A Hollywood adaptation of the Marvel character Ant-Man has been in gestation for what seems like forever (roughly the same amount of time as a Black Panther adaptation, but I digress), with several popular actors littering the rumor mill’s dirty floor throughout the years. Now, however, it seems the film that only relatively recently regained momentum, as Marvel’s Cinematic Universe continues to expand, finally has its leading man, and it’s Paul Rudd.
Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby, over 50 years ago, Ant-Man centers on a scientist who discovers a chemical substance which will allow him to control the size of his body. As with many comic characters, the title of Ant-Man has been alternately used by various people using the same technology, but the identity first belonged to a character named Henry “Hank” Pym, and that will be the lead character of the upcoming film.
Edgar Wright (writer and director of the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) was first hired by Marvel to direct and co-write (with Joe Cornish) a screenplay for an Ant-Man film in 2006. Ever since, a lot of actors have been rumored for the lead role of Hank Pym; chief among them being: Nathan Fillion, mainly due to his ties to Joss Whedon; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Paul Rudd.
Now that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has producing, directing, and starring in an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman to worry about, the short list is down to one; The Wrap is reporting that one to be Paul Rudd. Rudd’s comic sensibilities would seem to be a great fit for the often acerbically quick-witted Hank Pym and his penchant for wry quips. This looks to be quite inspired casting. The ultimate test of the choice will, of course, be how he plays in the film, but we’ll have to wait until 2015 to see that.
Ant-Man, directed by Edgar Wright, written by Joe Cornish and Wright, and starring Paul Rudd, is scheduled to blow up the box office on July 31, 2015.
UPDATE 12/19: On Thursday, Marvel confirmed the reports that Rudd had been cast as Ant-Man, with the following release:
Marvel’s “Ant-Man” has found its hero in Paul Rudd, who will star in the new film from director Edgar Wright hitting theaters July 31, 2015!
The casting of Rudd represents the actor that Marvel had long ago identified as its first choice to play Ant-Man, continuing the studio’s desire to cast actors that bring several dimensions to its onscreen heroes. The film’s plot is being kept under wraps.
“When Edgar Wright came to us with the idea of Paul Rudd, we felt a huge sense of relief because the first step in creating any Marvel Studios film is finding the right star,” said Marvel’s Kevin Feige. “We knew early on that we had found the right person in Paul. When he not only agreed to do it but became as enthusiastic as any actor we’d ever met with about doing the work, we knew we’d found the right guy. We couldn’t be more excited for our audiences to see what he’s going to do to bring Ant-Man to life.”
Rudd brings a diverse background to the role having become one of the industry’s most known actors with a reputation for smart, funny and creative performances. Rudd can currently be seen in “Anchor Man 2: The Legend Continues,” as well as past roles in “Anchorman,” “This Is 40,” “I Love You, Man,” “Role Models,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Our Idiot Brother,” “Knocked Up,” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” among numerous other films, television shows and primetime animation.
In addition to “Ant-Man,” Marvel Studios will release a slate of films based on the Marvel characters including “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” on April 4, 2014; “Guardians of the Galaxy” on August 1, 2014; and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” on May 1, 2015.
It’s currently unclear whether Rudd will be portraying the aforementioned Hank Pym incarnation of the character–with his history of domestic abuse–or the slightly more family-friendly incarnation of Scott Lang, a desperate burglar who manages to take on the guise of Ant-Man through a series of events spurred by the need to help his ailing daughter. That’s something we’re sure to find out in the coming months, as more is revealed about the film’s plot. For now, we just know Marvel is confirming the casting.