Marvel Cinematic Universe
Cast: Michael Douglas, Bobby Cannavale, Judy Greer, Evangeline Lilly, Paul Rudd, Walton Goggins, Michael Pena, Michelle Pfeiffer, Laurence Fishburne, T. I.
Director: Peyton Reed
Genre: Action, Adventure
Running Time: 118 minutes
Synopsis: 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.
Ant-Man & the Wasp
Release Date: July 5th, 2018
About the Production
The Story: Family & Far-Out Fun
While audiences were primed for the next film in the "Ant-Man" franchise, ostensibly with a more prominent role for Evangeline Lilly as The Wasp, everyone was thrown a gigantic curveball by Ant-Man's appearance in "Captain America: Civil War." Ant-Man joining the fray with Cap and the Avengers firmly planted him within the Super Hero family, albeit a fractured, dysfunctional one. But, more importantly for Marvel aficionados, it also provided the setting for the splashy debut of Giant-Man, the oversized incarnation of our Super Hero.
"What's exciting about 'Ant-Man and The Wasp,'" says producer Kevin Feige, "is it's really a sequel to two movies. It's a follow-up to 'Ant-Man,' while also showing the aftermath of 'Captain America: Civil War.' For me, there's a tremendous amount of excitement when you're able to tell stories like this and combine characters from their origin movies and then layer in their appearances from other movies. Because of this strategy, Ant-Man post-'Civil War' has now been exposed to a much bigger audience."
Adds producer Stephen Broussard, "Scott Lang's participation in 'Civil War' ended up being a really great jumping off point for this movie. The events of 'Civil War' defined where Scott is in his life at this moment and laid the groundwork for the story that we tell in 'Ant-Man and The Wasp.'"
Having the story take place "in its own corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe" was important for how Reed approached the film. "The first 'Ant-Man' was a deliberately smaller, more intimate movie," he explains. "You have Sam Wilson appear, but that's really the only major link to the larger MCU. I like that about the Ant-Man universe, and really in 'Ant-Man and The Wasp' we're doubling down on that. We had talked a lot about what the point of entry to these characters was in 'Ant-Man and The Wasp' and what's happened in the intervening time. Of course, the one thing the audience knows is that Scott Lang is in a prison somewhere, but there's the hint that Captain America busts them out. So one of the big challenges was that, for the little amount of time that Scott Lang is in 'Civil War,' we had to take in account what that meant for these characters going forward."
The most exciting and anticipated reveal in the film is the introduction of The Wasp, which brings an amazing, female Super Hero to the big screen, and into the heart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Says Kevin Feige of the newly unveiled Super Heroine, "The reveal of The Wasp suit is one of our favorite endings of any of our films. It's something that she believes, that we believe and we think the audience believes when it comes to female superheroes. It is about damn time, and that's why the movie is called 'Ant-Man and The Wasp.'"
For director Peyton Reed, it was a privilege to spearhead the big-screen debut of The Wasp, whose introduction also marks the first female character to be featured in the title treatment of a Marvel Studios film. "There are a lot of things that excite me about 'Ant-Man and The Wasp,'" comments Reed. "But I think the biggest thrill is to introduce The Wasp to film audiences for the first time and see Hope van Dyne as a fully formed Super Hero with an amazing power set. To reveal the new rapport between her and Scott Lang and to show how she fits in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, frankly, a fun process for me and even a bit awe-inspiring."
Reed was particularly keen to jump back into the story line and pick up where he left off with Scott, Hope van Dyne and Hank Pym. He states, "In the first 'Ant-Man' there was so much to set up. We had to set up the mythology of Hank Pym and the powers of Ant-Man. And then we had to set up Scott Lang as an ex-con and how he comes upon the Ant-Man technology. And we had to tell the story of who Hope van Dyne is. And then we had to give a little taste of Janet and Hank together. And then we had to establish that he controls ants too. That it's not just the shrinking. There was a lot packed into it."
He continues, "But in this one, for the most part, we were free to start a scene where ants are doing something particular and let the audience discover what ants do in this universe. We don't have to spend story time setting that up. So there is something really liberating about that, and that we can hit the ground running in this movie."
Revisiting the prevailing theme of family, an integral part of "Ant-Man," was a no-brainer when crafting the story line for this next installment. It was the heart of the first film, and the filmmakers wanted to explore more of that through the Van Dyne-Pym and Lang extended families.
Explains Reed, "In my mind, the family dynamic is so crucial to what the 'Ant-Man' movies are. Scott Lang is the real everyman in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He's not a super scientist; he's not a billionaire. He's just a normal guy who doesn't have superpowers. It's all about that suit. There's a part of Scott that has a take-it or-leave-it attitude about whether he's a hero or not. After inadvertently putting his daughter in harm's way and then facing life in prison never to see his daughter again, Scott is ambivalent about being Ant-Man, and we definitely tell that story."
Adds Feige, "What's exciting about all of our characters is their humanity. Scott Lang, in particular, has a much deeper connection with family. The relationship between him and Cassie was the backbone of 'Ant-Man.' We've expanded this further in 'Ant-Man and The Wasp' with Scott's bigger family unit and with Hank, Hope and Janet. I think that's what audiences respond to. Of course, you still get the spectacle, and you get the fun of Ant-Man shrinking and now growing but you also have this very deep family connection, which is unique among all of our Marvel Studios films."
Both Ant-Man and The Wasp have their own specialized skill set, and it will be a daunting proposition for the couple, following a brief romantic history, to rise above it all without derailing Hank's well-laid plans. Together they have the potential to be unstoppable, but getting to that point will be problematic. Hope, however, is still as driven as ever and has had two years to hone her now-impressive skills and honestly has no interest in or need for Ant-Man. But when faced with obstacles on all fronts a partnership is a necessity she cannot afford to ignore. "Hope at the beginning of the movie seems very clear about what her attitude is but she's going to learn a lot throughout the course of this story," says Reed.
"'Ant-Man and The Wasp' is a two-hander between Hope van Dyne and Scott Lang," offers Feige. "You could see in 'Ant-Man' that Hope was frankly more capable than Scott was at being a Super Hero, and her father, because of the loss of her mother, emotionally didn't want her to do this. Now we get to see her take the gloves off and become a Super Hero. So that changes their whole dynamic together, and we get to see whether they will be able to act as a unified team, as Ant-Man and The Wasp."
