothman and other people. And clearly Marvel didn’t have the freedom to do the stuff that they’re doing now, which is a shame, and I actually don’t know much about the Fantastic 4 movie that’s going on now. I hope it’s great because I’m a massive Fantastic 4 fan and that to me was always sort of the crown jewel at Marvel that needs to be done right.

When you read a '60s comic book, like in the Kennedy era, the astronauts era, there was a sense of hopeful pride, is there some sense here of how superheroes are viewed differently over time?

PEYTON REED: First of all I would say the current Marvel you could float an idea like that and actually it would be entertained and discussed and how can we make that work. At Fox at the time the notion of doing a period Fantastic 4 was just like, "No, we’re not doing it," but the other thing was at the time the idea of the Fantastic 4 were what we called "daytime superheroes," they didn’t have secret identities they were very much part of the fabric of Manhattan and that was really thrilling to us at the time.

But I like the idea of potentially exploring different periods of Marvel heroes, again, I truly don’t know what the current take on Fantastic 4 is, if anybody knows…

Nobody knows.

PEYTON REED: So, I didn’t answer your question at all.

It does feel like the world as we see it right now with the Marvel universe, they couldn’t deal with the fact they had alien invasion, they have Iron Man running around, Gods on earth, things like that, so that’s the world. But Pym when he was a spy, that was not the world that he got involved with, it was a different era.

PEYTON REED: Yeah, exactly, and that is interesting. That part of the story is an interesting part to me because it’s kind of uncharted territory in the Marvel cinematic universe, so that’s appealing and I just in the largest sense hope that they start to tackle more of that type with all the characters with different eras.

Scott Lang and Cassie Lang in Ant-Man
Scott Lang and Cassie Lang

Is there time for tomfoolery in this, will we see Scott Lang just in his house?

PEYTON REED: “No time for tomfoolery Scott, we’ve gotta…”

[All Laugh]

PEYTON REED: Oh yeah, there’s always time for some tomfoolery. To me that’s the thing that the Marvel movies have done so well, they’ve reached a point where there is a cinematic equivalent of that Marvel Comics sense of humor. There were lots of different types of senses of humor in the Marvel universe in the comics, but they also held together as this one coherent thing, and it’s something that I think we kind of take for granted now with Marvel movies but it’s a huge fucking accomplishment. I mean, if you think back to the first Spider-Man or the first X-Men it’s like, "Wow people are taking superheroes - it was a revelation that they were being halfway taken seriously," but that’s what’s exciting is, for me personally, to be working in that environment. I don’t know what other people say who worked in that environment but I find it to be like a really crazily, curious, creative environment in which to work.

Sitting with Jake Morrison, who’s the effects head on the movie, coming up with stuff there’s like an enthusiasm, "Oh yeah, let’s try that!" and this constant thing with like, "let’s try something that we haven’t seen." I feel like for the first time it’s producers and creative people thinking the way that I would say I would think as a fan, like, "Oh, if I worked there I would do this and try this and why not? Because there’s a million other movies like this so let’s try that." Guardians is an example to me of –because I actually went and pitched on Guardians, and at the time you’re sitting there talking about a talking raccoon and a tree and like, "How are you gonna do it?" and that was a swing for the fences, that could have gone off the rails so quickly, now it’s sort of done what it did and it’s, again, I think people take it for granted. But it was never a hugely popular comic to begin with and I think it was like, "Oh what if people are getting into superheroes fatigue? Let’s make a space opera."

Because of the success of Guardians of the Galaxy, is there a positive effect, because the idea is that Marvel could do anything right now. Do you see that as encouragement or does it add a responsibility almost?

PEYTON REED: There’s always the responsibility and pressure, I mean, no one wants to make a bad movie. Uou want to make a great movie and I think, to me, what I’ve witnessed at Marvel and I think with Kevin personally, is I’m sure he enjoyed the success of Guardians, but Kevin was just on to the next thing and this and attacking this thing, and again, I like that because there’s this hunger about not repeating yourself and trying different stuff and, "Hey, we’ve had success, let’s use that to try some other weird different things." Like, I think Phase 3 is going to embrace the weirdness which I like.

Next: Ant-Man Joins The Avengers in Captain America: Civil 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.

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