Ant-Man and the Wasp Michael Douglas interview

Last fall, the legendary Michael Douglas enters a conference room in a sound stage a few feet from where he was just filming a scene with his Ant-Man and the Wasp co-star Paul Rudd. Douglas, who plays the brilliant scientist/engineer Hank Pym in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is in a pleasant, upbeat mood, asking myself and the handful of other journalists if we’re enjoying our lunch. “The veggie burger was good. I don’t know if anybody’s had the veggie burger,” he says. “The food’s good here!”

Douglas’s cheery disposition is a far cry from the scene in which we just saw him perform: from monitors on the sound stage, we watched as Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) exits a van, leaving Hank Pym and his estranged protege Scott Lang (Rudd) alone in the vehicle. “She seems more intense,” Scott quips. But Hank is in no mood for jokes. “She hasn’t seen her mother in 30 years, and she’s so close to finding her. How would you be?” he responds coldly.

Ant-Man and the Wasp follows Hank and Hope on a quest to find Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer), the original Wasp, who was lost in the Quantum Realm decades earlier. During a break between takes, we spoke with Douglas about stepping back into a familiar role, how Hank Pym has changed since the events of the first movie, and much more. Read our full Ant-Man and the Wasp Michael Douglas interview below.

Of all the actors we spoke to during the set visit, Douglas may have unwittingly given us the most information – including confirmation that we’ll see digitally altered younger versions of both him and Michelle Pfeiffer, and how the original Wasp reaches out to Hope and Hank from the Quantum Realm.

Ant-Man and the Wasp - Rudd and Douglas

Ant-Man and the Wasp Michael Douglas Interview

This interview has been edited for clarity.

So how’s it been getting back into the skin of Hank Pym?

I love this whole experience. I don’t know if it’s Hank Pym, but it’s green screen. ‘Cause I never did green screen in my life. So the first one, it’s the whole idea of talking to an ant on your shoulder and the characters and the breadth of imagination and what you can do, it’s staggering. And so that I really like a lot, and this, tonally, it was nice to see Marvel getting into more of a kind of a humorous area and the directions they’ve gone. And [it’s] kind of phenomenal just to watch – not only as an actor, but as a producer – I guess it’s 19 [movies] in a row now, how it works, and their balance of big set pieces and casting well. Obviously they have some interesting casting choices, which, to me, means a little appreciation of the actors that they kind of balance out their effects work. So it’s a nice group. And sort of the same thing when you make a movie with somebody, either a director or an actor that you have before – you know each other. There’s that familiarity part. Paul’s lovely. Evangeline’s great. There’s a comfort factor, which, after a lifelong career of carrying a lot of movies, you enjoy it. It’s a nice trip.

Probably some of the most fun scenes you’re going to play are going to be with Michelle Pfeiffer, who we know hasn’t started filming yet. But I imagine you’re looking forward to that?

Oh yeah. Well, I am especially – and I never know what you can’t say, you know? – but especially since Michelle and I will be 30 years younger. So that’s always a treat.

How has Hank changed from the first film to now?

He’s gotten older. (laughs) He’s still a little curmudgeon-y. I don’t think he’s changed a whole lot. He still looks at [Scott] as not being the right choice for Hank’s daughter, for Hope. He’s a little judgmental. Thinks she can do a little better.

What about his relationship with Hope? The first movie, we saw her try to get his approval. Now that that’s there, how does that change the dynamic?

It’s much more as a team. The catharsis is going over. She’s older. I think there’s much more a sense of working together as partners, as a team. And then of course the possible hope that Janet – Michelle – could still be alive in the Quantum Realm.

Somebody told us earlier that the quest to rescue Janet was primarily Hope’s idea. How is Hank involved in the whole thing?

Well, we get a signal.  No, really what happens – and I expect Marvel to shoot me with a blow gun in the back of the neck if I’ve said [too much]. We get a signal, Hope is certainly integral, but we get a signal, actually through Scott.

Publicist: The blow dart is coming, Michael.

Okay, so there you go. So it’s an integral part, but we get a signal that she might still be alive.

We were just on the lab set, and there are so many fun details.

Isn’t that stunning?

Spending so much time there, is there anything in there that’s your favorite part of it?

Oh God, no. I mean it’s just, it’ll give you a headache, it’s so much. Actually that strobe light…it’s a stunning set. I made a big effort to meet the production designers to see them, because I thought it was just so cool.

Ant-Man and the Wasp - Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas

How does Hank feel about Scott taking the Ant-Man gear and going out for Civil War and exposing that tech that to Tony Stark and the world?

He’s pretty pissed off about that. *laughs* He really is. I would say that largely sets the initial tone between Scott and Hank on this one. [Scott] didn’t share much information with Dr. Pym.

Was that the tone we were seeing in the van in that last scene?

A little bit of that, yeah. *laughs*

We know that Hank and Hope are on the run because they wouldn’t sign the Sokovia Accords. So are we going to get to see them discussing that in this movie?

I don’t think so. I don’t know. The secret is, I love making movies. I love the process of making movies. I don’t see a lot of movies myself. Even ones I’m in, I’ll see it once in early stages. And I guess it’s a long way of saying I don’t really follow all of the Marvel movies to the extent that they are out there. I’m fascinated about how the audiences are immersed in the plot and how thick the plots are, which, it’s all I can do to really understand what the hell is going on, but to expect audiences to? But they love it – the more complicated they get, the better. They should be good students of what’s happening.

In the last movie, Hank hadn’t been inventing in many years. Now we see him building a lot. He’s build this entire lab for himself. Is he more centered now, feeding his scientist self?

Part of that. I think he’s just obsessed with this love of his life, truthfully. I think he’s upset. He lost everything, but he’s a very wealthy guy and I think a lot of this was based upon hopeful wishes, thinking hopefully for the future. It’s all about a deep love, which he’s never found. I mean, 30 years a long time. I mean, Jesus, I’d think he’d have moved on already. (laughs) Then, it was Michelle Pfeiffer.

How is it working with Laurence Fishburne?

It’s great. You know this is one of the joys. When I look at the casts in general that Marvel has, it’s always, “Oh, oh, look at that!” He’s a treat. He’s the real deal. I’ve always been a tremendous fan of his, and since both of us don’t have our families here, we’re sort of in and out and stuff. So we spent time when he was down, and he’s just a great guy and a wonderful actor. Just a treat. You guys getting dessert?

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Ant-Man and the Wasp arrives in theaters on July 6, 2018.

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