Ant-Man and the Wasp – Michael Pena’s Frenetic Flashback

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Ant-Man and the Wasp is a sequel to 2015’s superhero film Ant-Man.  Michael Pena stars in both movies as Luis, the fast-talking ex-cellmate to ex-con turned Ant-Man Scott Lang.  Some of the most memorable scenes in the original Ant-Man are Luis’s hyper-active flashbacks.  The audience gets to see comedic recreations of events narrated by his breathless enthusiasm.

LUIS AND THE EX-CONS

Michael Pena’s Luis is now the boss at X-Cons, a small security consulting and installation firm.  Kurt and Dave, the ex-convicts from the first film, return in Ant-Man and the Wasp as employees.  And Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang, who is under house arrest, consults from home.

Michael Pena was absent at a recent press conference for Ant-Man and the Wasp.  But director Peyton Reed was able to talk about expanding his role.  “Well, I think it was important.  You know, I’d never done a sequel before.  And I think one of the things I like, in sequels that I like is progressing the characters.”

“So, in looking at the characters of Luis and Kurt and Dave, the ex-con guys in the first movie, they’re ex-cons and they’re really trying to stay out of a life of crime. And they discover what it feels like to be a hero.  And in this thing, it really felt like, let’s start them from a place where they’re on the straight and narrow now.  They’re trying to start a small business.  And Scott’s involved in that business. He’s almost out of house arrest.  And are they going to make a go of this business?  I like the idea that this movie would have huge stakes, huge personal stakes. But also, the success of their business also has huge stakes and particularly for Scott, I think that’s a thing he’s really wrestling with.”

FILMING THE FLASHBACK

With the return of Michael Pena, director Peyton Reed had to bring back Luis’s energetic rapid-fire re-cap.  Talking about that, director Peyton Reed said, “In terms of the Luis storytelling, that’s always a fun thing to shoot. And what we do basically is we shoot Michael telling the whole story. I’ll cut together the preferred takes and do basically what we call a radio cut. And then, for example, if it’s Paul or Evangeline’s turn to do their lip syncing, we’ll take that little section on set, play it over and over through speakers so they can hear it.  And then just go at it [LAUGHTER] multiple times, until we get a performance in it and something that syncs. But that was really fun to do.  It was fun for me to do.  I don’t know how much fun it was for you guys to do.”

Evangeline Lilly, who plays the Wasp, replied, “I got asked earlier today, what was your favorite scene in the movie to shoot. And I said doing Luis’s montage [LAUGHTER].”

Then Paul Rudd, who plays Ant-Man, said, “Yeah, it’s fun to… okay, one more time, one more time.  Because he’d punch his… he’s such a funny actor; he punches words and to try and hit those and then […] — and you know, to try and get the rhythms down.  It actually was [LAUGHS] so trickier than it looked.  At least for me.  But it’s super fun.”

Ant-Man and the Wasp hits theaters July 6, 2018.

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