Living legends

More unusual role choices for Michael Douglas as Marvel superhero in ‘Ant-Man’

 

After throwing audiences a curveball by playing flamboyant pianist Liberace, leading man Michael Douglas is ready to make another unconventional career choice, this time playing scientist Hank Pym in Marvel superhero film Ant-Man.

Disney-owned Marvel said that Douglas, 69, will play Henry “Hank” Pym, the creator of the technology to shrink a human to the size of an insect and thus become Ant-Man. Paul Rudd, 44, will play Scott Lang, the alter-ego of the diminutive Marvel superhero.

“I've been dying to do a Marvel picture for so long,” Douglas told Reuters. “The script is really fun, the director is really good. Dylan [the actor's 13-year-old son with Catherine Zeta Jones] will love it. He'll have a picture he can see.”

Pym's character first appeared in the 27th issue of Marvel Comics series Tales to Astonish in January 1962. Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, said in a statement posted on Marvel.com that Douglas will play Pym with “charm and fortitude.”

Douglas, who won a Best Actor Oscar in 1988 for Oliver Stone’s financial drama Wall Street and picked up a Golden Globe award on Sunday for his turn as Liberace in the HBO movie Behind the Candelabra, is taking a rare step into the world of big-budget franchise action films.

“Sometimes — like [when] they didn't see you for Liberace — you've got to shake them up a little bit and have some fun,” Douglas said of surprising studios and audiences with his decision to do a superhero film.

Walt Disney Co.’s foray in bringing Marvel’s superhero universe to the big screen has proved to be a lucrative choice, with films such as Avengers and Iron Man 3 crossing the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office.

The plot for Ant-Man is being kept firmly under wraps. The film, directed by Edgar Wright ( Shaun of the Dead), is scheduled to be in theaters in July 2015.

And while Douglas has only done one sequel in his career spanning more than 40 years — Gordon Gekko in 2010's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps — the actor teased about his involvement in future Ant-Man sequels.

“[Marvel] reciprocated well, there are sequels. Who knows?” the actor said.

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