Eventual Marvel star Evangeline Lilly laughed when she was approached about Ant-Man because she thought it was a joke — until she learned star Paul Rudd and then-director Edgar Wright were aboard the project.
"I was just finishing up on my press tour for The Hobbit when my manager called me and said, 'I got a call from Marvel, and they're wondering if you might want to meet and see if this new franchise, Ant-Man, might be appealing to you.' And I laughed," Lilly said with a chuckle at Fan Expo Boston this weekend.
Lilly, who had just come off a two-movie run on the Peter Jackson-directed Lord of the Rings prequel series, had nearly quit acting altogether before Jackson convinced her to play arrow-slinging Wood-Elf Tauriel.
"I said, 'Have they run out of superheroes and now they're making them up?' Because I never heard of Ant-Man, I genuinely thought it was a joke. And then he was like, 'No, no, no, he's one of the original Avengers, this is the real thing.' I was like, 'Well, the truth is, I was just a super-elf. I don't really need to be a superhero.' And he goes, 'Hang on, hear me out, Ant-Man will be played by Mr. Paul Rudd and it will be directed by the Edgar Wright,'" Lilly said.
"And I was like, 'Hold the phone! Who is making this movie, this sounds awesome! And why is a superhero gonna be Paul Rudd and why is Edgar Wright directing it, I love this, what is happening in my life!' I said okay, I have to do some homework, I need to watch a Marvel movie and find out what these cool dudes are up to, 'cause they sound really cool. So then I spent a weekend — I think I watched six Marvel movies in one weekend. I was like, 'I'm in! I don't know how I missed all of this, but this is so cool! Yes, I want to do this.'"
The Shaun of the Dead and Baby Driver writer-director was attached to Ant-Man even before Marvel Studios emerged as an independent studio with Iron Man in 2008. Wright was set to serve as writer-director and developed the project for years until May 2014, when Marvel and Wright announced the filmmaker exited the project, citing creative differences.
Bring It On and Yes Man director Peyton Reed assumed the reigns, and Ant-Man went on to gross $519 million at the worldwide box office. Its sequel — where Lilly first suits up as superhero the Wasp — was released in July and has since earned $449 million worldwide.
Lilly and Rudd next return in Avengers 4, set for May 3, 2019.