Peyton Reed Talks Restoring Order with Ant-Man

Peyton Reed (Yes Man, The Break-Up) wanted to direct Guardians of the Galaxy, but finally got his Marvel shot with Ant-Man when Edgar Wright left because of too much micro-management and shared universe-tinkering. Yet Reed insists that the DNA remains intact: it’s still an absurd superhero/heist movie/domestic drama built around father/daughter redemption.

In fact, Reed believes it’s “the single most challenging character in Marvel history.”

“In the comic book realm, he was a founding Avenger but he never had his own comic magazine, and he always had, in the context of The Avengers, an inferiority complex because he’s this tiny hero fighting alongside the Hulk and Thor,” Reed explained. “And he might even have a dose of schizophrenia. But in terms of the Marvel cinematic universe, he didn’t make it into The Avengers movie, so for me it’s very gratifying to do an Ant-Man origin story and, in my own mind, restore order to the universe by bringing in both Hank Pym [Michael Douglas] and Scott Lang [Paul Rudd].”

The trick, of course, was believably pulling off the incredible shrinking man gag. Under the VFX supervision of Jake Morrison, they created a Macro Unit that worked on its own sound stage at Pinewood in Atlanta. There was a dedicated art department that made tiny props, a camera crew that shot and played with forced perspective and a VFX team that digitally inserted the macro footage.

“I really kept banging the drum that if we’re gonna do a shrinking movie in 2015, it has to be photorealistic,” Reed explained. “But it also has to have the flexibility to move our camera around. So what that meant was using motion picture macro-photography, still macro-photography, motion capture suits and digitally tiling all the surfaces and making sure it was tactile, and stitching them together and then we could move our virtual camera around. But it had to look real the way light plays when you’re that small and there are little dust motes floating around.”

And Lang’s first shrinking experience down a bathtub and running through two apartments, where there’s a party and woman using a vacuum cleaner, was conceived with “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” in mind. “It happens very quickly and it’s very assaultive,” Reed continued. “Maybe the single toughest shot in the movie is when Scott shrinks and down in the tub and it wraps around him. Getting the surfaces of that tub and the lighting to seem photorealistic.

“And also it’s a very long, continuous shot. But we wanted it to be immersive. And our use of shorter depth of field and extremely wide lenses, it really is visually fulfilling in 3-D. And they’ve solved a lot of the brightness issues that I have with 3-D [thanks to laser projection].”

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Below the Line, Clips, Crafts, How They Did It, Movies, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production

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