Have you ever met some one whose presence fills up the entire room from the second they walk in? Not in a grandiose way, but in a unassuming and non-pretentious manner that embodies stardom as a quiet whisper. This is the manner in which Michael Douglas captures and commands attention- even the fibers of the carpet stand at attention as if in expectation of the great Hollywood legend who is about to step into the room. You don’t have to know you are in the presence of this superstar, you feel it immediately and no words need to transpire.
Thankfully, some words transpired and we were able to have a riveting interview with mega-celeb Michael Douglas at the ANT-MAN press junket. An interview I’ll long remember as an iconic moment in my lifetime and one I’m over-joyed to share with you today! What follows is the interview in its entirety as everything Mr. Douglas shared was more-than-noteworthy. I hope it brings you as much delight as it did me to sit and listen a spell to the insights! Q : Did you have to research to prepare yourself to be an iconic Marvel universe character?
“Well, historically I’m not a comic book guy. I was not as a, a kid. There was one I kind of followed, but since it’s not in the Marvel world, I don’t think on it necessarily. But when they they sent me this, this script, they sent me also a lovely leather bound book with about two of the Ant-Man comics. So before I read the script, I opened that up and sort of familiarized myself with the, with the different characters and a little of the back story. Of course, ironically for these kind of super comic book, it was more character background than you get in most parts you ever play in terms of, you know, your loss of your wife, the relationship with your daughter. So there was a whole bunch of stuff to actually, you know, play once you, once you read it” – Michael Douglas.
Q : With the technology in this movie, how is it different than anything you’ve ever done?
“One of the exciting things for me about doing this picture is I have never done a special effects movie before. My entire career has kind of, it actually all has been contemporary story lines except for one movie out of I think 50. Everything else was contemporary and there weren’t any kind of effects in them, just a green screen. There were like four units shooting. We were the first unit, then you had the second unit which was your stunt unit. Your third unit, which was your special effects, your green screen, and then your fourth unit was that macro unit, was shooting these perspective ant shots from all over. It was fascinating. So, for me to see how they put four units together using the story boards was inspirational. And it was a lot faster. I mean, how often too do you get to do a movie where you get to see yourself 30 years younger! (laughs) You know, I mean, it was wild… It’s been the wildest experience I’ve ever had.” -Michael Douglas
“I know the ones I liked least! (laughs) Those were the heavy exposition. I had to carry a lot of the exposition of plot in terms of explaining how things worked and everything and there’s no rhyme or reason for those, you know. You just got to kind of get a momentum going and try to articulate them. The fact that Peyton, besides being such a good director was an actor earlier in his life and knew my lines better than I did was a little intimidating, you know, because if I stumbled or flubbed he actually knew these technical names where they got the ants names. But I enjoyed the Pym Technology scenes. I enjoyed seeing this huge picture of me up there on the wall, you know. (laughs)” – Michael Douglas
Q : Who was the greatest joy to work with? Who did you have the most fun with?
“Everybody. We just did a press conference and what I wanted to really say, which I didn’t get a chance to is you know I produce a lot, too, so even when I’m an actor just getting hired in a movie like this as an actor I kind of look at the whole picture. I saw Kevin Feige and the great production team that they had…and was really happy with Peyton Reed as as a director. Those are all elements that you want, love going in – strong producing background, script, and your director.”
“I think the biggest surprise was Corey. Corey was a great heavy. He was a great, great villain and in the scenes I had with him, he brought much more strength and, and dynamo than I ever had anticipated. He had this whole subplot of kind of me being his father figure and reaching out for my acceptance, which was like haunting and he played this and it had a, had a real depth to it.”
“Paul, I knew from the beginning and he’s just as easy and wonderful as could be. He’s lovely. And then Evangeline I did not know her range, and so you go wow! There’s, there’s no weak spots here. Everybody’s solid. I felt, I felt really optimistic about this whole project, you know right from the get-go because I’d not, did not see a weak link anywhere.” -Michael Douglas
“Well, yeah, I mean mean who’s to say I wasn’t in a few of those! (laughs) Hard to tell with the helmets down.” – Michael Douglas
Q : Paul Rudd’s a funny guy. How was it working with him on set? Was it all laughs?
“He’s just a sweetest, he’s a lovely guy. He’s very unassuming. Obviously, he did some rewriting on the script and was very helpful. Sometimes I would get frustrated where I’d have one of these five minute long monologues explaining everything, and of course, he would have a one-line punch line. Damn, you get a good laugh and all of that. I go ‘sure. I’m working my ass off. (laughs) Yeah, you wrote the script, didn’t you?’ But he’s got an elfish grin and quality about him. He was working out, maintaining, staying in shape, and then putting in the whole day. So my heart went out to him but he was fabulous.” – Michael Douglas
“Something different, you know, just basically never having been. Two of my best buddies are Jack Nicholson and, and Danny DeVito and each of them had a great time as the Joker and as the Penguin. I remember them talking about it and just never having been offered anything in this realm before when this came up (I thought) this will be great. This will be cool. My 14-year-old son, I told him all about it, and he was like my agent. He said Dad, you know what? This is a whole new audience for you!” – Michael Douglas
Q : Did you realize you were joining the Marvel universe? Or did you just, you know…?
“No, I, I was drinking the Kool Aid! (laughs) I did and it was really interesting and fascinating to see the process and how it works. Early on, we first started, they were consumed with the Avengers, coming out…and we were overlapping and we–we sort of felt like the orphaned kids for a while there… But they have an amazing way of working and it’s a great family. I mean, as far as your crew members are concerned, we were in Georgia at Atlanta at a new studio, and they were tied up for just about a year. Just as we got out of there, the new Captain America was coming in, and those same crew members are going to go on to Captain America. So there’s a familiarity that brings a, a comfort factor and a relaxation that you know based on, what, 12 out of 12, these guys got a hell of a track record and they seem to know what they’re doing. That, that combined with the talent you’re actually seeing around you makes you feel very secure and I’m happy to be part of the Marvel universe. I didn’t realize I had to get tattooed. (laughs)” – Michael Douglas
After seeing ANT-MAN, I think every viewer will agree, Michael Douglas will tattoo his impression on every film-goer’s Marvel-loving heart with his excellent portrayal of Dr. Hank Pym! Want to know more about ANT-MAN?
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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 Michael Douglas. I’m under no obligation to report anything other than my personal experience, thoughts and opinions.