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Ant-Man and the Wasp Director Peyton Reed on Making Marvel’s First Female-Led Movie

"We know that in any version of Ant-Man and the Wasp that we're not going to out-depress the ending of Infinity War."

evangeline lilly peyton reed

In an interview with MTV News, Ant-Man and the Wasp director Peyton Reed discussed how he went about creating the sequel to his first Marvel film. Knowing that Ant-Man and the Wasp would be following the epic doom and gloom of Infinity War, Reed set out to tell a smaller, more intimate family story, saying, “We know that in any version of Ant-Man and the Wasp that we’re not going to out-depress the ending of Infinity War.”

The director showcased the two crucial factors he depended on: strong female characters and quick comedic timing.

On the first Ant-Man, I had this rule: This movie has to be under two hours long. I had that same rule for Ant-Man and the Wasp. It’s a comedy, and a comedy should not overstay its welcome. This thing needed to move like a bullet train because it’s still in the crime genre, and there’s this ticking clock, a finite amount of time in which the story takes place. Movies that were an influence to us in that regard were Midnight Run, the Robert De Niro movie; After Hours, the Scorsese movie; and Seven Chances, the Buster Keaton movie.

Reed also discusses the scenes they shot for the sequel that didn’t make the cut, such as a workout montage spoof featuring Paul Rudd (which we’ll hopefully get to see in the deleted scenes). He also discussed the importance and responsibility behind centering Evangeline Lilly’s Janet van Dyne as a titular hero. Reed said,

I felt a great responsibility and a tremendous amount of excitement to be the person who was able to bring Wasp to the screen. In terms of the legacy of that character and Janet Van Dyne, there are a lot of people who know the MCU movies but don’t know the comics so well. Some people get shocked when you remind them that on the cover of Avengers #1, Ant-Man and Wasp — Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne — are there. And Janet was the one who named the Avengers. She’s part of the Mount Rushmore of Marvel Comics characters. So when it came time to do our movie’s versions of those characters, yeah, I took it really seriously.

I had a really deadly weapon in my arsenal with Evangeline Lilly. Evangeline was really clear from the get-go about what she wanted to do and what she didn’t want to do. She wanted this hero to feel very practical. She wanted to sweat when she fought, and she wanted to have her hair in a very practical ponytail so it wouldn’t get caught in things. It really annoys her in action movies when women are in one giant sequence and their hair and nails are perfect and beautiful. She wanted it to have a very down-and-dirty feel to it.

Have you seen Ant-Man and the Wasp yet? What did you think? Post your (spoiler-free) thoughts in the comments below.

(via MTV News, image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.