The tone of the film follows the precedent of the first, with humor mixed with true-crime elements. As Broussard explains, "The first film definitely played with the heist genre, which is a tried-and-true crime genre, and we continue to look at the franchise as a series of films that play in the crime genres. So we started to play around with different crime genres and what I call 'crime-adjacent' genres. And one of the things that inspired us on this go-round was a type of subgenre that I'm sure people know by many names but I've always called it 'one bad night,' meaning something has to happen, usually on the edges of the law, and you think it should be simple but it just spirals out of control and things get worse and worse and worse." He adds, "We were also inspired by the crime novels of Elmore Leonard, who's written all sorts of great books, a lot of which have been turned into movies like 'Get Shorty' and 'Out of Sight.' They all have these fringe characters who are quirky in their own ways. So as we looked to craft who the villains are in this movie, who the antagonists and the people standing in the way of Scott and company, we were very much inspired by that crime writing as well."
Upping the ante for the fun elements of shrinking and growing was an important directive for the filmmakers.
"Shrinking and growing as a visual concept, as a sci-fi idea, as a superhero idea is so cool," says Broussard. "And there are so many different things you can do with it. They did some amazing things in the first movie with it, but I think we all agree we only just scratched the surface there. There's so much more to go. So much of that movie was about learning that this technology exists, learning how to use it, learning what it means. This movie starts, and everybody knows that already."
But for Reed, as much as he is invested in telling a good story with all the fun elements of shrinking and growing, he's a true fan of comics, so there is a legitimate excitement to bring the unlikeliest of Super Heroes to the forefront in fun, inventive ways that are both relatable and accessible. "I love the Ant-Man universe," admits Reed.
"It's not taking place in outer space or Asgard. It's the real mundane, normal world. But we get to experience it from these weird, radically different perspectives. That is what's really fun about the 'Ant-Man' films. There's something really childlike about Ant-Man's power set because it puts you down on the floor where kids play with action figures."
Adds Feige about the excitement of finally putting Ant-Man and The Wasp on screen, "We wanted to deliver on the promise at the end of 'Ant-Man.' When you look at the history of the comics, Ant-Man and The Wasp were one of the great team-ups of Marvel. We'd already touched on that a little bit in the flashback in the first film with the original Ant-Man and Wasp, and we absolutely wanted to see that now in the modern day. Hope and Scott as these two Super Heroes who couldn't be more different is the perfect way to delve into their potential to live up to this iconic duo and pick up that mantle."
Meet The Cast: Familiar & Fresh Faces
After his exploits with the Avengers in "Captain America: Civil War," Scott Lang, the good-hearted ex-con, finds himself under house arrest. But when he faces the decision to once again don the Ant-Man suit, Scott is conflicted, as he is struggling to find a way to get his life back on track and be the best possible father to Cassie that he can be.
Paul Rudd reprises the role he originated of Scott Lang/AntMan. When it came to stepping back into the shoes of the reluctant Super Hero facing the unimaginable, Rudd took on a singular approach. "One of the things that I really like about playing this character is that Scott is thrown into these extraordinary circumstances of shrinking and flying around on ants and dealing with life-threatening situations," says Rudd. "I've always tried to sustain his way of dealing with everything with a sense of humor and a carefree attitude. I think it gives an audience a fun ride to see somebody like Scott Lang take in all of this craziness. So, for me, that's fun to play."
Says producer Stephen Broussard of the star, "Paul has brought Scott Lang to life with so much humanity and heart and humor. He's so naturally funny and likable in everything that he brings to the character. Paul plays Scott Lang as someone that you care very deeply for, someone that when he messes up or does the wrong thing you feel for him, but you also can't help but still like him and want him to be pulled back into the role of hero. And walking that line as an actor is not easy. It's a testament to Paul's innate abilities as an actor, as a comedian and as a writer. It's been fun to watch him bring the dad-in-chief of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to life."
From the beginning Rudd, who is also a writer on the film, and director Peyton Reed were in sync about the film's direction, which mirrored their collaboration on "Ant-Man." "Ever since Peyton came on board we both agreed that we wanted to create something that was fun and original within this genre. First and foremost, laughs would be important but so would the emotional moments. You will still be wowed by the visual effects, but we'd also make them funny. I feel like we've always been on the same page as far as the movie we want to make, so that just allows trust for me as an actor to know that he's getting what he needs."
As far as the comedy moments go, they would indeed prove to be an important part of "Ant-Man and The Wasp," and for Rudd having creative partners with similar tastes helped elevate the material in unexpected ways. "Peyton and I like weird jokes, as does Kevin Feige, Stephen Broussard and most of the Marvel team," says Rudd. "They're all comedy lovers, so it's kind of nice to work on something where you can make a random Neil Hamburger reference, and the head of the studio knows what you're talking about because nobody else does."
Hope Van Dyne/The Wasp
Now a fugitive with her father, Hank, the brilliant scientist has used her time in hiding to master her new role as The Wasp, but she isn't quite ready to team up with Scott for their most important mission ever. But reuniting her family depends on it, so she is forced to seek his help.
Evangeline Lilly returns to her role of brilliant quantum physicist Hope van Dyne. While she's as focused and determined as ever, a very different Hope van Dyne emerges in "Ant-Man and The Wasp." Lilly was over the moon knowing that the next installment of the "Ant-Man" story line would introduce The Wasp. "I was excited to play Hope again for so many reasons," comments Lilly. "In 'Ant-Man' she went through this enormous emotional arc. So it was exciting to have the chance to go back to this character and play her in a new space, a space where she is more at ease in her own skin and more at ease in her relationship with her father."
"But I have to admit," she adds with a laugh, "my primary motivation to come back was to put on that suit and play The Wasp. Hope so desperately wanted to follow in the footsteps of her incredible superhero parents, so she's finally doing that and doing it very well."
The actress was also enthusiastic to return to the "Ant-Man" family to collaborate with Peyton Reed again. For Lilly, there is no better champion to helm the next chapter in the "Ant-Man" saga. "There's really nobody better to navigate through this second journey with than Peyton Reed," says Lilly. "The scope of this film is so much bigger than the first film. It feels a little more epic, which is exciting, but also what's wonderful is we never lose that sweet family-driven story that's at the heart of it all. That's what I love the most about the Ant-Man brand, and it's something you can expect again from 'Ant-Man and The Wasp.'" As Lilly prepared for her return to the role, she knew the physical preparation for The Wasp action sequences would be vital to building the character. More importantly, she understood that the new backstory for Hope, the Super Hero, would wholly inform that relationship between Hope and Scott, which is the bedrock to the "Ant-Man and The Wasp" story line.
Remarks Lilly, "The relationship between Hope and Scott in 'Ant-Man' was really straighƞorward, and as an actress I always knew very clearly where things stood. Hope couldn't stand him for the majority of the film and then eventually realised he's okay. 'Ant-Man and The Wasp' is a bit complicated, and a lot more challenging to know how exactly to hit the tone of their relationship. Hope just lives to be The Wasp but definitely harbors feelings of anger, hurt and resentment when Scott made the choice to go to Berlin without her. That's the hardest thing for her to swallow, but she's got this mission and she's really focused on her mother, so the stakes are so high."
