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Feature: Paul Rudd for GQ Hype

written by mouza
12 February 2023

On a chilly Sunday in January, Paul Rudd found himself enduring what he called “the least enjoyable, most enjoyable experience you can ever have.” He was in Kansas City, Missouri, watching his favorite team, the Kansas City Chiefs, battle the Cincinnati Bengals with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line. It was bitterly cold in Arrowhead Stadium, with the temperature dropping into the teens. To keep warm, Rudd layered three hoodies (including one from Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s brand) under his number-10 Isiah Pacheco Chiefs jersey. “I felt like the kid in A Christmas Story,” he said. To ward off any confusion, he affixed a nametag to the front of his jersey. It read: Paul Rudd.

Rudd lives with his family in New York, but he spent his formative years in a suburb of Kansas City and remains a diehard fan of the team, sometimes to a degree that surprises him. “I’m a 53-year-old man watching these guys that could all be my sons playing the game and I’m so emotionally invested in it,” he marveled. “And when they lose, it’s irrational how sad it makes me.”

But the Chiefs won, taking irrational sadness out of the equation and replacing it with something a good deal more fun. One of the perks of Rudd’s rise—from small parts in indie films to supporting roles in blockbuster comedies to, for nearly a decade now, superhero—is that, when he has Chiefs tickets, he gets to go down on the field and interact with the players before and after the game. “As I’m down there, I’m like a teenager,” he told me of the experience. “I can’t believe it. I’m standing next to these giant guys and hugging players. And it’s the most surreal thing.”

He didn’t linger long in Kansas City, though: the next day, he was set to fly to Australia (with a brief stopover in Los Angeles) to begin promoting Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, his latest outing as the Marvel superhero. So Rudd spent the night at his mom’s house, where he stays when he’s home, and then made his way to the airport. (He left one of his hoodies with mom, since it didn’t fit in his Australia carry-on.)

When we met the next day, in the lobby bar of a Los Angeles hotel, he was a little hoarse, and nursed a mint tea. He wore a fuzzy gray sweater, Brooklyn-dad eyeglasses, and upstate-dad Blundstones. His hair resembled a field of question marks swaying on their points. All to say: he looked like a version of Paul Rudd who’d been out in sub-freezing temperatures for four hours the previous night. It was hard to tell if the shine in his eyes was leftover joy from the Chiefs’ victory or just a small outward manifestation of his Paul Ruddness—a faint trace of the sheepish warmth that has helped make him one of the planet’s most purely appealing movie stars, and increasingly one of its more bankable ones. [More at Source]

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