It’s basic physics: shrinking into Ant-Man is the biggest thing in Paul Rudd’s life

Paul Rudd quickly lost track of the number of autographs and selfies he provided in the first couple of days of his visit to Australia.

“That’s a good question,” the Hollywood actor now best known as Marvel superhero Ant-Man aka Scott Lang said. “You start to lose count after the first thousand.”

Rudd and co-star Jonathan Majors attended a buzzy fan event in Sydney on Thursday night – spending the best part of two hours on the red carpet. Then, with director Peyton Reed, they introduced 20 minutes of scenes from new movie Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Paul Rudd in Sydney on Thursday.Credit:Getty

The third standalone Ant-Man movie, it is the start of what the Disney-owned studio grandly calls Phase Five of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the saving-humanity-from-Thanos events of 2019’s epic Avengers: End Game.

The trio – minus late-drop-out Evangeline Lilly, who plays Wasp/Hope van Dyne – are on a promotional tour that heads next to Los Angeles for the world premiere, then New York and London.

With Ant-Man able to shrink to subatomic size, the dialogue for the first two movies is full of Hollywood’s version of physics jargon. And the new instalment, which has Rudd’s character battling supervillain Kang (Majors) in the so-called “quantum realm”, seems like it carries on the tradition.

Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man, Kathryn Newton as “Cassie” Lang and Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne/Wasp in Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.Credit:Marvel

Rudd, speaking in a hotel by the Harbour, has learnt he doesn’t need to understand the physics to deliver the dialogue.

“I hope you can get by with just [delivering] lines of dialogue, in the same way that I think if you watch all those medical shows and all those actors come in spouting a lot of medical jargon, they seem believable,” he said.

“I did talk to physicists and people that understand quantum mechanics and physics and all of that. During that time, I felt like I was understanding it.

“This is the thing with really smart people: they talk to you and they make you feel like you’re smart. So I talked to brilliant scientists and ‘I think I get this’. Then I’d leave the room and the next day I’d go ‘no, I don’t get it at all’.”

Rudd, 53, was best known for such comedies as the Anchorman movies and I Love You Man until he was cast in 2015’s Ant-Man. Bringing warm-hearted comedy to Hollywood’s biggest superhero franchise, it was a hit that took $US519 million ($730 million) around the world.

The 2018 sequel Ant-Man and the Wasp was an even bigger hit, taking $US623 million, so Marvel has high hopes for the new instalment, which opens in Australian cinemas on February 16.

Rudd said his life had changed as well as his Hollywood career since donning the Ant-Man suit.

Lost count: Paul Rudd signs a fan’s Ant-Man helmet in Sydney.Credit:Disney

“It’s the biggest thing I’d ever been a part of up to that point,” he said. “I’d done films and I had an acting career but Marvel was so visible and global.

“That was a really big change, I think, for me that these movies play in countries [with] different languages and they’re popular.”

Rudd now finds kids recognise him, point, and say his character’s name. “That never happened before,” he said.

Reed, whose previous films include Bring It On and Yes Man, thinks the Marvel movies are so successful because of the mythology established in the comic books that the studio has expanded, so superhero movies “cross-pollinate” with other superhero movies.

“Our movie I think is the 31st MCU movie, which is insane to think about,” he said. “It’s a mythology and there’s a certain amount of wish fulfilment to it and there are morality tales in there.

“And what they’ve done, which is interesting, is get lots of different types of filmmakers and different tones. Quantumania has a very different tone to Wakanda Forever or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.

“There’s room for all these different tones but they all serve this crazy larger narrative.”

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Email Garry Maddox at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @gmaddox.

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