Small ant in big movie
He's not the headliner but US actor Paul Rudd is happy to be part of Captain America: Civil War's huge ensemble cast
After the success of 2015's Ant-Man, which made more than US$500 million (S$680 million) worldwide, Paul Rudd - who played the titular superhero aka Scott Lang - finds himself on a bigger stage.In the new Marvel blockbuster Captain America: Civil War, he gets to join Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
The US actor plays on Team Cap, led by Captain America (Chris Evans), along with Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).
Opening here on April 28, Civil War is the third film in the Captain America franchise and it also includes a gamut of characters from the Avengers films, with the newest Spider-Man (Tom Holland) thrown in for good measure.
The superheroes' efforts to save the world in last year's Avengers: Age Of Ultron have resulted in collateral damage, and there is pressure on the government to regulate and oversee the superhero community.
This decision divides the Avengers into two camps - Captain America wants freedom to defend humanity without interference; the other camp is led by Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) who supports the oversight.
At our interview at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, the genial and boyish Rudd, 47, calls his crossover into the Captain America/Avengers universe "trippy".
"When I was little, I moved around and lived in a lot of different places. I was always the new kid in school and that's exactly what it felt like.
"Some of that enthusiasm that the character has, it kind of just came about organically. It wasn't scripted really, and so this idea that I'm really impressed with them just seemed to kind of come out of how I was actually feeling (while) shooting the scene," he says.
He ended up getting along with everyone, especially Downey Jr.
"You're standing around and killing time and telling jokes and hanging out. I had never worked with Robert before and we had just one exchange in the movie. Each time we did that, it was different, and that was really fun because he's so funny...
"He likes to change it up a lot (such) that it makes you kind of have to be on your toes. I loved it."
Being part of a huge ensemble was a different preparation process for Rudd, compared with headlining his own movie.
"Nobody's really focused on my character so much in this. It's not my story... You're joining the orchestra. Somebody's playing an oboe, somebody's playing a violin, and I might be just the little triangle, but it's still part of it."
However small his part is, the training for Civil War still involved different kinds of tumbling and flips for Rudd.
"It was awful. It's like trying to learn violin golf - both of which I'm terrible at. You get dizzy but like anything, the more you do it, you start to adjust," said Rudd.
The actor is now working on the script of the 2018 sequel Ant-Man And The Wasp, which starts shooting next summer.
The coolest thing for him so far about being part of the Marvel family is that kids recognise him as Ant-Man.
The father of a 10-year-old boy and six-year-old girl says: "I've definitely noticed a difference even going to my daughter's school the other day. She's in kindergarten. We had the parents come in and talk about their jobs and I went in. It's all five- and six-year-olds and all they wanted to do was ask me questions about Ant-Man. It's crazy."
Even crazier, however, are his weird fan encounters with adults.
"There's always the one when you're standing at a urinal next to somebody and then they want to shake your hand," he recalls with a laugh. "Or (take) a selfie. It's like, come on."