Dr. Hank Pym
As the original tiny Super Hero, inventor of the Pym Particle and founder of Pym Technologies, Hank Pym, now a fugitive with Hope, faces his most important mission ever as he confronts the repercussions of his past while trying to protect the future of his family.
Two-time Academy Award®–winning actor Michael Douglas returns as Hank Pym, and revisiting the role with his compatriots had a great appeal for the legendary actor. "The best part about returning for a sequel is the opportunity to again work with Peyton, Paul and Evangeline," Douglas says.
"There's that feeling of familiarity that informs the filmmaking process. You also get to define your character more. Hank Pym is the straight man who keeps the story grounded."
Hank Pym's complicated relationship with his daughter, Hope, is in a better place in the beginning of the film. Hope has begun to resolve her issues with her father while discovering more about herself. Hank has been affected by the daring exploits with Hope and Scott, and with the new revelation that Scott survived his journey to the Quantum Realm, he has renewed hope that Janet could be alive.
Feige explains further, "Hank and Hope have grown a lot closer since the first film. The adventure they went on, the catharsis that they experienced, has them in a much better place. Hope now wears The Wasp suit and is a hero in her own right. Hank has that joy of fatherhood seeing his daughter become this amazing hero. But at the same time, he now believes that he can find his wife in the Quantum Realm and has become obsessed with that and begins to invent new tech to try to contact her in the Quantum Realm."
As the innovator who discovered and developed the chemical substance known as the Pym Particle, Hank is an accomplished man of science whose run-ins over the years with the likes of Howard Stark and S.H.I.E.L.D. have made him overly cautious and protective of his work.
Peyton Reed offers some insight into Hank Pym's personality. "In the first movie, Hank Pym is a bit of an unreliable mentor. He definitely had a short fuse and may have had some anger issues, and he definitely had some control issues, particularly with regards to his technology. In this movie, we do start to learn that there is a pattern to the way Hank Pym behaves. He doesn't play so well with others and thinks he knows the best way, but it's not always the best way. So he is a very flawed mentor, and that can create some issues for the people who he's mentoring. And I like that. It plays into the strengths of Michael Douglas as an actor. There's a real beautiful gray area to most of the characters that he plays." He adds, "Hank Pym is definitely a hero, but he does make some decisions that might be a little morally dubious.
But it makes him interesting, and that's what I like about Hank."
For Douglas, being in a Marvel Studios film has brought him some unexpected experiences as an actor. "I've now got this whole new generation of young people yelling, 'Hey, Hank Pym!,' so I must say, it flatters you after doing this for 50 years to be discovered by this new group of fans. My whole career has pretty much been all contemporary comedies and dramas, so to dip my toe into this other world where anything goes is a trip. I've enjoyed it."
Janet Van Dyne
Janet van Dyne is the original Wasp to Hank's Ant-Man. An accomplished scientist in her own right, she saved millions of lives by disarming a missile bound for the United States. But in the process, she became lost in the Quantum Realm"a subatomic world beyond our own. Now her family believes they just might be able to bring her home.
Academy Award®–nominated actress Michelle Pfeiffer was always the go-to for filmmakers when it came to visualizing Janet van Dyne, from even the earliest stages of development of "Ant-Man." Says Broussard, "We know we're asking a lot from our audience to invest themselves in the story's search for a character that they've never met and don't know as a person. We knew we needed an actress of a certain caliber and gravitas who possessed the talent and ability to carry the character throughout the movie. Filming with Michelle has reinforced all those things. It's been amazing to watch her step into the MCU in such a big way." Pfeiffer was drawn to the strong character and the opportunity to play a Marvel Super Hero. "I wasn't familiar with Janet van Dyne before this," says Pfeiffer, "and I loved that she's such a seminal character in the Marvel comic-book world and that she was one of the founding members of the Avengers." She adds, "I love that at this phase in my life I'm playing a superhero. I think it's incredible. And the message that it sends to women of all ages and all demographics is that we're strong and we're independent and we're capable, and vital parts of society. I love sending that message out in the universe." For Pfeiffer, a strong female character will always grab her attention, so the in-depth conversations she had with director Peyton Reed as he laid out his thoughts on the modern-day interpretation of Janet van Dyne were riveting. "Peyton and I spoke at length about Janet," relates Pfeiffer, "and he always stressed that, yes, she was a brilliant scientist unto herself, but at the heart of it all she is a warrior who has managed to survive on her own terms in the Quantum Realm. Honestly, I think she is a lot fiercer now than the original concept of the character, which is exciting to me."
The assembling of star power on set was sometimes a surreal experience for the whole cast. Almost every actor had a moment when they realised they were in such esteemed company and needed a moment to take it all in.
"It's pretty great to work with this cast," acknowledges Rudd, "But it doesn't matter how many films you do; there are moments where sometimes you find yourself on a set in a scene and think, 'Oh, wow, there's Laurence Fishburne, and there's Michael Douglas, and there's Michelle Pfeiffer. They're all talking to each other and, 'Whoa, how did I get here?' It's pretty cool."
Lilly, too, remains incredulous at her great fortune of working with acting legends that are totally committed to their roles. "How can I give a bad performance working with Michelle Pfeiffer? How can I be bad working with Michael Douglas? If I do, it's all on me. It's my fault. I did it. I screwed up, because they're both so amazingly good."
The X-Con Security Crew
Michael Peña (Luis)
David Dastmalchian (Kurt)
Tip "T.I." Harris (Dave)
"The Three Wombats," as Hank inelegantly dubbed the trio of petty criminals who are Scott Lang's friends, provided some of the more hilarious and memorable moments in "Ant-Man," but their escapades with AntMan left an indelible impression, showing them they too could be heroes.
Even with the cards stacked against them, this story finds the career criminals continuing to find their footing as upright, law-abiding citizens of the world. "In the course of the Pym tech heist in the first movie, these guys have started to learn what it feels like to be heroes," notes Peyton Reed. "And what does that mean for them now? So a big part of the movie is what these guys are doing, and what their lives look like now as they're living on the up and up. They're still a part of Scott's life."
Portrayed by Michael Peña, Luis is the fast-talking excon with the vivid imagination who has big plans to start X-Con Security. This budding business is their ticket to legit success"if they don't get sidetracked by Scott's newest adventure.
With "Ant-Man," Reed mined great comedy moments from Rudd and Peña. The pair have an easy on-set rapport that allows for a more fluid approach to their scenes, which Reed would take advantage of by tossing out direction, eliciting a free-form style of improv. Once again Luis' unique perspective of storytelling, reenacted by each character, ramps up the film's laugh quotient.
Peña was happy to return to the "Ant-Man" franchise, and with a beefed-up role he saw more screen time and more action moments, which was an unexpected surprise. Peña comments, "Luis is running a security store, basically selling little security things and setting up security for other people. That plays into the plot a little bit later in the story and lands Luis right in the middle of the action."
