Michael Douglas finds his place in the Marvel universe as Hank Pym the original Ant-Man. He shares with us some of the joys of working on such a unique film and how it’s brought him an all-new fan base.
Mini spoilers at the end. I’ll give another warning.
Thanks to Disney and Marvel Studios for bringing me to LA for the Ant-Man and The Wasp event.
What was it like being reunited with the cast again?
MICHAEL DOUGLAS – There’s just an inherent relaxation and joy normally about a sequel or whatever they are or also why you look back in the old days, why actors and actresses work together or directors together, you don’t have to introduce yourself again. You know each other. There’s a comfort factor which makes it much easier. People know your own sense of humor. You’re not going to offend anybody. So, the comfort factor is really nice. That combined with the fact that Paul is just a sweetheart. He’s just a great, great guy so it sets the tone.
Most of my career I’ve been number one on a call sheet, the lead, and so to be in a supporting role in a picture like this, you watch how he does it, you assume a lot of responsibility. If you’re smart, if you’re the first, you set the tone. You’re the first one on the set, you make everybody else comfortable to make their best performances possible. I mean that’s just all part of the thing. So, that part was great with Paul.
And I was excited for Evangeline because if you remember the end the first one, I show her Janet’s suit and there’s this look in her eye as Hope when she sees her mother’s suit. But when I was looking at her while she was doing the scene, I saw Evangeline going ‘I’m going to be a superhero!’ I could see her. She’s loaded. She was ready to go and excited.
Then you get that wonderful thing of Marvel does a great job of casting, obviously. But you see, Michelle was just such a treat. I’m a tremendous Michelle Pfeiffer fan. Never imagined ever getting a chance to work with her. Needless to say, to play 30 years younger. So, that was great.
And Larry Fishburne is quite an actor. And then this young lady who I think you’ll be hearing a lot about is Hannah John-Kamen. We’re all talking about her almost like it was a sports team. We have this great rookie, this girl, she’s fantastic. And she really is. She’s wonderful.
What was your reaction to seeing yourself looking young on the screen?
MD – It cracks me up. I’ve never done any of these pictures before. The last one was the first green screen film. It’s just this whole other world. I’ve got a whole new appreciation for actors who can act when there’s nothing there. I mean it may be just basic bottom terrain but you’ll sit in these huge studios with green walls all around and this and that and Peyton telling you, ‘okay, the asteroids coming in here. Look up here, this and that.’ And you’re afraid you’re going to be embarrassed. And then you see it put together and they know what they’re doing.
What were your first impressions of walking on to set, in the new lab?
MD – I was trying to remember because last I remember, the PIM laboratory got demolished in the first one. But I must have put a lot of money away. I loved it. It was just staggering. It was absolutely stunning, one of the most beautiful sets I’d ever seen. Our production designer, he’d done a fantastic job.
How often did you have to stop because you couldn’t keep a straight face?
MD – With Paul it’s difficult because he ad libs so much. I’m a little jealous of Paul because I’m kind of carrying the storyline and having to go home to research about what the hell I’m talking about and all of this. And will pontificate and Paul will just come in with some one-liner and steal the scene! He’s unpredictable, wonderfully so. And funny. So, it happens a lot.
What do your kids think about your role in this film?
MD – When the first one was done, Dylan was maybe 15. And he came out of the movie and his arms were crossed. He’s an actor himself. He says, ‘dad, this is going to be very good for your career.’ I said, ‘oh?’ He goes ‘dad, you don’t understand, this is going to bring a new audience for you.’ He said, ‘I recommend you do a sequel if they offer it to you.’
I must say, I never anticipated and I’ll be talking sometimes and all feel something pulling on my coat, and I’ll look down and there will be a little five-year-old kid and go ‘Ant-Man.’ It introduces you to a whole bunch of people who didn’t see a lot of my movies.
This is that mini spoiler I warned you about.
Did you have a superhero moment when you put on the Ant-Man suit?
MD – I did! I must tell you, I was a little disappointed on the first one. I got my old suit back up so if this continues, my feeling is, if you get big or small and they can make you young, I might as well get back in tHow often did you have to stop because you couldn’t keep a straight face? here again.
I’ll leave you with some parting words from Michael Douglas that I find very fitting.
MD – The thing that struck me about Ant-Man and now Ant-Man and The Wasp in just the response that we’re getting. It’s such a divisive world right now, both in our country and just around the world and what’s happening. Everything seems to be getting fractionalized. One of the joys of this business is you make a movie like this, it’s a worldwide success. And the audiences from every continent go to see this movie and they laugh like we laugh. They move like you move. And it just brings everybody kind of closer together. It’s actually the aspect of our industry which I admire the most. And it seems like a good time that we need that.
Ant-Man and The Wasp is in theaters now!