NEW YORK — Paul Rudd immediately warns me about bullet ants.
He beat me to the American Museum of Natural History’s entomology collection, where I find him leaning over a glass case of meticulously arranged specimens. These guys are scarier than they look, he says, gesturing to the rows of shiny black bullet ants. Apparently they rank high on entomologist Justin Schmidt’s pain index, which is based on his personal experiences of different species stinging him. Can you imagine going through all that? Rudd mimes being stung. “Ow!”
He imparts this knowledge as if he has been carrying it around for years. Maybe an above-average understanding of insect life is just a function of playing Ant-Man, the Marvel superhero whose suit allows him to shrink all the way down to subatomic size. Later that January evening, a stranger at the museum catches a glimpse of the 53-year-old actor and exclaims, “Don’t sting me!” Rudd smiles politely. He has become the ant.
The encounter doesn’t faze Rudd, who has spent nearly a decade in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, leading three of its stand-alone films — the latest, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” out Friday.
He was already a star before, securing heartthrob status in 1995’s “Clueless” and displaying affable goofiness in some of the aughts’ biggest studio comedies, including “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” Playing Ant-Man thrust Rudd in front of a devout global audience. His list of credits now boasts the second-highest-grossing film of all time.
To Rudd, the Marvel projects are similar to any other: He stands in front of a camera trying to remember his lines and hit his mark, same as he would on the set of a Judd Apatow movie. Sure, he helped save the world a few times. He’s still Paul Rudd.
“I thought if I were ever going to be cast as a superhero, something like ‘Ant-Man’ would make sense,” he says. “This is not someone who’s really born with any kind of superhuman ability. He’s just a regular person.” [More at Source]
Feature: Paul Rudd for the Washington Post
23 February 2023