Peña is a fan of Luis' positive outlook on life. Despite a penchant for getting into trouble, he's a sweet character who, like Scott, is embracing his inner hero and aspiring for a better life. "Luis is such a fun-loving dude," remarks Peña. "Although he's been in and out of jail for some minor stuff, he is always really positive, and I think that's really kind of endearing. He still has an optimistic viewpoint towards life. Especially now as he and Scott are building a business and potentially a new life."
David Dastmalchian was looking forward to returning to the role of Kurt, the Russian-American ex-con with the sky-high pompadour and unparalleled computerhacking skills. But as an enormous comic-book fan, he was equally excited to see what Reed and Feige had in store for the next chapter in the "Ant-Man" chronicles.
Scott has motivated Luis, Kurt and Dave to think bigger, and they have, as Dastmalchian points out. "We're legitimate. We have assisted a Super Hero and, for excons who couldn't get a job at the Baskin-Robbins, that's life-changing. I love that, in the beginning, Kurt started as a guy believing he was a social pariah who over the course of this adventure comes to recognise that his talents can be used for good. They've all done something good that's inspired them to do more. That's one of the reasons why I was eager to join 'Ant-Man and The Wasp.'"
Rounding out the trio of wombats is Tip "T.I." Harris as Dave, who once again puts his talents as a logistics specialist and skilled driver to use as they become entangled in Scott's newest exploits as Ant-Man.
"Dave is a little more talkative in this film," Harris offers. "In 'Ant-Man' he began as a bit of an introvert. I believe he had one of those 'just came home from prison,' 'don't trust anybody/don't talk to anybody' complexes. But now he's grown into his own a bit. With X-Con Security, he's actually taking that responsibility very seriously and is just excited to be building a new life. Honestly, you can't find a better business for these guys, either.
Sometimes it takes a crook to catch a crook."
Judy Greer (Maggie)
Bobby Cannavale (Jim Paxton)
Abby Ryder Fortson (Cassie)
For Scott's immediate family, his relationship with his daughter, Cassie, is flourishing despite the house arrest.
The tension with his ex-wife, Maggie, and her husband, Paxton, has mellowed since "Ant-Man."
The revelation that he is in fact a Super Hero has mitigated the resentment and distrust, and despite being homebound, Scott makes a tremendous effort to be a good father to Cassie. But, as always, circumstances force Scott, and even Cassie, to hide secrets, which provide more lovable comedic moments in the film. Maggie is once again played by the incomparably funny and talented Judy Greer, while the multifaceted Bobby Cannavale returns to the role of Jim Paxton, Maggie's husband and a police officer, who has newfound respect for Scott.
As Rudd explains it, "We have a very highly functioning family within all of this dysfunction. Maggie and Paxton provide some great comic relief in the film. There's really a wacky, unconventional family dynamic that is interesting to me, and it's something that you don't see much in superhero movies. I think that the fun that Bobby, Judy and I have on set translates onto the screen."
Rudd and Cannavale, who are longtime friends, and Greer established an immediate kinship working with each other on the set of "Ant-Man," and they effortlessly picked up where they left off once filming began on "Ant-Man and The Wasp." The off-screen bond remains and still translates like gangbusters on screen. Says Greer of the on-set atmosphere, "Paul, Bobby and I just have such a good time together. They have been best friends forever, so being around those two is always fun. Peyton encourages improv, so we are always riffing and trying to come up with a funny piece of dialogue or moment in a scene. Even with all the joking around between takes, I've seen Paul take something funny and, on the fly, just seamlessly navigate it into something real and meaningful."
Cannavale, who is a parent, totally understands the willingness of parents to do whatever is needed for their children and overall family unit. "The Ant-Man films are more family-friendly and a bit different than other superhero films, which is something that I appreciate," comments Cannavale. "At the end of 'Ant-Man,' you're able to see this idea of a nontraditional family working out, so to be able to further this idea that a family can come in many different forms was pretty nice. Now you see that Paxton's relationship with Scott has changed a lot. He is invested in this friendship and has a real interest in Scott's well-being and Scott's commitment to fly right, which I think is part of the bigger commitment they all have to co-parent Cassie."
Three years after the release of "Ant-Man," Abby Ryder Fortson still retains the sassy demeanor that made her memorable as Scott's young daughter, Cassie. Now nine years old, Fortson feels that Cassie, too, has grown up a bit and will do whatever is necessary to help her father. "Cassie has been spending lots of time with her dad and is so happy because he actually shows her what it's like to be a superhero when they play," says Abby. "Her mom and Paxton aren't anti-superhero, but they don't want him to get in trouble again. But Cassie knows if they find out he's Ant-Man again, they will try to stop him, so she hides it from them to save her dad. She knows he's doing something good to help Hope and Hank Pym."
This elusive foe poses the biggest threat to Hank and Hope as they try to unravel the truth from their past, but when Scott joins in he, too, becomes a target. Her reasons are personal, and Hank's newest piece of technology is at the heart of it all.
What would a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie be without a bigger-than-life villain? In the story, Ant-Man and The Wasp come up against an enthralling adversary called Ghost, whose origins lie within the Marvel Comics canon ("Iron Man" #219) as a male character shrouded in secrecy.
This character was an intriguing starting point for the filmmakers. With no tangible backstory to the character, the writers had the freedom to extrapolate it into fresh new territory for the feature adaptation. Says Feige of their aim, "There are a lot of great Marvel Comics characters that we haven't tapped into, so as we were developing the story for 'Ant-Man and The Wasp,' we began to play with this notion of the Quantum Realm and the way physics changes the body when you begin to experiment with it. We decided to adapt a character from the comics called Ghost, who is able to go through walls and be completely intangible."
While some remnants of the original character remain, Ghost is now the alter ego of a young woman named Ava, portrayed by British actress Hannah John-Kamen. For the actress, another lifelong comic-book fan, joining the MCU was a surreal experience, one that offered her the added benefit of a plum role that arƞully blended drama, humor and action. "There are so many layers to this character," says John-Kamen. "Her situation is not black and white. It's not about world domination or good and evil. I was amazed at her vulnerability and felt really connected to Ava."
Describing Ghost's goal, Feige says, "As Hank continues to develop the technology to find Janet, Ava realises that those new devices might be able to help her and put her out of this pain and make her tangible once again. That, of course, puts her in direct conflict with Hank, Ant-Man and The Wasp."
Adds Broussard, "We have a villain that doesn't want to take over the world, or get rich or do anything that has these world stakes. It's literally about survival that makes her a villain, and the complication is that she needs what our heroes need. So suddenly you have heroes and villains after the same thing for very grounded, relatable and emotional reasons."
