When Paul Rudd was approached to star in “Ant-Man” nearly a decade ago, the versatile actor was initially surprised. Starring in a superhero film was not the direction he envisioned for his career, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe wasn’t the vast and prestigious film empire it is today.
“My agent set up a meeting with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige,” Rudd told Men’s Health. “Marvel was pretty new. They weren’t even part of Disney. It would’ve been like somebody saying, How would you feel about doing ‘Dancing with the Stars?’ A superhero franchise was never on my radar.”
Rudd had previously appeared in films like “Clueless,” “Wet Hot American Summer,” “Knocked Up” and “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and, may not have seemed like the most obvious choice to helm a superhero movie. It’s a sentiment Rudd himself agreed with.
“I never really thought I was the type of actor that they would offer any of those parts to,” Rudd said. “But when this idea came around, I was excited about doing something that was so out of left field, and I knew that if it was announced that I was going to be joining a superhero franchise, most people would say, ‘What the fuck?'”
Getting in shape for a Marvel film is now widely known to be a grueling process that yields impressive results. (Just look at Kumail Nanjiani’s striking physical transformation for the 2021 film, “The Eternals.”) For Rudd, preparing for the role of Scott Lang, or Ant-Man, involved a year-long process that included trainers and omitting sugar.
When the 53-year-old actor was asked what the secret was to his superhero body and much-discussed youthful looks, Rudd chalked it up to “sleep.”
“Then diet,” Rudd continued, citing foods and drinks like eggs, salmon, and protein shakes without fruit. “Then weights. Then cardio.”
Added Rudd: “I get up and I have a cup of coffee, and then I do cardio before I eat anything. I never would’ve done that before [“Ant-Man”]. I lift weights, hopefully at least three times a week. And I’ve learned so much about how my body reacts to foods, how it reacts to exercise, and where I’m happiest, and how much it affects me mentally.”
Rudd reprises his role as Lang in “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” due out February 17.