MARVEL Casting News: Paul Rudd and Vin Diesel
More Marvel casting news was announced over the last week. Two of the studio’s upcoming big projects, Ant Man and Guardians of the Galaxy, landed some major talent in the names of Paul Rudd and Vin Diesel. But trust me, it’s not what you think.
On paper, you’d think that Vin Diesel was cast as some leading man (or even a supervillian) and Rudd was earmarked to voice a cartoon. But, it’s actually the opposite. Paul Rudd will be playing Ant Man, a legendary hero from the Marvel comics canon, and Vin Diesel has been cast as the voice of Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy line.
If you’re not familiar with these comic titles, here’s a quick rundown. Guardians of the Galaxy is the story of a ragtag group a space travelers from all across the galaxy. Their core members are Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon. Their mission is to protect the galaxy, plain and simple. It’s action packed, it’s off-beat, and it’s hilarious. Honestly, it seems made for the cinema.
Ant Man is the story of Henry Pym, a genius scientist who discovers a chemical substance that gives him the ability to shrink to the size of an ant while maintaining his strength (so he’s strong like an ant when small). He also develops a helmet that allows him to speak to and control insects. Utilizing these tools and his genius intellect, he solves crimes and takes on supervillians. Yes, it all sounds immensely nerdy and geeky, but the jury is out on the viability of this film.
These movies will really be the first test of Marvel’s movieplex power outside of its main heroes. Up until now it’s been all about the heroes Marvel is known for: Iron Man, The Hulk, and Captain America. But when you expand out to The Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant Man, you’re in uncharted territory.
And the casting news is interesting for each film for different reasons. Vin Diesel’s casting is intriguing because the character Groot (a sentient genius tree that is resistant to fire and can absorb wood to feed, rebuild himself, and enhance his strength) only knows how to speak the phrase “I am Groot.” And Diesel apparently won the role with the wide range of deliveries he could bring to the phrase, allowing the character to express a range of meanings and emotions. Upon reading the comic, his voice really matches exactly how you would think Groot would sound. This news bodes well for the movie.
Paul Rudd as Ant Man truly comes as a shock since this genre of film is outside of his wheelhouse. My guess would be that they are relying on his comic timing, and that the character will not be as physical as the standard Marvel fare. The big question hanging over his head is can he pull off playing a superhero?
In the face of what most would guess, I think he stands to do a great job in the role. In playing Henry Pym, Rudd needs to be believable as the smartest person in the room with a lighthearted sense of humor and a destructive drive for scientific innovation. Rudd’s comedic abilities are largely chronicled, and he also has shown himself to be a great dramatic actor. He’ll need this balance to truly embody Henry Pym, who goes on to suffer immense loss and struggle through various levels of depression. The character needs to be grounded in that undercurrent of seriousness to really come alive on film.
I don’t want Ant Man to be cheesy or to look like a 70’s cartoon. My hope for the movie is that it doesn’t boil down into a silly movie where a pint-sized character does major damage through the coincidental advantage of being small. Though if any film outfit has mastered walking the line between serious and laugh out loud funny, it’s the studio that has brought us the three Iron Man films.
And as far as Guardians of the Galaxy goes, well, the cast also includes Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro, and Djimon Hounsou. The cast alone sounds like a vote of confidence in the script.
All things considered, Marvel has been on fire for years now. With multiple franchises pulling in big bucks and showing no signs of stopping, it seems the studio can do no wrong. So, even though Guardians of the Galaxy may sound a little off the wall and Ant Man looks to be a true test of Marvel’s moviemaking abilities, we all might as well show some faith. They’ve earned that much.
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