Says Broussard of casting John-Kamen in the role, "Because of the air of mystery about this role, we wanted someone perhaps a little less recognizable to the movie-going audiences. Hannah just blew us away with her intensity, her vulnerability, and with her sense of humor. You need someone who can engender sympathy and vulnerability for what they're going through but also still be scary as the heavy and the villain. And Hannah checked all those boxes for us."
For John-Kamen, working with director Peyton Reed for the first time was a very positive experience. "What I love about his process is that he knows and understands every beat of the scene," remarks John-Kamen. "He gives you that freedom to go for it and see where it takes you. Then he'll come in and literally direct you on that beat. I don't feel like I'm restricted in any way, especially with this character. And I think it's important for a director and an actor's relationship to have freedom and an open dialogue about the scene and the character."
Bill Foster is a former colleague of Hank and Janet's who reluctantly becomes embroiled in Hank's plan to reunite his family. Old animosities bubble up between the two scientists, whose approaches to their mutual research have led them down different paths.
For Laurence Fishburne, a longtime Marvel Comics fan, having the opportunity to play scientist Bill Foster, a former colleague of Hank Pym's, was not something to be passed up. "I just was really hungry to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe," says Fishburne. "I would've played an asteroid in any movie given the opportunity! So the fact that Kevin and Peyton found that I was a good match for the character of Bill Foster is huge. It's a dream come true for me."
He adds, "What initially excited me about the role of Bill Foster is that he is a scientist in his own right, a contemporary of Hank Pym's with the same level of smarts and curiosity. The fact that I'd be playing scenes with Michael Douglas and be a foil to him was a big factor. I've never worked with him before, so who in their right mind would walk away from that?"
Fishburne's initial conversations with the director revealed their shared love of comics, and an immediate rapport was established. Recalls Fishburne, "When I first met Peyton it was like meeting an old friend. We share a love for the medium of comic books and a real appreciation and understanding about why these stories are relevant to people. We connected on that level, so there's a natural ease and flow to working with each other."
Sonny Burch is a genteel but menacing gangster who dabbles in black-market tech. He has his sights set on controlling Hank's newest piece of technology"and the billions of dollars it will bring him.
Walton Goggins joins the cast to play the gangster Sonny Burch. For an actor with the versatility to play comedy, drama and sometimes a hybrid of both, Goggins was looking forward to mixing it up with Reed and the cast. "When Peyton first told me about the role, I was excited about what he had to say since I was such a fan of the first movie," says Goggins. "To me it was a real opportunity to kind of play in the sandbox with a group of people with some extraordinary imaginations."
FBI Agent Jimmy Woo is Scott Lang's watchful keeper and heads up the team monitoring Scott to make sure he stays within the parameters of his house arrest.
Randall Park, who plays FBI Agent Jimmy Woo, collected comic books when he was growing up, so being part of "Ant-Man and The Wasp" is not just work for him, it's fun as well. He recalls, "My favorite comics were the 'X-Men' and 'Wolverine.' I think that's kind of what nabbed me, and I got into a lot of the Marvel titles from there on out."
Creating The Worlds: It's All About Perspective
Exploration of more new worlds began in the summer of 2017 when principal photography on "Ant-Man and The Wasp" commenced almost three years after "Ant-Man" was filmed. Filming took place in Atlanta, Georgia, for the bulk of the shooting schedule. Cast and crew then traveled to San Francisco to shoot on location in the Bay Area.
For producer Kevin Feige, exploring new worlds in films is the rule of the day. "Marvel Studios films are meant to take you to worlds you've never seen before," says the producer. "That's what we deliver on all of our movies from 'Guardians of the Galaxy' to 'Captain America: Civil War.' 'Ant-Man,' in particular, when you got down to the micro realm and then go into the Quantum Realm, is not dissimilar to the dimensions we explored in 'Doctor Strange.' I think global audiences like to experience the unique and unexpected."
Pinewood Atlanta Studios is home to many of Marvel Studios' productions and was the home base for "Ant-Man and The Wasp." Production crews filmed on multiple soundstages there as well as took advantage of Atlanta's diverse landscape to film scenes to match the San Francisco-based story line.
Production designer Shepherd Frankel, who designed the incredible eye-popping sets for "Ant-Man," returns for this next chapter and is doubling down on his visually arresting production design that involves playing with scale. For "Ant-Man and The Wasp," he opted to build more oversized set pieces wherever he could to realistically integrate it into the landscape.
Working together with visual effects supervisor Stephane Ceretti, Academy Award®–winning special effects supervisor Dan Sudick and their respective teams allowed innovative shrinking and enlarging for both our heroes and their surroundings, once again upping the ante for action and comedy on "Ant-Man and The Wasp" for maximum visual punch.
Frankel is always keen to establish a coherent visual narrative with riveting imagery, especially with the unique material to be mined from the "Ant-Man" franchise. "One of the things that's so special about 'Ant-Man and The Wasp' is it's a film that takes place with everyday people in everyday circumstances, and that is what anchors the film," comments Frankel. "But once we shrink down or grow big, we find ourselves entering these extraordinary worlds. One of the things that is important to 'Ant-Man and The Wasp' is that this movie is about people trying to fulfill their goals, in this case trying to put a family together. For me, this all takes place within the corners and the in-between spaces of San Francisco, which is unexpected and exciting."
With Hank and Hope living underground trying to stay a step ahead of the authorities after Ant-Man's highprofile participation with the Avengers in Berlin, Hank devises a genius ploy to complete his mission of finding his beloved Janet"a state-of-the-art lab that he is able to shrink and grow to allow for continued research while on the lam.
"It's remarkable," says Paul Rudd. "Hank's lab, which shrinks and grows and is a mobile lab, houses the tunnel into the quantum universe and is the way to Janet. Everyone has their reasons for wanting the lab. Obviously Hank, Hope and Scott want to find Janet, Ghost wants to find Janet for her own reasons and Burch wants the lab because he's a tech black-market wheeler-dealer. The lab and the quantum tech end up being the end game for everyone."
Utilizing the adage of hiding in plain sight, a bland mid-century office building is the perfect cover for the topnotch techno eye-candy housed inside. The genius of it all being that Hank has improvised this spectacle of a workplace with everyday items that have been repurposed for unexpected uses. The familiar and ordinary"a paper clip, a wooden clothespin, a radio knob, a fuse, children's toys, a light bulb and a plastic bread clip" become foreign and extraordinary.
Although Hank's Victorian house-cum-lab was the centerpiece of Frankel's production design in "Ant-Man," he admittedly has eclipsed that set with this newest lab, a spectacle of a set that was constructed and finished over a four-month period on a 15,000-square-foot soundstage at Pinewood.
