Evangeline Lilly Worked Harder on 'Ant-Man' Stunts Than Paul Rudd

Evangeline Lilly at Ant Man Premiere - Getty - H 2018
Charley Gallay/Getty
Director Peyton Reed jokingly gave his leading man a hard time at the premiere of the Marvel Studios film.

Evangeline Lilly is not taking her duties as a Marvel superhero lightly.

Ant-Man and the Wasp director Peyton Reed said the actress, who steps into the role of The Wasp in the sequel, put Paul Rudd to shame with her work ethic.

"Evangeline is a very physical actor and she takes very seriously the stunt work and the training. Way more so than Paul Rudd," Reed deadpanned to The Hollywood Reporter at Monday's premiere of the film at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. "She's in there and really wants to get it right. Every aspect of that character. It was important to her. 'I want to sweat. A lot of those female heroes they fight and they look great and glam, I want to sweat. I want to have my hair in a ponytail because that's what I would do.'"

Ant-Man and the Wasp picks up after the events of 2016's Captain America: Civil War, which ended in Ant-Man/Scott Lang's (Rudd) incarceration. The pic is set before the events of Avengers: Infinity War, which revealed Scott was under house arrest for helping out Captain America in Civil War.   

This time around, Michelle Pfeiffer joins the franchise as Janet van Dyne (the original Wasp) in her first comic book movie role in 26 years since Batman Returns, and Laurence Fishburne makes his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut as brilliant scientist Bill Foster. But just as important is the addition of Ghost, played by Hannah John-Kamen. While some would call her a villain, the actress does not see the character that way.

"She's the antagonist of the movie. She's the threat to the heroes. In her mind, she's not a villain," John-Kamen told THR. The actress pushed herself to do her own stunts, calling it "a real adrenaline rush."

The Ant-Man movies have a habit of following Avengers films, with the first Ant-Man coming just months after Avengers: Age of Ultron earned $1.4 billion globally, while Ant-Man and the Wasp follows Infinity War's more than $2 billion haul that began in April. Producer Stephen Broussard notes that the Ant-Man films aren't trying to compete with Avengers in terms of scope or box office.

"We don't try to beat Avengers at its own game. So much like the first Ant-Man, it's a very purposeful turn into smaller — pun intended — scale. Character-driven, family-driven and fun — all by design to make it feel like a counterpoint almost," he said.

Composer Christophe Beck also returned for the follow-up, adding variations to his work from the 2015 original.

"Ghost has a fun that's quite a bit darker. Similar to the first movie, which was a father-daughter story at heart, this is a mother-daughter story at heart," said Beck. "So there are a lot of scenes that require an emotional scoring as well. It's always fun to try to make people cry."

Members of the Marvel family in attendance included studio head Kevin Feige, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, Guardians of the Galaxy filmmaker James Gunn, Guardians stars Michael Rooker and Karen Gillan and Avengers screenwriter Christopher Markus.

There was a slight technical glitch getting the Imax screening underway at the TCL Chinese Theatre, and the audience was getting a little antsy after the introduction of the team, including Reed, Rudd, Lilly, Michael Douglas, Pfeiffer, Fishburne, John-Kamen, T.I. and David Dastmalchian.

Fortunately, Marvel Studios exec Victoria Alonso kept the audience entertained, taking the stage to lead the crowd in a rendition of "Happy Birthday" for a friend of hers in the audience. Shortly after, the lights went down and the film began, with the now-traditional applause when the Marvel Studios logo popped up on the screen.

With Ant-Man and The Wasp set to open July 6, Reed noted that, as a director, it never gets easier to send one of his films off into the world.

"Part of my job as a director is being a control freak. And then finally the day comes and they rip the movie out of your hands," he told THR. "It is going to be shown and it's going to be received how it's received, which is great and exhilarating, but also scary. I love it."