Exciting news for Marvel fans in Fresno and all over the world as yesterday, fresh off his win for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Television Film for Steven Soderbergh's Behind the Candelabra at last Sunday's Golden Globe Awards, actor Michael Douglas has signed on to play the role of Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym in Edgar Wright's upcoming film Ant-Man.
Intended to be the twelfth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the first film of what Marvel is referring to as "Phase Three," Ant-Man is based on the classic comic book superhero who can shrink himself down to the size of an ant as well as communicate with said insects to do his bidding via a cybernetic helmet. What is unusual about this production, however, is that it will be focusing on two different versions of the character, with Douglas playing the original version, genius scientist Dr. Hank Pym, and previously announced actor Paul Rudd playing the reformed criminal turned modern day version of the character, Scott Lang.
For those not in the know, Douglas's character has been a classic member of the Marvel pantheon since the 60s, in fact, despite not appearing in the 2012 film, he was one of the founding members of the Avengers along with his frequent partner-in-crimefighting and lover Janet Van Dyne, a.k.a. the Wasp. But during the character's lengthy comic book career he has held many different superhero monikers since his powers allow him not only to shrink to near microscopic size, but also the grow to up to 100 feet tall; other monikers Pym has had over the years include Giant-Man, Goliath, and Yellowjacket.
A Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said of Douglas's casting, "With Hank Pym's rich history in the Marvel Universe, we knew we needed an actor capable of bringing the weight and stature to the role that the character deserves. We felt incredibly relieved when Michael Douglas agreed to step into the part with the charm and fortitude he brings to every character he inhabits, and couldn't be more excited to see what he will do to bring Hank Pym to life."
The premise of involving both the Pym and Lang versions of the character, with the confirmation of Rudd's role only coming along with Douglas's, has long been discussed and speculated by fan as the film has gone through a long and highly-analyzed development phase. As Edgar Wright told SuperHeroHype in an interview some years ago that was confirmed via Twitter to still be true yesterday morning, "The idea that we have for the adaptation is to actually involve both…Henry Pym and Scott Lang. So you actually do a prologue where you see Pym as Ant-Man in action in the 60's, in sort of Tales to Astonish mode basically, and then the contemporary, sort of flash-forward, is Scott Lang's story, and how he comes to acquire the suit, how he crosses paths with Henry Pym, and then, in an interesting sort of Machiavellian way, teams up with him."
In an interview with Reuters posted this morning, Douglas spoke about what attracted him to the role. "I've been dying to do a Marvel picture for so long. The script is really fun, the director is really good. Dylan (the actor's 13-year-old son) will love it. He'll have a picture he can see." Douglas also said how he hopes his decision to be in the film will be a surprise to audiences and studios alike. "Sometimes – like (when) they didn't see you for Liberace – you've got to shake them up a little bit and have some fun."
Ant-Man is currently slated to enter principal photography in mid-2014 and see release on July 31, 2015.