From the beginning, Frankel knew building the set would be a herculean effort. He was essentially building a fully engineered, multi-story building able to accommodate a tremendous weight load of materials, lighting and filming equipment and dozens of people when it was ready for filming. The whole structure would then be encircled within a visual effects green screen curtain so Ceretti and his department could create their digital surroundings as needed.
Once the infrastructure of steel framework was brought in, affixed to the soundstage floor and constructed, input from multiple departments began. The construction department continued its work with special effects, grip, electric and others joining the process. This wasn't just one enormous film set but literally eight different mini-sets within the structure. Courtesy of an industrial-sized 3D printer, the team was able to print well over 8,000 pieces to comprise many of the fun elements within the lab set.
Having a practically built set was pivotal to the action that played out there. From the beginning, Frankel had an ally in director Peyton Reed to realize the lab as a fully functional set. "Peyton was such a supporter and led the charge to build the lab set," remarks Frankel. "He really wanted this movie to feel tactile because, once you're dealing with the subject matter of shrinking people, flying ants and the Quantum Realm, you really want everything else to be super-tactile. This has been a huge challenge, and even though it was hard to build this set, the payoff and the excitement is super-rewarding."
There is thought and intent to what Frankel and Reed wanted to convey: the incongruity of scale would keep the film audience off-balance. Whether it's an Erector Set toy piece that helps fabricate a staircase or a bread clip holding a cable together, it all throws the audience a visual curveball when they see the set for the first time and discover these gems.
Says Frankel of his intent to create something surprising, "We wanted this moment of walking into the lab to be really dramatic, like walking underneath the whale at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. You're in awe. One of our main themes of this environment is to give our audience a very distinct change of scale that leaves them wondering, 'Am I big or am I small?' Or, 'What is going on?'"
The lab set is also a testament to Dr. Hank Pym's brilliance and resourcefulness. He is wholeheartedly old-school, which is evident in the mix of analog items and digital technology to create his lab chock-full of cutting-edge technology. His approach to quantum physics and his work in general are decidedly utilitarian compared to the flashier tech-savvy approach of Tony Stark and Stark Industries. Hank can "MacGyver" the simplest of items to satisfy his own high-tech needs with equal, if not better, results.
Frankel's team, including set decorator Gene Serdena, kept that in mind as they began filling in the enormous space with a highly curated mix of pieces. Oversized items blend in perfectly with piles of notes and diagrams detailing technology of the quantum gate. From 3D printers to standard office furniture, it all illustrates Hank Pym's thinking process.
"If you look around the set you see bits and pieces that show how Hank Pym is not just a purchaser, he's a maker," says Frankel. "Everything about what he, Hope and the ants have done is an analog-beta version. If you look closely, you quickly see the lab isn't just an average building but a highly calibrated ecosystem, which supports Hank Pym's life work."
While how Hank's lab is built is key, you can't help but focus on what it does once you're oriented to the space.
The quantum tunnel itself comprises the central part of the set with a quantum pod, the transport vehicle, docked and ready to make the jump into the quantum universe.
For the quantum tunnel look, Reed wanted to honor and reference the traditional time tunnel but also elevate it to a whole new level, which Frankel was happy to do. The visual effects and special effects teams helped create this gateway, which has built-in LED lighting effects.
While Marvel Studios fans saw more of the Quantum Realm in "Doctor Strange," Feige always knew they would revisit it in this chapter to provide the biggest payoff. "We always knew that by introducing the Quantum Realm in 'Ant-Man' we were beginning to peel back the onion that would later be completely peeled back in 'Doctor Strange' as we go into the multiverse. That was our little test. The Quantum Realm is a whole other territory and a whole other terrain that we can play with to tell our stories. Is Janet, Hank's long-lost wife, the original Wasp, still down there in the Quantum Realm? That's the crux of the entire film that we're making now."
Inarguably the most visually fun aspect of watching Ant-Man shrink was getting a tiny ant's-eye perspective of everyday items. It was important to director Peyton Reed and producers Kevin Feige and Stephen Broussard to set the standard for innovative photo-realistic shrinking elements on "Ant-Man," and their approach for the next chapter was no different.
To achieve their goal, the filmmakers once again relied on Frankel's know-how when it came to providing an accurate backdrop for the fast-paced fighting, flying and driving action as Ant-Man and The Wasp shrink and are suddenly within a newly magnified milieu. As with the first film, a macro photography unit would be utilized to morph the environment.
The macro photography and shrinking elements were something Frankel and his team put a lot of research and development into on the first film. For "Ant-Man," they built macro sets, actually miniature sets, filming them with motion-picture macro photography and still macro photography. The actors and their stunt doubles were filmed in motion capture, supervised by the visual effects team, to be digitally placed within the macro world.
Although the cast and their stunt doubles needed to film the motion-capture elements, Frankel's sets were filmed separately, using the specialized Frazier lens to play with the environmental scale a bit differently.
The Frazier lens is a camera lens that simultaneously captures the foreground and background, keeping both in focus with a giant depth of focus differential. For Reed's needs, it would allow the camera to capture painstaking detail with a shallow depth of field that provides an exaggerated viewpoint.
"With any environment that we're using, we photograph the real elements in excruciating detail," points out Frankel. "Ultimately, it's all digital because you're able to move your virtual camera through the spaces, but when that environment is more photorealistic, it makes such a huge difference. We really put a lot of R&D into upping the reality of that, and it's something that we really dialed in on."
While the lab is admittedly the standout set in the film, Frankel and his team were kept busy transforming practical spaces for filming as well as designing and constructing sets to complete the world for the action to play out in.
The Ghost's lair is another example of Frankel's well-thoughtout approach to each of his set designs. What you notice first, though, is the Ghost Chamber, also conceptualized by Frankel.
It gives insight into Ava's existence over the years. The repeated concentric-circle pattern of the Fresnel lens comprising the shell of the chamber serves a practical and aesthetic purpose. Says Frankel, "We challenged ourselves to find an environment that we haven't seen in the MCU before. When you see the Ghost Chamber lit up, it is the main event. Around it are support shapes that help create this feeling of desperation and yearning for family and stability. We put in Fresnel lenses to help infuse the mystery and the shadow and the distortion of our character. So while this home and this environment is residential at first, its appropriation as a domestic laboratory is very unsettling."
Producer Stephen Broussard gives a hint of what's to come with the shrinking and growing in "Ant-Man and The Wasp." "One of the evolutionary ideas of this film is that they've exported shrinking and growing beyond just suits and people. Suddenly, cars can shrink and entire buildings can shrink. And we've been playing with a concept that we call 'variable man,' which basically could mean an Ant-Man from two feet tall to 18 feet tall, all the way up to 80 feet tall. And, of course, half the fun of things like this is when that stuff starts to go wrong. So you have Scott on a mission getting stuck at the most inopportune sizes when stealth is needed or when he needs to move fast and he can't because he's at a certain height. That's fun."
