Ant-Man Paul Rudd Spotlight
Will Paul Rudd be a box office superhero?
Marvel Studios has certainly put a lot of faith in Rudd by casting him as the title character in Ant-Man. Rudd was the choice of Ant-Man director Edgar Wright before he left the project and was replaced by Peyton Reed. Rudd even co-wrote the new draft of Ant-Man with Adam McKay.
Rudd has been acting professionally for just over twenty years. While he has starred in some very successful comedy films, he has never headlined an action film before, much less a superhero movie. Rudd previously demonstrated his writing ability, however, when he co-created and wrote for the “Party Down” TV series and when he worked on the script for Role Models. Rudd has also been in constant demand for movie roles for the last ten years. Rudd’s Hollywood career gradually built momentum and he has the chance to reinvent himself as a star if Ant-Man is a huge hit for Marvel. Just look at what Guardians of the Galaxy did for Chris Pratt!
The prospects for Ant-Man should clear up as the July 17 release date approaches. But before Rudd faces his greatest test to date, ComingSoon.net has put together a retrospective of Rudd’s ten most pivotal roles to date. Each of these films marked an important step forward for Rudd’s career. And we’ll soon see where he’s going.
Paul Rudd’s second film was perhaps his most action-heavy performance before Ant-Man. As Tommy Doyle, Rudd stepped into the older incarnation of the kid who was one of the few survivors of Michael Myers’ wrath in the first Halloween. This time, Tommy was the hunter who was looking to end the curse of Michael Myers once and for all.
This movie didn’t exactly light the box office on fire, but it did open more doors for Rudd in Hollywood.
The Cider House Rules (1999)
After his stint in the Halloween franchise, Rudd had memorable supporting turns in Clueless and Romeo + Juliet, in addition to a starring role in the little-seen film, Overnight Delivery. But it was The Cider House Rules that gave Rudd a dramatic role as Wally Worthington, a romantic rival to Tobey Maguire’s Homer Wells for the love of Wally’s girlfriend, Candy Kendall (Charlize Theron).
If anyone ever needed proof that Rudd could do more than comedy, this is the best example to point to.
Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
Wet Hot American Summer is a strange beast of a movie. It bombed at the box office and critics hated it. Yet it somehow became a beloved cult comedy classic that led to an upcoming prequel series on Netflix.
Director and co-writer David Wain had the good fortune of assembling a cast of future comedy-all-stars. Rudd was cast in the movie as Andy, alongside Janeane Garofalo, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Ken Marino, Christopher Meloni, David Hyde Pierce, Molly Shannon, Judah Friedlander, and several others.
Incredibly, almost the entire main cast (including Rudd) signed on for the Netflix series, “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp”; which is slated to premiere next month..
Paul Rudd’s Brian Fantana was only a secondary character in this Will Ferrell-led farce that eventually led to a sequel. The reason that Anchorman is so important to Rudd is that it led to his long collaboration with current comedy kingmaker, Judd Apatow.
It was also Rudd’s first film with director/writer, Adam McKay, who co-wrote the final draft of the Ant-Man script with Rudd.
The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Rudd was back in the Apatow camp for The 40-Year-Old Virgin, this time playing second banana to Steve Carell’s title character. However, The 40-Year-Old Virgin was a huge blockbuster that elevated the careers of almost everyone involved.
After this film, Apatow cast Rudd as the secondary lead in his next movie.
Knocked Up (2007)
Knocked Up made Seth Rogen into a movie star and it briefly did the same thing for Katherine Heigl.
It was also a very good movie for Paul Rudd, as he originated the role of Pete opposite Leslie Mann’s Debbie. As the supporting couple in Knocked Up, Rudd and Mann stole several scenes and they eventually landed the lead roles in a pseudo -sequel film five years later.
Role Models (2008)
Role Models was one of the first hits in Rudd’s career as a leading film actor. Starring alongside Seann William Scott, Rudd played an Energy Drink salesman who was forced to perform community service in a Big Brother-like mentorship for teenagers.
Rudd co-wrote Role Models with David Wain, Timothy Dowling, and Ken Marino. More than any of his prior movies, Role Models established that Rudd could carry a comedy film.
Dinner for Schmucks (2010)
Rudd scored another comedy hit when he re-teamed with Steve Carell in Dinner for Schmucks. This time, Rudd was the co-leading man with Carell as he stepped into the role of Tim Conrad, an executive who was tasked with inviting a huge loser to an event designed to mock them. Carell’s taxidermy loving, IRS agent, Barry Speck fit the bill perfectly.
It’s never been entirely clear why this movie cost nearly $70 million to make, but Dinner for Schmucks once again pushed Rudd’s career forward.
Our Idiot Brother (2011)
After years in comedic roles, Rudd had another opportunity to show off some of his dramatic side as the title character in Our Idiot Brother. Rudd played Ned Rochlin, a relatively simple man who has a complex relationship with his sisters, Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), Natalie (Zooey Deschanel), and Liz (Emily Mortimer).
Our Idiot Brother was only a modest box office performer, but it did serve as a reminder that Rudd had greater range than he was previously allowed to demonstrate.
This Is 40 (2012)
Seven years after his first collaboration with director Judd Apatow, Paul Rudd finally headlined an Apatow film opposite Leslie Mann. In This Is 40, Rudd and Mann reprised their roles as Pete and Debbie from Knocked Up, but this wasn’t a direct sequel to that film. It was more like a new story that just happened to feature two characters who had previously appeared in a very different movie.
The film itself got mixed reviews from the critics, but Rudd and Mann were praised for their portrayals. And more importantly, This Is 40 was actually a modest hit. Rudd has never headlined a film that’s made more than $100 million domestically, but he came close with this movie ($88.1 million), Dinner for Schmucks ($86.4 million), I Love You, Man ($91.6 million), and Role Models ($92.5 million).
It’s a pretty safe bet that Ant-Man will become Rudd’s first starring role in a movie that takes in over $100 million. Anything after that is still up in the air.
Ant-Man will invade theaters on Friday, July 17.