T.I. had a confession to make. Or rather, his “Ant-Man” character, Dave, did. As a kid, he used to blow up ants with a bottle rocket. Now he’s worried they might have it out for him.
“Do they know?” Dave asked.
“Yes, and they are still mad about it,” responded Paul Rudd, in character as Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man.
The guys, sitting in a van in the Pinewood Studios facility in Fayette County, had this conversation for about half an hour, tweaking the wording and delivery. After a while, someone asked “Ant-Man” director Peyton Reed which version he preferred.
“I like them all,” he said. “As long as it feels spontaneous.”
So it went the day in late November when we visited Pinewood to watch the filming of the first project to be housed there. The movie opens Friday.
“It’s been a fun shoot,” Rudd said after he climbed out of the van during a break. “It’s a great cast.”
He stayed in costume, as shedding the ant suit takes some doing.
“I have a pit crew,” he joked. “When we first started, it would take almost an hour. We’re down to 20 minutes.”
Before “Ant-Man,” Rudd filmed “Anchorman 2” and “Wanderlust” in and around metro Atlanta. Afterward, he returned for “The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving,” and he reprises his superhero for Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War,” filming now and also based out of Pinewood.
“I really like it here,” he said. “I’d rather shoot in Atlanta than L.A.”
He was drawn to the project because although it’s a blockbuster with lots of special effects, it’s at its core a compelling story.
“Marvel does a good job of telling these stories. In addition to great visual effects, they really focus on character and character development,” he said.
Marvel introduced the comic-book character Dr. Hank Pym/Ant-Man in 1962 and brought him back in 1963 in the first “Avengers” edition. Pym’s incredible scientific discovery allows him to shrink to the size of an ant with corresponding exponential strength, and to control armies of ants. In the movie opening Friday, Michael Douglas plays Pym, who’s in the market for a new Ant-Man. Lang, played by Rudd, is his guy.
The movie couldn’t be in a more eager director’s hands. Reed has been a comic book aficionado since early childhood, when he inherited a friend’s huge collection.
“I wasn’t a collector. I was a reader,” he said. “‘Ant-Man’ appealed to me. I like that it’s an original story. I’m so passionate about the material.”
T.I., also known as Clifford Harris Jr., is a comic book fan as well.
“They’ve done such magnificent work,” he said of the Marvel adaptation. “They take their work seriously. For me, just to be a part of the Marvel family has been an awesome experience.”
“Captain America: Civil War” finishes filming at Pinewood in a few weeks. Next up is “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” early next year. Could “Ant-Man 2” be on the future docket? Rudd didn’t want to hazard a guess but didn’t seem to mind pondering the idea.
“If this does well, there might be more,” he said, adding with a smile, “I’m not trying to start a rumor!”