Film legend Michael Douglas plays Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man, inventor of the Pym Particle and founder of Pym Technologies. In ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, we find Hank Pym a fugitive with his daughter Hope Van Dyne (i.e., The Wasp), and facing his most important mission ever as he confronts the repercussions of his past while trying to protect the future of his family. We met with Michael Douglas during #AntManAndTheWaspEvent, and it’s clear this member of Hollywood royalty has no trouble taking a back seat at this stage of his career.
Two-time Academy Award–winning actor Michael Douglas returns as Hank Pym, and revisiting the role with his colleagues had a great appeal for the legendary actor. “The best part about returning for a sequel is the opportunity to again work with director Peyton Reed, Paul Rudd, and Evangeline Lilly,” Douglas says. “There’s that feeling of familiarity that informs the ﬁlmmaking process. You also get to deﬁne your character more. Hank Pym is the straight man who keeps the story grounded.”
While Michael Douglas is fine with his straight-man role, he admits to a little tinge of envy. “Paul ad-libs so much,” Douglas says, “I’m a little jealous because I have to do the research, and Paul will come in with a one-liner and steal the scene.”
That being said, Hank Pym does get to “suit up” in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. Michael Douglas elaborated, “I was excited to have a super-hero moment where I suited up. I was a little disappointed in the first one that I didn’t wear the suit. So, yeah, I got my old suit back on. My feeling is if you can get big or small and they make you young – I might as well get back in there again.” Speaking of looking young, I asked Michael Douglas how it felt seeing a youthful version of himself on the screen. “It cracks me up,” he said.
Over his storied career, Michael Douglas grew to being the headliner and carrying a film, but it’s clear he’s comfortable with a supporting role. Michael Douglas elaborated on playing more of a complementary character in these films,
“Paul Rudd is such a sweet guy, and it’s fun to see how he handles the lead. At this point in my career, I want to work with nice people, and enjoy that communal feeling of doing my work with good people.”
Michael Douglas continued, “These two movies are different than anything else in my career. It’s easier because it’s a supporting role and the pressure on me is off. I’m not just thinking of my role, I just want to make a good movie.”
Of course, Michael Douglas knows a thing or two about making good movies. He has had nearly 50 years of experience in theater, film, and television winning a Best Picture Oscar as producer for 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and a Best Actor Oscar for playing Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. Even with all that experience, Douglas’ teenage son thinks Ant-Man will be very good for his career. Douglas explained,
“I’ve now got this whole new generation of young people yelling, ‘Hey, Hank Pym!,’ so I must say, it ﬂatters you after doing this for 50 years to be discovered by this new group of fans. My whole career has pretty much been all contemporary comedies and dramas, so to dip my toe into this other world where anything goes is a trip. I’ve enjoyed it.”
In 1998, United Nations Secretary General Koﬁ Annan made Michael Douglas a UN Messenger of Peace. Perhaps that’s why Michael Douglas gave the following answer about the broader message of ANT-MAN AND THE WASP. “We’re in such a divisive world,” Douglas said, “you make a movie like this and it’s such a world-wide success, people laugh, we laugh, and it brings people much closer together.”
ANT-MAN AND THE WASP is playing everywhere now, and our spoiler-free review says it’s just the laugh we need after Infinity War.