Interview with Peyton Reed on the Set of Ant-Man
When we were headed to the set of Ant-Man last November, I felt like I was on some covert mission to a hidden location rather than to a movie set stationed in a neighborhood in Atlanta. Our transportation to the set involved two separate shuttles. One from “home base” which is a general area where deliveries and the like are made so as to not disclose the location of the set. And the second from a member of the production team that actually knew where the set was.
The man shuttling us from “home base” had no idea where the set of Ant-Man was, or that it was even the Ant-Man set. That’s why there was the need for two separate shuttles. Oh, and I almost forgot the two fake cop cars that followed us to the set insured that we weren’t being followed. This stuff is secretive, y’all.
Most of the day on set was spent waiting for interviews and watching the filming on a small television in the backyard of a home close to the set home. As I mentioned in my interview with Paul Rudd, it was freezing cold so waiting on the interviews felt like forever. I was bundled head to toe but even through my socks and my boots, my feet were so cold they burned.
During a short break of filming, we were able to get a quick interview with Peyton Reed, the Director of Ant-Man. As a fan of Ant-Man from a really young age, I’m sure you can imagine the passion and excitement he had while directing Ant-Man.
Interview with Peyton Reed
What’s your experience of Ant-Man before starting production on the movie?
Well I am a classic Marvel Comics nerd who was reading comic books from a really, really young age and there was kind of a choice as a kid. You either read Marvel Comics or DC Comics. Some kids read both, but I was strictly a Marvel guy and Ant-Man was one of my favorites. I always loved Ant-Man. He’s kind of an outsider character, even in the comics world. He really kind of never had his own comic book. He was an Avenger and there was Tales To Astonish with the Ant-Man but he was a little schizophrenic the character of Hank Pym, but in the comics he was Ant-Man and Giant Man and all these different things.
But I always loved that character [Ant-Man] and I was actually in a punk band in the 80’s and I would draw all the fliers to the shows. And there was one where I totally ripped off the cover of Avengers #1 and had the band members as characters of the Avengers and I was Ant-Man. This was probably ’86. We actually showed it at Comi-con. It was just a weird thing to sort of be directing Ant Man now when I had been that character back in the day — back in my punk rock days.
But yeah, it’s fun. It’s the kind of movie I’ve wanted to direct for a long time and to be able to have the opportunity has been great.
Ant-Man is a father in the comics and his daughter was one reason he became Ant-Man. How much of that played a part in this film?
It’s one of the things that I was really attracted to about the movie because I think he’s the only super hero in the Marvel Universe that is a parent. We’ve changed some of the specifics from the comic, but he still definitely has the relationship with his daughter Cassie (played by Abby Ryder Fortson). It is a driving force as to why he embraces his heroic side and that was really appealing to me to do a movie that has all these weird elements to it. The shrinking, the controlling ants, and all the sort of super heroics, but also has this really grounded domestic side. It’s this guy who is making really poor decisions in his life and is now trying to find some kind of redemption.
And a big part of that is to really be a part of his daughter’s life and also to make the world a better place for his daughter to grow up in. There’s a great thematic between Paul and his daughter, and also Michael Douglas and his daughter, in the movie, Evangeline Lily. And I think that in terms of the script, the story is one of the great things. They both, Paul and Michael, are very flawed characters who have things to learn about parenting and about being there for their kids. And that I think it’s a different thing from a lot of the other Marvel movies.
As for casting, did you already have a vision of who would play Ant Man?
Well I sort of inherited Paul Rudd. He was my inheritance. Paul was on the movie before.
And we have an amazing cast. I mean, you know I certainly cast a lot of the other roles around, but Michael, Paul and Evangeline were on the movie before. We only have two weeks left of shooting in the movie so we’re really far along and the cast in this movie is bonkers. I mean in terms of their performance, they’re incredible. I was saying before I think Paul, I don’t know is there’s an official award, but he’s got to be the most liked and most likeable guy in Hollywood.
I knew Paul a little bit before the movie, but to find out that you when you’re watching a Paul Rudd movie it’s like, “Oh I can, I can hang out with that guy.” And you actually do feel that way when you work with Paul because he’s great. Obviously he’s an incredibly gifted Comedic Actor, but if you look at his dramatic work he’s equally amazing in movies and on stage. And this movie definitely asks him to exercise all those muscles.
Is there a lot of comedy in the movie?
There is. I mean, it’s a serious movie with serious stakes, but it was important to keep the comedic thing alive. There are certain situations that are just inherently funny and we’ve never forgotten that we are doing a movie about a guy who shrinks down to the size of an ant, which is potentially sort of the silliest Marvel hero around.
But I think one of the things that we all love is that the movie is going to surprise people and in terms of the shrinking we’re able to do things on a technical level that just haven’t been in a movie before you now.
And then in terms of the other power, the weirder power, controlling ants which seems so crazy and silly we’re going to show the audience, maybe it’s not so silly. Like look at what he can do and look at what these tiny things when they’re mobilized into armies of what they can actually do. And that’s one of the fun things about the movie. I think it will sneak up on audiences that way.
Because the movie centers around family are you targeting family as an audience or what age groups do you think it [Ant-Man] will be appropriate for?
I really think it’s appropriate for all ages. The movie is going to be PG-13, but like other Marvel films, they’re not grim stories. They are, in my opinion, very tonally different. They are very uplifting movies and they are really about, not just feats of super heroics, but about like finding the hero in yourself. And about people who have maybe lost their way finding their way. The movies embrace the aspirational quality of what I think is sort of the initial reason that comic books were created and why people read comic books. Beause that’s something to aspire to. So I think it’s absolutely suitable for anyone.
During the interview with Peyton Reed, I could sense his passion for this film. I’m pretty sure that directing Ant-Man was more than just a paycheck for him. Comics were very important to him even as a child. Now as an adult, he was able to take something he loved as a child and make it come to life on the big screen! I’d say that has to be one of those life experiences that’s going to be pretty hard to out do.
Just like being smack dab in the middle of Pym Technologies! That’s kind of huge for this little blogger from Small Town, Texas, y’all!
This week is full of Ant-Man interviews. Make sure you follow me on Twitter and like me on Facebook to be updated on new posts.
Ant-Man will arrive in theaters on July 17th!
- Previous Interview with Paul Rudd on the Set of Ant-Man
- Next Interview with Judy Greer on the Set of Ant-Man