Stephane Ceretti and his visual effects team were tasked with bringing those elements to life.
"We're trying to be a bit more playful with all of the change of scale and everything that was done in the first one and just trying to really mix it and play with it," says Ceretti. "There are lots of different scales for Ant-Man in the film, way more than we've seen before."
He continues, "We also shot some motion control on a green screen so that we could have Paul there really playing the part. There's a lot more of his face when he's small in the film. We're opening the helmet way more than in the first film, even when he's small-sized. So we had to use a mixture of techniques to be able to do that."
One of the techniques Ceretti used was facial capture. He explains, "We're using a system called Medusa, which is a system that really captures the motion of the actors and allows us to recreate all their facial expressions. But we're mixing techniques all the time so that we never rely on just one thing."
Super Hero Couture
Coming off of "Spider-Man: Homecoming," costume designer Louise Frogley is well aware of the design challenges to bring superhero films to the big screen. Together with Ivo Coveney, head of Specialty Costumes and alumni of "Ant-Man," they would craft multiple superhero costumes for the "Ant-Man and The Wasp" cast, including Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, Michelle Pfeiffer and Hannah John-Kamen.
Concept art for each superhero suit was rendered by Marvel Studios' visual development supervisor Andy Park and his team. Then it was given to the costume designer and sometimes the visual effects supervisor, when needed, to plot out the design, materials, fit and function for every conceivable scenario the script demanded while fulfilling the visual aesthetic.
Marvel Studios always looks to push the envelope for its Super Heroes with tech-savvy enhancements often added to their suits, gadgets or weaponry. For "Ant-Man and The Wasp," this means continuity and upgrades, whether it's Scott Lang's 2.0 Ant-Man suit or Hope's Wasp suit.
For the Wasp suit, audiences were given a hint of what was to come in "Ant-Man" when Hank unveiled a prototype for Hope in the film's final scene. It is perhaps the most exciting and highly anticipated costume reveal for Marvel Comics fans. Evangeline Lilly is quick to educate fans about the newest incarnation of the suit. "The Wasp suit featured at the end of the first film was an old prototype from the 1980s," explains Lilly. "Technology has evolved and, as a woman of 2018, Hope has updated the suit with Hank making a new one to fit her needs for this day and age."
As they approached The Wasp suit design, Andy Park and costume designer Frogley understood the fan scrutiny and the accompanying pressure to visualize the look of the female Super Hero. Attention to detail for The Wasp costume was heightened to match the audience anticipation.
"Andy Park did an amazing job on the original conceptual art. From there we had to make The Wasp costume come alive. Of course it had to have complete mobility, be strong enough to resist great pressure and be beautiful on Evangeline. It took us many attempts, from experimenting with the size of the repeat motifs on the suit to exploring fresh ways to actually make the costume. It was constructed by April McCoy, who was unbelievably ingenious in her work," comments Frogley.
Frogley and Coveney had a collaborative and patient partner in Evangeline Lilly, who was just as invested in the design and fit of The Wasp suit as the costumers. "We did four months of fittings to get that suit perfect," recalls Lilly. "The one thing I told Louise and Ivo when we started was that I don't care how long it takes and I don't care how long I have to be in this room. We will make this suit perfect. The proportions were key, so we threw around lots of different ideas."
One of the more labor-intensive elements of the design was deciding on the color scheme and fabric. Remarks Coveney, "When we began to design The Wasp suit, we were able to allow for a sleek, more contemporary look.
We literally tested over 40 samples in our workshop to get the correct color and texture." Ultimately, the suit itself was made with a form-fitting base layer with multiple semi-rigid molded pieces laid over it plus boots and a helmet. Color and texture were accomplished by the effect of saturating the background color of the suit with a reflective silver tone and topping it with a gold-tinged patent leather, which was cut in a honeycomb pattern on two different levels. The bodice and midsection alone have well over 90 pieces of leather to allow unrestricted movement. The remainder of the making of the suit was an equally complicated process that entailed drawing up and cutting the pattern, digitizing it, adding dots, then laser-cutting all the pieces in the workshop. Dozens of those pieces were then lined up and sewn together.
The Wasp's signature wings are incorporated into the design of the suit in closed mode, but when expanded and ready for flight they become a digital add-on courtesy of Ceretti's visual effects team. Lilly admits that stepping into the final version of her Wasp costume was a little awe-inspiring.
"The Wasp should look effortless, like it is something she was born to do, and that's absolutely built into the suit," says Lilly. "There's something very simple but elegant and feminine about it. There was this collective 'hell, yeah' moment when the suit was finished and I finally put it on. The whole room just went, 'That's it.' Something in my demeanor, my DNA, just changed at that moment. I felt like a Super Hero. I was so excited to get in front of the camera, and up to that point I was a little nervous about taking on this Super Heroine mantle and not looking good enough or strong enough to play someone who is extraordinary. But the costume tucks away all of those insecurities in all of its beautiful, perfect lines. I felt like I could walk on set with confidence and be The Wasp."
For Ant-Man, Rudd got a modernized version of the original leather suit he debuted in "Ant-Man," which had more of a vintage feel reflecting its 1960s origins. Remarks Coveney, "The suit from the first film was meant to look pretty old-fashioned with a loose fit, almost like a motorcycle suit. It was meant to be resurrected after being tucked away for so many years. Our new version is definitely more modern with a tighter fit, so it makes a very heroic look for Paul."
An extraordinary amount of research and development went into developing the Ant-Man suit for the original film, and the practicalities of the demands placed upon Rudd and his stunt doubles as they performed provided additional lessons for the next generation of design work for the suit.
According to Frogley, new innovations offered an abundance of opportunity to up their design game. "There have been advances in manufacturing technique since the first 'Ant-Man,' and we were able to put those to good use. Particularly with laser cutting and raised printing. You can absolutely see the difference between the original Ant-Man and the new Ant-Man suits. I love what we were able to do with the new Ant-Man costume.
It's wonderful to see finally see both Ant-Man and The Wasp together!" Gone is the full leather design. Although some leather accents remain, the suit is replaced with streamlined tactile fabric that is enhanced with a three-dimensional print. Integrating a pliable material to allow flexibility around the arms for unlimited movement was a key improvement Coveney and the department utilized for almost every costume they fabricated.
Forty individual pieces make up the Ant-Man belt and chest plate to allow unrestricted movement, and rubber tubing resembling metallic is set into the upper portion. The same with his backpack. It was engineered to move with Rudd so that it doesn't restrict him.
The functional aspects of any superhero suit are a fundamental part of ensuring an actor is comfortable and can move and, more importantly, act in a scene without distractions from a cumbersome costume. Coveney has many tricks up his sleeves that may not be visible but are an integral part of the design to allow form and function to coexist seamlessly.
