So much excitement came from the Ant-Man and the Wasp press conference in Pasadena, California, last weekend, but one moment that truly stood out the most was when Evangeline Lilly explained to us how she responds to her 7-year-old son who loves violent movies.
There really is no such thing as bad guys. There are only good guys who had made so many bad choices they have forgotten how to make good choices. A true hero's job is to remind them of their goodness. Not to annihilate them or kill them, it's to help them redeem themselves.
Her message on how we can all be true heroes by showing a little kindness and compassion towards each other, even our offenders, is so pertinent these days. This sentiment, loved by all in the room, by the way, has been echoing throughout our house all weekend long.
Alongside Evangeline's spotlight message was, of course, like any other MARVEL press conference, lots of laughs from the cast and team of MARVEL's Ant-Man and the Wasp. Did Paul Rudd give himself more lines than the other characters when writing this film? Or was this going to be the day Kevin Feige would finally say something he shouldn't at a press conference? (Boy, we all were hoping so). And who knew Evangeline could explain the Quantum Realm so perfectly. (She truly is a badass!) Check out the highlights from the Ant-Man and the Wasp press conference below, along with some of our favorite event photos!
Ant-Man and the Wasp opens in theaters this Friday!
Ant-Man and the Wasp Press Conference
Q: For Paul and Peyton. Paul, this is actually the third time you’ve played Ant-Man. How did you and Peyton approach, not only as the sequel to Ant-Man but a sequel to Captain America: Civil War?
Peyton Reed: It is a sequel to both movies, and what was cool about Captain America: Civil War is we could not ignore what had happened to Scott Lang in that movie, in this movie. It gave us an organic jumping off point because my first reaction was… what would Hank Pym and Hope Van Dyne think about Scott taking the suit and getting involved with this and fighting with the Avengers? Well, they’d be pissed off. So it really gave us this whole… starting point where it’s like, well, what if they were estranged at the beginning of the movie, as a result of this? You know, there are ramifications of the Sokovia Accords and Scott being on house arrest, and it really gave us a natural starting point.
Paul Rudd: One of the things that were nice is it gave us, I felt, a little bit of leeway, to lean into something maybe a little harder than we would have been able to at first because now the character has been established and we’ve seen Scott in two other films. People buy the abilities. They buy me in the role. They understand the rules. So it felt as if we had a little bit more freedom to… you don’t play into the humor. Would Scott do this? Would he make this, would he say this kind of thing? Would he make this kind of choice?
Whereas I think the first time around we were still modulating and so that was one of the really fun parts about this. I feel like we kind of went into it with a… let’s try it. Let’s go, let’s go. People… people know who this guy is already.
Q: Since Mr. Rudd helped to write the first movie and now this movie, do you all feel that he gave you guys as many good lines as he gave himself?
Peyton Reed: I’ve said this before. Paul’s as generous a writer as he is an actor. Paul could easily say, I’m getting all the lines. You’re not going to say this or do this, but you know, Paul always has the whole picture in mind when he’s writing and acting. Is that correct, Paul? Because that’s my perception.
Paul Rudd: I try to think of the film as a whole and I think of every character — but I will say this. This has been a collaborative effort, more than anything I’ve ever worked on and to think that I actually wrote it would be a gross overstatement. The truth of the matter is, Peyton has been working on this for a long time. Same with our producer, Stephen Broussard. Same with Kevin. But in particular, two writers, Erik Sommers, and Chris McKenna, who did a lot of the heavy lifting and those guys are great. I tip my cap to them.
Q: Peyton Reed, what in this movie was the most daunting sequence, and you were happiest to have finished when you filmed it?
Peyton Reed: There were a lot of daunting sequences because we really wanted to set out and go nuts with the Pym-Particle technology in this movie, and it occurred to us at some point, well, maybe it’s not just ant-man and wasp who can shrink maybe grow. What if it were vehicles, buildings, and other things, and we really wanted to go nuts with it. But what that did was create some real technical challenges.
We did a whole car chase that took us through the city of San Francisco and we wanted to do a chase that you just simply wouldn’t see in any other movie because of all the size changes. So that was probably the biggest challenge.
Q: Michael Peña is not here, but we have to talk about Luis. Mr. Peyton, how much fun was it for you to kind of expand his role and for Paul and Evangeline, the chance to play in his storytelling, flashback, something?
Peyton Reed: I think it was important. You know, I’d never done a sequel before, and I think one of the things I like in sequels is progressing the characters. In looking at the characters of Luis and Kurt and Dave, the ex-con guys, in the first movie, they’re ex-cons and they’re really trying to stay out of a life of crime and they discover what it feels like to be a hero. In this thing, it really felt like, let’s start them from a place where they’re on the straight and narrow now. They’re trying to start a small business. Scott’s involved in that business and he’s almost out of house arrest and are they going to make a go of this business?
