Ant-Man, the oddball superhero movie from Marvel Comics, centred on a hapless hero (Paul Rudd) whose mentor (Michael Douglas) enables him to shrink to the size of an ant, is one of the most pleasingly weird Hollywood movies of recent years. When did Marvel get so funny? With the DVD coming soon, we caught up with actors Michael Pena (End of Watch) Tip ‘TI’ Harris – aka rapper TI – who play comic sidekicks Luis and Dave, to find out.
Are you both comic book fans?
TI: The only comic books I’ve ever had much experience reading are X-Men and Wolverine. I didn’t know much about Ant-Man before this, but I do now. And I love it.
Pena: I didn’t know much about Ant-Man either, but I was a huge Marvel fan. I knew about Iron Man and Thor and Wolverine and Colossus. Spider-Man seems to have a different tone to the pure Marvel stuff, but I really enjoyed the Guardians Of The Galaxy and Iron Man movies. I love the special effects and how it seems very real, but at the same time it still lives within the realm of Marvel. That’s got to be a lot of work.
Did you look into Ant-Man’s backstory at all?
Pena: I usually just try to do whatever’s on the page because I’ve done research before – including a lot of analysis – but you end up with conflicting data. To me, the script is king.
TI: My buddy is an avid comic book fan, so he puts me up on game. And David Dastmalchian [who plays third sidekick Kurt] is a huge comic book fan, so he shared his knowledge and wisdom on the universe with us, too.
What about your characters? Did you bring much of yourselves to the role?
Pena: In the movie I’m imitating somebody I know who lives in Chicago. It’s a very real person who lives on the south side. He talks the way my character talks, which added some humor to it. I just started imitating this guy, which I thought would be funny.
The theme of family runs quite deep in the movie…
Pena: There are times in action movies where it just doesn’t work, but Paul Rudd did a really pulled it off. I was impressed. It was emotional, even for me. I have a six-year-old kid and I thought he just knocked it out of the park.
Is Ant-Man the funniest Marvel film to date?
Pena: It would be badass if this were ranked the funniest Marvel movie. That would be bad to the bone! I thought Guardians Of The Galaxy was pretty funny, though – the raccoon [Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper] was really funny.
TI: Personally, I think Ant-Man is their funniest and their most grounded movie. You know what? It’s amazing to be a part of this cast. I feel like they broke the mold with Ant-Man and set Marvel on a different path.
Is it hard, as actors, to play comedy?
Pena: I wouldn’t say I have comedy chops. I guess you get lucky with good writing because I don’t think I’m a comedian by any stretch of the imagination.
TI: I just think that we all enjoyed working with one another. We had an incredible time and great chemistry. The chemistry we developed on screen is definitely the driving factor to the humor in a lot of it.
Pena: Paul Rudd has a very specific brand of humor. It’s really unpredictable – and a couple of times I wasn’t able to get through a take. It’s very loose, but it was very interesting because it’s such a big movie. I was surprised how loose we were, but I’m glad with the outcome.
Ant-Man is released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 30.