For example, the helmet design, used for many of the helmeted suits, has magnets integrated into the construction to facilitate an easy on-and-off for the visor.
Coveney also keeps those visors and face plates as matte as possible to avoid any reflection issues with any cameras during filming. The intricate details that Coveney integrated into each suit were not lost on the cast.
Ghost's terrifying shrouded look in "Ant-Man and The Wasp" closely resembles that of the Marvel Comics character. For the deadly assassin with the unique power set of intangibility, to become invisible and visible at will, the containment suit stabilizes her form, allowing her to control phasing through any object. When it came time to personify the look, the turnaround time from fitting John-Kamen to manufacturing Ghost's unisex containment suit was a little over nine weeks. It may sound like an abundance of time, but for Coveney's team it was slim, especially with dozens of other suits in different phases of production. Full-body molds, multiple fittings, manufacturing, color and fabric tests followed by tweaks take time, especially when the team is as detail-oriented as Frogley and Coveney's.
As soon as John-Kamen was cast in the role, a full-body scan followed so her body form could be established and the costume department could begin building and individually placing hand-sculpted pieces on Hannah's form. The sculpted, semi-rigid pieces would then be cast and glued on to the skintight neoprene suit, which allowed for maximum flexibility for both the actress and her stunt double.
A helmet, mask and hood round out the headpiece, which was affixed to the base suit. Based on the comic design, the helmet, in turn, is designed in a way that the eyes eerily don't match up with the human eyes. And therefore it's very, very difficult for the actress to see or the stunt person to see.
Says John-Kamen of Ghost's containment suit, "It's a very cool suit made of neoprene with a hood and this crazy mask. It's definitely menacing and different. I haven't seen anything like it yet in any other Marvel film. What's amazing about the suit is its construction. It's all built together with such intricate detail. It's going be really exciting to reveal the whole thing."
As is the norm, multiple costumes were fabricated for each actor and their stunt double. Coveney's team ended up making a total of 64 specialty costumes, including dozens of helmets, belts, backpacks and gauntlets. This would include 14 versions for Ant-Man, 15 for Wasp, 12 for Ghost, 8 suits for Hank and 15 suits for Janet.
Stunts & Action
The fun, size-shifting action that punctuated and entertained global film audiences in "Ant-Man" returns, but with an innovative and amped-up energy, courtesy of the new partnership of Ant-Man and The Wasp.
Audiences will finally get the payoff of seeing The Wasp in action.
Stunt coordinator George Cottle, who refined his specialty of designing intricate, gravity- defying wirework for Tom Holland's web slinger in "Spider-Man: Homecoming," was entrusted to formulate and choreograph a myriad of equally dynamic stunts to drive the top-notch action for "Ant-Man and The Wasp."
Cottle and his team were lucky to have a cast who were ready, willing and able to prepare and do as much as the filmmakers would allow them to do when it came to practically executing stunt action, especially with the in-your-face camera work Reed had planned.
"The actors have really stepped up to the plate and done a great job. Capability-wise, there isn't much they can't do," comments Cottle. "They're very physically talented. Evangeline is 100 percent invested in making The Wasp's action scenes pop, as are Paul, Hannah and the rest of the cast with their characters. There are times in this movie where their masks come off, so there's no hiding behind the costume. It has to be them during that fight scene or the wire stunt to make it believable."
From the very beginning, Cottle knew The Wasp's on-screen debut would be the primary focus of their efforts to showcase what Marvel's first female Super Hero is truly capable of. For Lilly, the hours spent rehearsing paid off when she and John-Kamen were on set filming the elaborate fight sequence that introduces Wasp in action mode to audiences for the first time.
"I love the way we unveil The Wasp with this really cool, kick-ass fight sequence where she single-handedly takes out dozens of Burch's goons without breaking a sweat," says Lilly.
"Then Ghost walks in, and the game changes. It's immediate, and Hope knows it. But everybody knows that the only way you can make a good superhero film is if you have an even better villain. Hannah knocks it out of the park playing a villain who is both terrifying and formidable but somehow simultaneously vulnerable and innocent."
John-Kamen welcomes the challenge of physically demanding roles. Her previous training as a dancer coupled with the desire to fully flesh out all aspects of her character made her the perfect actor for the role. "I love the stunt training," she acknowledges with a smile. "I've done stunt work in the past so I always come in and I'm gung ho. It's so important to me as an actor to bring the physicality to the character. As soon as I put the Ghost suit on, it made me move in a certain way, so I incorporated that with her style of fighting and her power set. The more stunt moves I can do on camera, the more it adds to my performance."
John-Kamen's preparations and exhaustive stunt training paid off and were noticed immediately by Reed and the filmmakers. Recalls Broussard, "Hannah's been amazing putting herself through the paces of the fights. She's got the swagger of this character and she's got the attitude. Even with the mask on you can tell that Hannah's in there. Her performance is there even in fight mode."
While Cottle handled the action on the main unit, second unit director Jeff Habberstad and veteran stunt coordinator Andy Gill and his team oversaw the mind-boggling practically executed action on the streets of Atlanta and San Francisco.
One of the craziest chases takes place on the winding streets of San Francisco, where Luis is in a small car being chased and shot at by an SUV filled with bad guys. Describing the origin of the car that Luis drives, Habberstad says, "The car is part of an assortment of cars that Pym has in his arsenal. It's like he has a little toy set and can pull any one of them out and make it grow and be a full-sized car. And, of course, Luis picked the Veloster he drives because he thought it was the coolest."
He adds, "The paint job makes it look just crazy. And, of course, they've done it up with the big slick tires and all that stuff. So it looks cool coming around the corners getting chased by these big oversized SUVs."
Remarks VFX supervisor Stephane Ceretti, "It's going to be a car chase that is a little bit different from the car chases you've seen before. We're playing with the scale of the cars and everything. That's something that's brand-new to 'Ant-Man.'"
Commenting on the action in the film, Reed says, "We're doing some action sequences that obviously you would not see in any other movie because they're so specific to these characters and to their powers. It's really fun as a filmmaker to be able to have access to all the tools that Marvel allows you to have access to, like the greatest visual effects artists in the world. So you can come up with crazy ideas that have never been seen in a movie. It's exhilarating to think about it."
Get Set For Mind-Blowing Fun
With its eye-popping shrinking-and-growing action, fast-paced chases and family-friendly comedy, "Ant-Man and The Wasp" once again delivers a fresh, one-two punch that smacks of the MCU in an accessible and relatable way.
And that's how director Peyton Reed always envisioned it. "It's a fun and hopefully surprising ride," says the director. "The visuals are stunning and the action sequences are crazy."
Ant-Man & the Wasp
Release Date: July 5th, 2018