Peyton Reed directed Marvel Studios’ ANT-MAN, which released on July 17, 2015, and garnered over $500 million worldwide. He returned to helm ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, the second ﬁlm in the “Ant-Man” franchise. In our review of ANT-MAN AND THE WASP, we noted the film showcases The Wasp – the first female title character in a Marvel Studios film. Peyton Reed was thrilled he was able to bring The Wasp to the screen, and even infused a little of his own “Louder Than Bombs” style. Continue reading for our interview with director Peyton Reed on Marvel, movies, and music.
“There are a lot of things that excite me about ANT-MAN AND THE WASP,” Peyton Reed commented, “but I think the biggest thrill is to introduce The Wasp to ﬁlm audiences for the ﬁrst time and see Hope van Dyne as a fully formed Super Hero with an amazing power set. To reveal the new rapport between her and Scott Lang and to show how she ﬁts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is, frankly, a fun process for me and even a bit awe-inspiring.”
At their core, the “Ant-Man” films are about family. The evolution of the relationship between Scott and Cassie Lang is one of Peyton Reed’s favorite parts of the movie. Paul Rudd (who plays Scott Lang/Ant-Man) and Abby Ryder Fortson (Cassie Lang) have a great chemistry and trust that comes across on film. Peyton Reed explained,
“In my mind, the family dynamic is so crucial to what the ‘Ant-Man’ movies are. Scott Lang is the real everyman in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). He’s not a super scientist; he’s not a billionaire. He’s just a normal guy who doesn’t have superpowers. It’s all about that suit. There’s a part of Scott that has a take-it-or-leave-it attitude about whether he’s a hero or not. After inadvertently putting his daughter in harm’s way and then facing life in prison never to see his daughter again, Scott is ambivalent about being Ant-Man, and we deﬁnitely tell that story.”
Fathers and daughters is a thematic element running through the first ANT-MAN film, and Peyton Reed progressed the theme further between Scott & Cassie as well as Hope Van Dyne & Dr. Hank Pym and even Dr. Bill Foster & Ava/Ghost in ANT-MAN AND THE WASP.
In the comics, Cassie Lang grows up to be “Stature” a super hero with the ability to grow or shrink her body, similar to the previous Ant-Men. We asked Peyton Reed if the interaction between Scott and Cassie Lang in the film was foreshadowing Cassie’s future role. Peyton Reed answered, “Cassie Lang is a hero in the comics, and we wanted to lay the groundwork for her to become a superhero.”
One of my favorite characters in the “Ant-Man” films is fast-talking Luis, played by Michael Peña. Peyton Reed elicited a free-form style of improv from Paul Rudd and Michael Peña to get those comedic moments. Michael Peña is back as Luis, and we learn a little more about him including his family’s musical love of Morrissey and The Smiths. Peyton Reed inserted this musical nugget directly from his own experience. Peyton Reed elaborated,
“Years ago, I played Drums in a Morrissey/Smiths cover band called ‘Louder Than Bombs.’ We played a few shows here in Los Angeles and quickly learned about another Smiths cover band, ‘Sweet and Tender Hooligans.’ They were all Latino kids, and I learned that Morrissey, who’s from Manchester, had a huge following in Los Angeles.
As I started to write, and embrace L.A. Culture, it seemed like one of the crazy things Luis would mention in the course of his conversation that his Grandma has a jukebox that only plays Morrissey.”
Now that ANT-MAN AND THE WASP has hit theaters, people are “buzzing” about the shocking mid-credits scene, and how it ties in with AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and AVENGERS 4. We asked Peyton Reed if that was a scene planned from the beginning. Peyton Reed replied,
“It was not completely planned in the beginning. We knew we were going to have to deal with the events of Infinity War at some point in some way. We knew that our movie was not only a sequel to ANT-MAN but also to CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. Because we couldn’t ignore what Scott Lang did in that movie. But, we weren’t always sure how we were going to fit into the larger MCU timeline with regards to Infinity War. Somewhere during the process this idea occurred to us and it worked tonally. Then we can have our stand-alone movie, and have it tie into the larger Marvel happenings in the post-credit scenes.”
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.