From the second I mentioned to friends, family and Rural Mom readers that I would be interviewing Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly at the ANT-MAN press junket, there was a tremendous burst of fandom squeals and pleas to deliver “kisses” to both. Well, that’s a little outside the scope of a press interview, but I certainly made sure to share all of your love for the talent of this terrific duo. Both Paul and Evangline responded in and endearing graceful and humble way to the attention raining down upon them and the mega-watt spotlight that is now shining down on their new-found place in the Marvel universe.
They were both delighted to find a room full of mom (and dad) bloggers to great them at the interview and ever-the-gentleman as he often portrays onscreen, Paul Rudd ushered Evangeline Lilly to her seat before sitting down to chat with us. Following are highlights from the interview that I think you’ll find quite enlightening and insightful about this duo and the upcoming ANT-MAN film (in theaters July 17, 2015.)
I’ll preface this first interview question (asked by yours truly on behalf of Rural Mom readers) that when Paul Rudd talks to you, you listen intently because his intense yet soft brown eyes make you feel like you are the only person in the room – almost enough to make me swoon and that’s no easy feat! This actor has amazing star charisma quality and is truly deserving of his recent star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Q: Fans would like to know, now that you have this extra responsibility of a super hero in the Marvel universe, do you feel the weight of that? Like millions of kids are going to look up to you as Ant-Man.
“You know, there’s certain things that if I think we stopped and really think about it could be overwhelming. We don’t have any control over a lot of stuff so I just figure I’m going to focus on doing the part as best I can and let the other things just kind of happen the way they’re going to happen and hopefully I’ll be able to adapt… I know how passionate the fan base is for Marvel films and, and these characters, but it’s been a whole new experience for me, thrilling and maybe just a little bit overwhelming! A little bit.” – Paul Rudd
Indeed just “a little bit” of a pun to Ant-Man’s mega-size role in the Marvel universe!
Along with Ant power, there’s a huge boost of girl power in the film that Evangeline took time to share her thoughts on.
Q : Evangeline, you worked with Paul and Adam with writing and developing your character, do you feel like that it came out what you wanted as far as the girl power part of it?
“You know, it’s funny because actually the girl power part was not really my contribution. That was Marvel and the boys who– I mean what guy doesn’t like a girl who can kick ass? They like to see that on screen, right? What I think is important is that woman, first of all be a woman and not a girl, and that she also have all the dimensions that a male character who can kick ass would also have. And I think a lot of the times what happens mistakenly in men’s very, very meaningful attempts to make strong women is they make them strong in the way that they relate to, which is wrong.” – Evangeline Lilly
“And I think that female strength has many more dimensions than that. A lot of our strength comes from our women’s vulnerability, our compassion, our maternal instincts, and I don’t think that those things should ever be labeled as weaknesses. And I think that’s one of the things that I always look to put in and infuse these characters with is um, is the sort of moments where you suddenly realize underneath that very hard facade, underneath what she’s trying to project to the world because she feels she has to survive or she has to do what she needs to do is you know, a little girl within all of us…That needs love and wants to give love in order to receive love and I think that’s what we’re all doing. That’s the human predicament is how do we give unconditional love and just not losing sight of that.” – Evangeline Lilly
I have to say that after listening to Evangeline’s take on her role in ANT-MAN and what she brings to the table in terms of portrayal of strong heroines, I felt like applauding. It’s wonderful that this actress is such a great advocate for women roles but also that the Marvel universe supports the genuine development of “real” well-rounded women characters in lead roles. Bravo to all!
— Rural Mom (@ruralmoms) June 27, 2015
“I had a moment onset when I was doing a scene, a very intense emotional scene with Michael Douglas where for the first time since I had attached myself to the project, the penny dropped and I was like (laughs) you know, I sort of read and I knew who was on and I was like great, good cast, everything’s good, things are coming together…but, I was thinking with an analytical mind of do I want to do this project or don’t I? And it wasn’t until I was working with him and witnessing the sort of magic that is the legend of Michael Douglas and what he brings to a film set and how he performs and what he does to the energy in the room when he performs that made me suddenly sit up and take notice and go, oh my God. I’d better bring it!” – Evangeline Lilly
“I never shook that feeling every single scene working with him (Micheal Douglas,) wow, this is– this is acting royalty!” – Paul Rudd
“I remember the first time walking onto the set in the suit. And, the first time I ever put it on at a fitting was thrilling. And I felt like I was 10 years old. Every single time after that, it was whoa, I can’t believe this is so cool. And then we shot the scene where I discovered the suit for the first time… I walked on set and the camera department and everyone stopped and saw Ant Man for the first time. That was totally exciting and I’ll always remember that.” – Paul Rudd
During the interview, it was hard to imagine there could ever be any turmoil between Paul and Evangeline (spoiler alert! In the movie there is!) as they chatted like life-long friends in real life.
“I think that in our lives, we all know often what our greatest pitfall is in our character and we don’t know we’re doing this, but I believe that we’re constantly drawing people into our life to help us deal with that thing. Usually those people are the most unpleasant people for us to deal with because they bring to light that thing that you wish you could just push under the carpet and not think about, but you know you need to work on.” – Evangeline Lilly
“I feel like for Hope, Scott (Paul Rudd) coming into her life could not have more poignantly exasperated the issue of her need for control, to control everything, every little thing right down to her lipstick point and her haircut. And you know, he just is so loose and from her perspective he seems so out of control and I think that’s that rub that we draw to ourselves. She drew in that energy because she needed to face it and she needed to deal with it and I think it’s really appropriate that it’s the Scott Lang character who helps Hope to realize what’s truly going on in her relationship with her father because she couldn’t see it for herself.” – Evangeline Lilly
What is easy to see is why Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly landed their role in ANT-MAN. They are not only perfect for the parts, but their off-screen synergy is equally brilliant to their onscreen personas!
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ANT-MAN opens in theaters everywhere on July 17th!
Disclosure: I received an exclusive trip courtesy of Disney to attend various events including an interview session with Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly. I’m under no obligation to report anything other than my personal experience, thoughts and opinions.