Interview: Paul Rudd, Jonathan Majors and director Peyton Reed on the red carpet for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Celebrating its 15th year, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has (Hulk) smashed its way to over $26 billion dollars at the global box office, introducing an array of colourful characters along the way and changing the blueprint of what it is to be a cinematic event.

Kicking off Phase Five in the biggest way possible is Marvel’s smallest super-hero; Ant-Man.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) return to continue their adventures as Ant-Man and The Wasp. Together, with Hopes parents, Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) and Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and Scotts daughter Cassie Lang (Kathryn Newton), the family finds themselves exploring the Quantum Realm, interacting with strange new creatures and embarking on an adventure that will push them beyond the limits of what they thought possible.

As Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (read our review here) unleashes across cinema screens this week, Peter Gray spoke with Rudd, director Peyton Reed and franchise newcomer Jonathan Majors when they touched down in Sydney ahead of its premiere to treat fans to a special tease of the film, discussing the importance of cinema, going bigger for this bold threequel, and working with the one and only Michelle Pfeiffer.

Peyton, you’ve directed, what I think, are some of the best comedies of the last 20 years.  Bring It OnDown With Love.  Amazing.

Peyton Reed: Oh, thank you.

How did you find it going into the action space having comedy as your background?

Peyton Reed:  I loved it.  When I had the chance to jump into Ant-Man, I loved it because they are comedic in nature.  I was always a fan.  I grew up reading Marvel comics.  I love science-fiction.  (This) allowed me to do both.  With this third one, we’re going even bigger.  The bulk of this movie takes place in the Quantum realm, which we designed and created, and figured out all the rules and laws of physics down there, so it was a blast to do.  And to do it with these characters that we’re familiar with, and you’re going down there with this family, it’s thrilling to me!

I’m going to say first off, I Could Never Be Your Woman? Love that movie!

Paul Rudd: Oh my God! Nobody knows that movie!

How was it to work with Michelle Pfeiffer on that film as her love interest to then work on Ant-Man and the Wasp where it’s a more parental relationship almost?

Paul Rudd: (Laughs) Yeah, I know.  “Acting” (laughs), it’s so surreal.  I couldn’t believe with I Could Never Be Your Woman, I was like “Oh my…are you kidding me? I get to act opposite Michelle Pfeiffer? And she’s my love interest?”  It was amazing.  And then years later to work with her on this was great. She’s the loveliest person.  Oh man, she’s the best.  I was so happy when I saw her, when she showed up (on set) for the first time.  She’s just great.

On Ant-Man and the Wasp, we’re seeing that these big Marvel movies are what people are turning up to the cinema to in a climate that’s still finding its feet after these last few years.  Given how special these films are to audiences, is there a film for you that speaks to that love of cinema?

Paul Rudd: The first movie that made me cry when I was little was Bad News Bears.  I saw it in the theatres and loved it, loved it, loved it.  A movie I saw that I really loved, and just had uncontrollable tears, was Cinema Paradiso.  That movie came out and I remember thinking “I don’t want to see that movie again for 10 years, at least.  I don’t ever want to get used to this (film).  It’s too good.”

Holding that energy, how does that translate to Ant-Man?

Paul Rudd: Well, I don’t think you’ll cry as much as I did during Cinema Paradiso, but no one will cry as much as I did during Cinema Paradiso (laughs).  Cinema Paradiso was a love letter to theatres, and I think Ant-Man is a movie that should be seen in the theatres.  You just get lost in this world.  That’s the great thing about seeing a movie in a theatre.  No matter what it is, you leave your house to go somewhere, the light go down, it’s a communal experience, and you are completely transported to another world.  And you don’t get that by watching a movie on your phone.

I spoke to Paul just before, asking him about working with Michelle Pfeiffer.  I understand your characters have history in the film.  Are you able to expand on what it was like to work with her?

Jonathan Majors: Oh yeah, working with Michelle was incredible.  Working with Michael Douglas was incredible.  Legends.  Michelle has such generosity and seniority.  There’s an art and a science, not just to acting, but to making films.  And especially making these films.  Michelle has such a grasp on that.  As one of the running mates, she definitely gave off a sense of authority that allowed us to play.  And her as an actress? She’s a legend, for multiple reasons.  She looks at you with those eyes and then she speaks…her characterisation is so effortless.  It really allows us to hit a nice stride together.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is now screening in theatres globally.

Peter Gray

Seasoned film critic. Gives a great interview. Penchant for horror. Unashamed fan of Michelle Pfeiffer and Jason Momoa.