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You can’t talk about particulars of “Ant-Man’s” plot, but can you talk about the experience of making a Marvel movie?
Yeah, totally: it was a trip! I’ve never been in anything like that before. There’s a ton of people on this crew. You could fit the entire “Station Agent” crew in… it was just huge! And there’s blue screen everywhere. I remember one time we were shooting at nights for three weeks. I hadn’t seen anything behind me that wasn’t a blue screen for three nights in a row. I remember one night at four in the morning being frustrated and just saying, “If it’s going to be blue screen all the time, why can’t you just make it be night? Why do we actually have to be here at night?” That part of it was baffling to me.
But, the actual work — the scenes with me and Paul Rudd, and Judy Greer and Michael Pena — felt like an indie film. It felt like fun. [Director] Peyton Reed [and the studio], they weren’t mercurial about the script. They weren’t mercurial about the humor, at all. They let us be in charge of that. We improvised a lot. Judy Greer’s very funny. Paul’s very funny — he’s a great improviser. The rewrite of the script that Paul did with McKay — and I’ve worked with McKay before — lent itself to that.
You could see that there’s a funny scene and we could actually riff off of that, and that felt impressive to me in this big huge blockbuster film. It made me feel kind of good, that it felt like Marvel was going for something different. It didn’t feel like “Thor.” It felt more like “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which I really enjoyed and I thought brought a certain levity to a superhero movie that I had never seen before.
But still, it was a trip because I’ve known Paul for so long, since before he was famous like this, and it’s just a trip to see one of your best friends in ridiculous leather suit with dots all over him and you’re not supposed to laugh. We just laughed. He’s supposed to be this big [pinches fingers together]. Then I’m supposed to see him growing in front of me. But what I’m really seeing is Paul off-camera standing on an apple box. Then he jumps off the apple box. And I’m supposed to act like he’s growing in front of me and then lands with this really heroic pose, but he’s jumping of a box with green dots on him.
He’s supposed to have a mask that they CGI in. so I’ve never seen the mask. Every time I see him to talk, he goes like this [hits a pretend button] because there’s a button there that isn’t really there. I wasn’t used to that. He’d start to talk and he’d be like, [pretends to push button]. I’d ask ridiculous questions all the time. Peyton Reed, he just kept saying, “Dude, just do it.” But I’d say, “I don’t understand. Does the mask go up this way or this way?” And there’s a visual effects guy there and I want an answer.
They got so tired of my questions: “So I don’t understand — If I was just over there, how did I get over here so quick?” Reed would be like, “Cannavale, it’s a superhero movie, dude. Just do it!” But I’d say, “Yeah, but do I have superhuman speed, because I was just three blocks away and now I’m here and I’m not even out of breath. Should I be out of breath?” He’d be like, “Dude, it’s not the ‘Unbearable Lightness of Being.’ It’s just fucking ‘Ant-Man.’ Just say the line.” Then it just became a joke. I had a blast. We laughed so much on that thing.
From Comic Book Resources: