Comic Book Casting: The ANT-MAN Movie

For being one of the founding Avengers, Hank Pym sure doesn’t get the limelight that Thor, Iron Man or non-founder Captain America have received. Chalk it up his diminutive powers, some poor writing decisions which put him in a bad light, or maybe the character not being likeable enough. But I’d throw all those out the window and scream from the iFanboy rooftops that Ant-Man would make a great movie. And here’s how I’d do it.

The Concept:

Some people may think it’s an uphill battle to get movie-goers to have faith in Hank Pym (aka Ant-Man) as a leading man for a live-action blockbuster spectacle. But the world at large doesn’t know him — the same way they didn’t know Iron Man much prior to his first movie; and while the people that do know Ant-Man may not have the best perception of him, that all can change with the right story, right production staff, and the right cast.

I think the key in this is to focus on Hank Pym the character, first. He’s obsessively smart, but is a bit frantic and has somewhat of an inferiority complex — but also someone trying to prove something. Where Tony Stark is the suave showoff and Steve Rogers is the ultimate boyscout, Hank Pym is a bit of a perpetual underdog but also an over-achiever. His biggest fault is that his reach sometimes exceeds his grasps, but that’s not a bad thing storywise — it’s storytelling gold.

For the story, I’d show Hank Pym as a bit of a lone wolf lab rat who is called in to assist an old professor of his, Dr. Vernon van Dyne, on a secret project he’s working on after hours for a private interest. Van Dyne’s wagered his family’s savings on this venture, creating a device (macguffin!) for a Eastern European businessman named Luchino Nefaria (yes, Count Nefaria!). Van Dyne and Pym are pushed to their limits, even with van Dyne’s daughter Janet helping out. Nefaria finally pushes them too far and kills Van Dyne for not being able to live up to his promises, turning Pym from a labcoat into an avenging spirit. Using the device — and the help of Janet — Pym fights back against Nefaria and his criminal organization and saves the day — and gets the girl.

Obviously there’s more needed to the story that than, but it’s a simple enough starting point. For style, I’d have it be brainy but also humorous; I’m not talking Flubber here, but more like an optimistic version of House M.D. I believe one of the things that made Iron Man, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger convincing was the humanistic levity brought to it, and for Ant-Man I think it needs just as much, if not more, to make it sing.

And for special effects, it needs to really highlight the size differences and unique wonder when Ant-Man uses his powers; if those special effects don’t work, the whole movie would collapse.

The Director:

Marvel Studios already has their man here with Edgar Wright. Between Scott Pilgrim, Shaun of the Dead and Spaced he’s shown himself the ideal person to balance the unique nature of an Ant-Man movie. Don’t change a thing.

The Cast:

Ant-Man / Hank Pym – Adrien Brody: Brody isn’t the first name you’d think of to be a leading man in this kind of movie, but I think he possesses all the qualities (and more acting ability than most any other contender) to really sink into this role the same way Robert Downey Jr. did to play Tony Stark. He knows how to get the audience on his side, but also knows how to be a little be devilish.

The Wasp / Janet van Dyne – Zooey Deschanel: Another off-center choice, but I think someone who could totally live up to Janet’s impact in Ant-Man’s origins but also into the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Putting a name actresses like Deschanel here would really sell the movie, and also set up fanboys’ imagination for future flicks.

Dr. Vernon Van Dyne – Hal Holbrook: The elder Van Dyne is often overlooked in modern day comics, but I think he could be positioned as one of the secret geniuses of  early 20th century history in Marvel — not unlike Nathaniel Richards and Howard Stark. I’d love to see Hal Holbrook brought in to play both a smart and affable mentor figure here. He could see the potential in Pym that others couldn’t, and his death could finally set Pym off to live up to his potential.

Count Nefaria – Ian McShane: Nefaria’s never been an A-list villain for Marvel, but his back story and power set make him a great character to flesh out in a movie — but  you’d still have to ditch the costume. To make it all work, I’d bring in acting heavyweight Ian McShane to really give Ant-Man some balls and also lift this character out from being a one-note baddy like John Travolta did in the second Punisher movie.


  1. Adrian Brody no . Aaron eckard

  2. I’m 100% the Adrien Brody choice.

  3. No Scott Lang? It’s already confirmed that he’s in the movie.

  4. I really like the idea of Alan Tudyk as Hank Pym…

  5. I always saw Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne as the Nick and Nora Charles of the Marvel U. They were the high society couple solving crimes with a touch of humor.

  6. Based purely on Edgar Wright’s involvement, this is the upcoming Marvel movie I’m most excited for.

  7. I think Ryan Gossling would be awesome as Hank Pym. I hope that Janet is as fun as the portrayal on Avengers Earths Mightiest Hero’s.