Actor Paul Rudd has officially been offered the title role of Marvel and Edgar Wright’s upcoming film, Ant-Man, according to The Wrap. Rudd is still in the early phase of negotiations, but multiple sources have suggested that the roles is his.
Rudd has been rumored to be a front-runner for the lead role for months, along with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Following Gordon-Levitt’s decision to take on producing, directing, and staring duties in DC’s planned Sandman film, the choice was made simple. According to the report, Rudd will play Henry “Hank” Pym, the Marvel comics hero and founding member of the Avengers who could shrink down to insect size. That somewhat (although not entirely) contradicts earlier statements from Wright that the film would focus on Scott Lang, the character that later took up the Ant-Man title, but still introduce Pym in a supporting capacity.
In the comics, Pym has a history that could generously be called convoluted. After starting as a scientist-turned-hero, he then went on to engage in a series of increasingly bad guy-ish decisions, including the creation of one of the Avenger’s most deadly foes, Ultron. In the recent Ultimates re-imagining of The Avengers, he also beat his wife Janet van Dyne, aka The Wasp, before joining a group that attacked the United States. In the original Marvel comics universe, along with the Ant-Man guise Pym has also appeared as Giant Man, Goliath, Yellow Jacket, and even briefly as The Wasp.
Although Rudd has proven that he can handle the dramatic roles, a wife-beating superhero with identity issues might be a tough sell. If the report is correct and Rudd is Pym – and assuming Pym is the lead rather than Lang – combining Rudd with director (and co-writer) Edgar Wright seems to suggest a more comedic, and less domestic violence-y take on the character. The film will also debut after Avengers : Age of Ultron, making it unlikely that Pym will be responsible for Ultron’s creation (although Avenger’s helmer Joss Whedon cold sneak in something connecting them).
Whether or not Rudd appears in Avengers : Age of Ultron in any capacity, it’s likely that he will appear in other Marvel films at some point. Based on the character’s history as a founding member of the team, Ant-Man would be a good fit for what is almost certainly an inevitable third Avengers movies, and possibly in a cameo role in standalone Marvel films.
Ant-Man is scheduled to hit theaters on July 31, 2015.