I like the idea that this movie would have huge stakes, huge personal stakes, but also the success of their business also has huge stakes and particularly for Scott, I think that’s a thing he’s really wrestling with. In terms of the Luis storytelling, that’s always a fun thing to shoot and what we do basically is we shoot Michael telling the whole story, I’ll cut together, you know, the preferred takes and do basically what we call a “radio cut” and then, for example, if it’s Paul or Evangeline’s turn to do their lip syncing, we’ll take that little section on set, play it over and over through speakers so they can hear it and then just go at it multiple times, until we get a performance in it and something that syncs.
Q: Evangeline, since Wonder Woman, I get a little weepy any time I’m watching women kick ass in a movie. So I’m wondering, what was your favorite part of that wonderful fight sequence in the kitchen? Or just kind of on the whole what you loved doing with Hope and the Wasp in this film.
Evangeline Lilly: I loved getting to be a Bladerunner. That was pretty cool. The knife gag in the restaurant scene is very, very cool. I love the element of having somebody who’s completely in jeopardy, but also completely in control. As a superhero, that’s awesome. I saw that a lot like when the mallet comes down to hit her. You can see the oh, shit moment, but then she’s completely in control the next second. It was just fun to finally get to see her take on the mantle because this is something that she’s been ready and willing to do her, basically her whole life. Her parents are both superheroes and she was rearing to get in that suit for an entire film and we never got there. To actually see her fighting at that moment was, was wonderful.
Q: Is anyone comfortable explaining some of the quantum science that we play within the film?
Evangeline Lilly: I actually can answer that question because I really love quantum physics and always did before this happened, and that’s one of the reasons I was excited about this brand. I really dig quantum physics and, at one point, we thought the atom was the beyond all and end all; that everything ended at the atom. That was the smallest nucleus in the world, but actually, we discovered that the atom is kinetic and that atoms exist in multiple places at the same time. That was scientifically proven, and once you discover that, then you know that matter is kinetic and the matter is displacing all the time. If it can be displaced, it can be warped. If you can warp it then you can warp size. If you can warp matter and also, can you warp time? Can you warp reality? Can you warp universes?
Q: Kevin, speaking of the Quantum Realm and how we’ve been introduced to it and now in two films, three with Doctor Strange, what is the future of the Quantum Realm? Are we going to see it in future films?
Kevin Feige: Yeah, without giving anything away. These are all storytelling tools; new places, new things. In the first film, we got a glimpse of it for people who like to go through frame-by-frame, there was a little silhouette of Janet as the Wasp in there, which is a big story element in this movie. There are things that you see back there, that Peyton has put in there. Where and how they pay off in the near term, in the long term… remains to be seen.
Q: Hannah, there’s so many antagonists and villains in this role. I always ask the villain, was there a purpose and do they see themselves as the villain?
Hannah John-Kamen: Absolutely not. I definitely approach the character, not as a villain, at all. Definitely a threat to the characters and the heroes of the movie, but when you play a villain, you have to play it like you’re the good guy and everyone else is bad. The stakes are so high, she has such a clear objective in the movie and you know, every man for himself. Every woman for herself.
Q: Laurence Fishburn, as this the first Marvel role that came your way? And how come it’s taken so long for us to see you in the Marvel mode?
Laurence Fishburn: It is not the first Marvel role to come my way. In fact, years and years ago I ran into a guy named Tim Story who directed the movie Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and I said to him, “I am Norrin Radd,” and he said, “Who?” and I said, “I am Norrin Radd, and Norrin Radd is the guy who becomes the Silver Surfer and works for Galactus,” and all that stuff. So I voiced the Silver Surfer, Rise of the Silver Surfer and then I’ve been a reader since I was eight and a fan my whole life. I've really enjoyed the movies, and everything that they’ve done with MCU has been fantastic because what they’ve done is brilliantly braid the source material with, and bring it on into the now and so it’s amazing.
I realized that I was on the lot with Marvel, working at Blackish at ABC/Disney, and remembered that I had worked with Louis D’Esposito a hundred years ago. I thought I should go talk to them. Say, hey. What do I got to do? Who do I got to talk to, to be in the movies and they were kind enough to say, you know, we’ll think about that, Fish.
A couple of weeks later they were like, you know about this guy? And oddly enough, it was a guy I didn’t know about. Although I was a Marvel reader and a D.C. reader, mostly Marvel, I did not know about Bill Foster. I knew about Hank Pym because I think, and you’ll tell me if I’m right or wrong, but Ant-Man and Wasp became Avengers at some point. Did they not? That’s why I knew about Hank Pym and I knew about the Pym article and all of that, but I never got to Foster because I was never an Ant-Man reader. So Peyton sat me down and was kind enough to allow me to join the family and I’m just, I’m a kid in a candy store, man. Just having a good time.
Ant-Man and the Wasp Photo Gallery
About Ant-Man and the Wasp
From the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” a new chapter featuring heroes with the astonishing ability to shrink. In the aftermath of “Captain America: Civil War,” Scott Lang grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to rebalance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he’s confronted by Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from the past.