Director Peyton Reed describes his inspirations and cinematic influences.
Team ups are the best way to fight crime, having someone by your side just makes the job easier. In Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” Scott Lang and Hope van Dyne are fighting together at last, and the duo makes a stronger team than ever before.
During a set visit for a small group of press last summer, director Peyton Reed talked about the pair up and how stories from a galaxy far, far away had an influence on his inspiration for this second Marvel Studios installment.
The Wasp/Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) BTS on set.
“Ant-Man and The Wasp” distances itself timewise from the last film, and that was done purposefully. “When you’re doing a sequel or a next movie, I always like the ones where the starting off point, the jumping off point for the characters is different than when you left them,” observed Reed. “And again, I know that everyone who’s ever made a second installment of something refers to the ‘Empire Strikes Back’ as the gold standard.”
“As a kid—I was sixteen when that movie came out—and I loved that…they really leapt ahead. The heroes are somewhere else now and the audience has to kind of catch up to what’s going on and what happened,” said Reed. “They’re forwarded in terms of their character, but also in terms of their circumstances and that felt like something we really wanted to do.”
Director Peyton Reed, Paul Rudd (Ant-Man/Scott Lang) and The Wasp/Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) BTS on set.
Reed explained how that part of that time jump also had to do with Ant-Man being recruited for a very special mission, “It also felt like because of what happened with Scott Lang—in the brief time he’s in ‘Civil War’—we couldn’t ignore those circumstances.”
As far as the development, Reed was heavily influenced by some of his favorite movies with stories on the run. “Well, we just, in terms of when we first started talking about what ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’ would look and feel like, and the kind of movie we wanted to make,” shared Reed. “I definitely started talking about things like ‘After Hours’ and ‘Midnight Run’ and these things where there’s a lot of forward momentum and there’s almost a road movie quality to the movie in that way.”
The importance of a pressing timeline was key. “We wanted to really get outside and explore those elements and the urgency was really about trying to graft this idea of sort of a search and rescue movie onto that where there was this ticking clock,’ explained Reed.
Reed saw the possibility of Janet van Dyne alive in the Quantum Realm setting the tone for the film. “It’s an impossible thing, scientifically, but also if there’s urgency and there’s maybe a window of time they have to do it,” Reed added. “It’s about collecting the people, the things, everything they need to do that.”
The difference between “Ant-Man” and its sequel became immediately apparent. “The first movie, really the tempo was more of a like a heist movie and this wanted to be a little more of an Elmore Leonard vibe,” revealed Reed. “You know, where we have villains, but we also have antagonists, and we have these roadblocks to our heroes getting to where they need to be.”
Aside from the change in story tempo, now Ant-Man has a team thanks to the addition of Hope van Dyne. The Wasp finally gets her time to shine. “From the get go, and particularly when we decided this movie’s going to be ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp’— not ‘Ant-Man with The Wasp,'” said Reed. “It’s ‘Ant-Man and The Wasp,’ and so it is important to tell those stories separately and invest in each.”
Reed described how Hope got to explore her own emotional journey. “Each of the characters’ journey and arc in the movie and one of the big things about this, it’s kind of what’s going on with Hope and the fact that the mission that is happening with her—entirely separate of Scott—is vital,” divulged Reed.
The Wasp/Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) and Director Peyton Reed on set BTS.
“It’s her mission. It’s not her dad’s mission; it’s her mission. Hank and Hope are working together, but it’s really Hope leading the charge and that was an important thing when we started talking about what was going on is the what and why in this mission—that there may be certain points in this movie where she sees Scott as a liability,” hinted Reed.
“I think that was important because, you know, there are aspects of this movie that are like a two-hander action movie and there’s aspects of it that are like a two-hander romantic comedy and for me, we’ve done a little bit of both,” said Reed describing the duo’s chemistry.
For Hope, the mission is so much more. “It’s important to get that balance and have her be a fully fleshed out character with motivations and the other questions we talked about, with the search and rescue aspect is if it is, trying to find Janet van Dyne,” stated Reed.
Marvel Studios’ “Ant-Man and The Wasp” debuts in theaters on July 6. Get tickets on Fandango now!
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