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Nobody is having a better week than Paul Rudd, but Kathryn Newton’s past week comes a close second.
The Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania star just celebrated her birthday on Feb. 8 while promoting her MCU debut as Scott Lang/Ant-Man’s daughter, Cassie Lang. The role has been a long-time dream for Newton, and as much as she’s made the character her own, she still went back to reference Abby Ryder Fortson’s work as Young Cassie in Ant-Man (2015) and Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018).
“Abby was so cute and joyful and just magical in both movies. So we thought about her a lot, especially in creating what she looks like now,” Newton tells The Hollywood Reporter. “So I had a seamless transition, and … she still has that same spark of energy, that joy, that love and a big, big heart.”
Newton also starred in Christopher Landon’s body-swap slasher film, Freaky (2020), and ever since, fans have wanted a crossover between that film and Landon’s time-loop slasher franchise, Happy Death Day. After all, Landon has said that they both take place in the same universe, and pitting Newton’s Blissfield Butcher against Jessica Rothe’s ultimate survivor, Tree Gelbman, just makes too much sense.
However, last December, Blumhouse boss Jason Blum gave THR a grim update about the possibility of a crossover event, stating, “I wouldn’t have very high hopes.” But despite being surprised by Blum’s comments, Newton is still urging fans to keep the faith.
“I say never say never. I think the possibilities are limitless. If you have a script and people like it, then it could happen. So let’s just talk to Chris Landon about that,” Newton says.
In a recent conversation with THR, Newton also recounts the story of how she went from golfing with Bill Murray in 2021 to co-starring in a Marvel movie with him just two years later.
Kathryn Newton, congrats on Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and happy birthday.
Thank you! It’s the best birthday ever, for sure.
Around your birthday a couple years ago, you golfed at Pebble Beach with Bill Murray and had a time-loop movie come out [The Map of Tiny Perfect Things]. And now you have a movie with Bill Murray coming out around this year’s birthday.
Isn’t that funny?
Do you feel like you’re in your own quantum realm?
I definitely feel like some weird stuff is happening in my life right now. (Laughs.) It’s just a weird coincidence, but when I’m lucky enough to be on a press tour during a birthday or on set during a birthday or have a movie coming out during a birthday, it’s a good sign that it’s going to be a good year.
So I’m going to pretend like I don’t know the answer to this question, but did you call Marvel casting director Sarah Finn from the 17th hole at Pebble Beach and cast Bill Murray yourself?
(Laughs.) Yeah, I gave her a call and told her that I think he’d be great in the movie. I have that power and I knew it, so I wielded it.
I knew it!
I wrote the movie and directed it, too. I also play every character in the movie. You think it’s Paul Rudd, but it’s just really good prosthetics.
For those who didn’t hear the story, how did his casting actually go down?
The truth is I played in the tournament [2021 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am], and I wanted everyone to think I was cool, so I told them about the next project I was doing. I was also playing with Jordan Spieth, who I’m a big fan of, and I was like, “I’m in Ant-Man, and it’s going to be sick.” And Bill was like, “Huh, Marvel.”
And then I got a phone call a month later. My mom was like, “I have Bill Murray for you.” And I was like, “What!?” And Bill was like, “I’ve been thinking about joining the MCU for a while.” And I was like, “Okay.” And he was like, “I just wanted to ask your permission to join the movie.” And I was like, “Yeah, Bill. That’s fine, but maybe you should talk to somebody else and see if there’s a role for you. I have no idea.” But I think he already had an offer and just wanted to make a joke out of it.
Michael Douglas also plays golf, so we were all going to play golf, but then we never played golf because I was too tired. It turns out that making a Marvel movie is a lot of work. So my clubs just laid on the ground in London for five months, and I never picked them up.
The crew didn’t set up a net for you like Supernatural once did?
They probably would have, but I had no time. If I had a break, I would just sit in my trailer and nap. It was a demanding role, physically. Even having to take my super suit off to swing a golf club would’ve just been too much work. So it’s a good thing I’m an actor; it’s way easier than being a golfer.
You’ve been doing great work for a long time now, so did Marvel come to you with an offer for Quantumania?
Well, I did take a meeting. I had a meeting with Peyton Reed, our wonderful director, and it was really, really, really weird. It came out of thin air. That’s how it felt to me. I think Sarah Finn saw something in me a long time ago. I don’t know what she saw in me, but I was lucky enough to be cast in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Pokémon Detective Pikachu, both of which were through Sarah Finn. There could be another one in there, but I think she’s the reason that I got introduced to the MCU. And then Peyton also believed in me. He saw me as Cassie Lang, and it just takes one person to change your life. And they both did.
Some actors opt not to do this, but did you go back and watch Abby Ryder Fortson’s work as Young Cassie at all?
Oh, yes! I love the Ant-Man movies. I love how they’re really rooted in a father-daughter relationship, and that’s really the heart of this movie. And Abby was so cute and joyful and just magical in both movies. So we thought about her a lot, especially in creating what she looks like now. We wanted her to stay brunette, so I had a seamless transition, and I was so excited to introduce this new phase of Cassie. She still has that same spark of energy, that joy, that love and a big, big heart. So I hope that audiences feel it because that’s what I wanted to show.
And the little bit that we get to meet Cassie in this movie, I wanted the audience to know she’s fighting the good fight. She’s sticking up for the little guy, and she’s not thinking too much about it. If it’s the right thing to do and someone needs help, she’s going to do it. That’s pretty brave, and it makes for a good movie because she makes a lot of mistakes trying to do the right thing. She kind of trips over herself and is clumsy, but she’s a good character because she’s got a place to go. She’s not perfect.
A few months ago, you, Jessica Rothe and Chris Landon took photos together, as did you, Jess and Jason Blum. So that led me to believe that a Freaky Death Day announcement was imminent, but then Jason told me around Christmas that Freaky Death Day was unlikely to happen. So what am I missing here? Why can’t we have the crossover event of the century?
Oh, he did!? I didn’t know that. What did he say?
He told me not to get my hopes up.
That’s so sad! I say never say never. I think the possibilities are limitless. If you have a script and people like it, then it could happen. So let’s just talk to Chris Landon about that.
I’m talking to him in a couple days, so I will.
Push him! Be like, “We want it! We want it!” And then maybe [it’ll happen].
Well, every year I ask you about a potential golf movie with you, such as Tin Cup 2 or Happy Gilmore 2, and I also know that you were developing something golf-related as well. So what’s the latest?
Listen, I’m working on it! I don’t really have an excuse for you. I’ve been busy. I’ve been working a lot, so it got put on the back burner. Some other projects that I’m creating got put in front of it because they just took off faster. I’m trying to do it perfectly, and I might have had a breakthrough recently. So don’t give up on me.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania opens in theaters on Feb. 17. This interview was edited for length and clarity.
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