Cinephiles and Marvel movie fans were abuzz when writer/director Edgar Wright teased plot details, production photos, and concept footage from Ant-Man, which promised to be an action comedy take on Marvel's travel-sized superhero. Wright ultimately left the project, though Paul Rudd stayed on as Scott Lang for director Peyton Reed, who delivered the 2015 film that earned over $519 million worldwide. But before Rudd entered the scene, Ant-Man himself almost looked quite a bit different.
There were plenty of actors considered for the film's lead and the no-less important parts of OG Ant-Man Hank Pym, the WASP and/or Hope van Dyne. Today, we look at 10 actors who were almost cast in Marvel's Ant-Man at one point or another. And there are some pretty wild and unique choices to be discovered. As well as some that are simply no brainers. Would any of them have been better than Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly? That's for any number of alternative universes to explore and figure out. We got what we got. But here's what might have been.
A Variety report from late 2013 said the decision came down to Paul Rudd and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Edgar Wright, working with a script he'd co-written with Attack the Block director Joe Cornish, was said to want more of an "every man" to play Ant-Man, as opposed to the super hunks who'd starred in Thor and Captain America. Marvel had reportedly looked at Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Guardians of the Galaxy, as well. In an interview with the French edition of the Huffington Post, shortly after the Variety report surfaced, the Don Jon actor/director said, "There are always a lot of rumors around these projects and so far it is still only in discussions."
When rumors popped up linking Adrien Brody to Ant-Man, Latino Review confirmed the speculation, saying they'd spoken to the actor's agency, a report that seemed to be debunked by The Playlist. But Brody himself put forward his interest in the role during an appearance at New York Comic Con to promote Predators, telling Screen Rant that he was "enthusiastic" about the idea, though he confessed he didn't know very much about how conversations between his reps and Marvel had progressed.
Ewan McGregor was one named tossed around by fans online for either Scott Lang or Hank Pym, more so than many other fantasy casting ideas. A quick Google search reveals fan art imagining what that may have looked like. Whether or not the Obi-Wan Kenobi of the Star Wars prequels was ever in serious contention remains a mystery, but he was also at one time rumored to maybe star in Doctor Strange, too.
Sean Bean nearly added the Marvel Cinematic Universe to an already impressive resume that includes esteemed places in no less than three major pop cultural cornerstones: Game of Thrones, The Lord of the Rings, and James Bond. Three different characters have taken on the Ant-Man mantle in the comics, starting with Hank Pym, created by the King of Comics, Jack Kirby, with Stan Lee and Larry Lieber. Bean was one of the actors considered for that role, which went to Michael Douglas.
Sean Bean was in competition against his handsome Goldeneye adversary, Pierce Brosnan. A few years later, the ex-James Bond was one of the names talked about for another aging Marvel hero, Cable, who will make his big screen debut in Deadpool 2.
Oscar nominee Gary Oldman could've made the jump from DC Comics to Marvel had he ended up in the role of Hank Pym, just a few years after closing out Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy as Gotham City Police Commissioner Jim Gordon. Like Bean and Brosnan, he was another actor said to be in consideration for Hank Pym.
Rashida Jones showed considerable chemistry with Paul Rudd in I Love You, Man, so it came as little surprise when her name surfaced as Ant-Man's potential love interest and future Avenger Hope van Dyne, who would become the Wasp in sequels. Rudd was coy when asked about the possibility, a rumor that first came via Superhero Movie News before it was later reported in the Hollywood trades.
Bryce Dallas Howard
In the same report that mentioned Rashida Jones as a possibility, Variety said Edgar Wright was looking at Bryce Dallas Howard, as well. The long-running Hollywood trade publication noted that her commitment to Universal's Jurassic World would likely keep her out of the running, despite Marvel's interest in talking with her.
Both Latino Review and Variety reported that Jessica Chastain, fresh off star making turns in The Help, The Tree of Life, and Zero Dark Thirty, was offered the role of Hope van Dyne in Ant-Man but passed. She herself later admitted to turning down a role in Iron Man 3, due to her other commitments, 'though she seemed eager to join a Marvel project eventually. That finally happened in 2017 when she signed aboard X-Men: Dark Phoenix, part of the Marvel mutant mini-verse spearheaded by Fox.
It seems like Edgar Wright strongly considered casting someone we've traditionally seen onscreen as a redhead, as in addition to Bryce Dallas Howard and Jessica Chastain, Emma Stone was said to be in some form of talks at one point. The role, of course, eventually went to Evangeline Lilly, who sports her familiar brunette locks in Ant-Man and in its forthcoming sequel, Ant-Man and The Wasp, due in July 2018.