At 53 years old, the ageless Paul Rudd looks as much of a sculpted superhero in real life as he embodies Ant-Man on the big screen.
But that wasn’t always the case.
“When it was announced that I was going to be a superhero, a lot of people probably said, ‘Who cares? Paul Rudd? In a superhero costume? Is it a comedy?’ he says with a warm smile on a Zoom interview from Los Angeles.
The favorite of the Marvel franchise returns to theaters on February 17 with “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.”
Billed as a family road trip, the new film sees Scott Lang (Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly) team up with Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) to explore the Quantum Realm. Not only do they find strange creatures, but they meet the ultimate evil in Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors).
Rudd, star of movies like “Clueless,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” and “This Is 40,” plus a slew of Avengers movies, is married to screenwriter Julie Yaeger. They have two children: Jack, 16, and Darby, 13.
Ant-Man’s big tips for living the good life:
Rudd says his Scott Lang/Ant-Man character has embraced the changes in life — as has Rudd: “When we get into this new movie, it’s present. Scott drives a victory lap. He was a man with a steady job and no super abilities, but he joined the Avengers and fought Thanos. Now he has written a book, a kind of memoir called ‘Look Out for the Little Guy’. ”
It’s never too late
“I think he really wants to be a normal dad. He’s always had a love-hate relationship with it. But now he’s accepted that he’s older and is happy to see saving the world reflected in his rearview mirror. He wants to spend some time together with his only daughter. He has missed a lot and wants to recapture time. … Of course his best plans don’t last, because life changes in the blink of an eye. The most important thing is that he has still grown and is ready for anything.”
Get your Zzzs
To prepare for playing Ant-Man again, Rudd focused on health, starting with an element many training warriors forget. “You can talk about diet and the gym, but the truth is one of the best ways to get in shape and feel great is to watch your sleep,” he says. “I know a lot of people who reach a certain age and sleep only four or five hours a night. They even get up at 5 in the morning to train. If there is a way to get eight hours of sleep in your life, you will feel so much better.”
Focus on health every day
Rudd says he follows a strict diet and exercise regimen for the Marvel movies. “It’s new for me to revolve around fitness for a day,” he admits. “I mean, I’ve worked out in the past, but never that much.” Rudd says he also had to come to terms with his mental state about diet and exercise. “I am one of those people who want to look good, but I also want to eat and drink as much as I want. That approach really doesn’t work. You have to make health a real part of your life and pay attention to it every day.”
Eat well and exercise
He also found out that it takes both good exercise and good food. “You can’t do one without the other to see real progress,” he says. What’s his plan? When he wakes up, it’s coffee and cardio before he eats anything. “My workouts were influenced by what I ate, so I eat afterwards,” says Rudd. Some of his daily staples include eggs, salmon, and protein shakes, but no sugar. No junk food either. “Vegetables can be your friend,” he emphasizes.
Love what you do
In Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Rudd has found a character he enjoys playing. “What I like most about him is that he’s a regular guy who has reservations about all this action,” says Rudd. “He’s part of this group of awesome superheroes, but he’s the first to say, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’ He’s a real person… As an actor, you want to play someone who is relatable and someone you can understand. I especially like his human qualities. Even with his child. His daughter is older and has her own ideas. There’s that regular push-pull that is every person dealing with life.
Life can be wrinkle free
Rudd doesn’t seem to have aged since he debuted in a certain 1995 teen comedy. “I was so dreamy in ‘Clueless,'” he jokes. “I even fell in love with myself…and I haven’t changed a bit.” He adds: ‘I don’t tan and always use sunscreen, which apparently really works. But I don’t really do it to prevent wrinkles, but to prevent skin cancer. And I see myself getting older – I just embrace it.
Sing it, Ant-Man!
Ask if he has an Ant-Man costume at home and Rudd jokes, “Not only do I have one, but I wear it at home. You should see me doing karaoke in the Ant-Man suit.