Its a crisp California morning and David Dastmatchian has been up for hours doing interviews to promote the DVD release of Ant-Man and The Wasp. Having just returned from filming on the East Coast, we were able to catch David for a quick phone interview in between his packed schedule, which had him travel between locations to do video interviews and a Reddit Q&A session.
David Datsmalchian is mostly know for his somber, dark and troubled character (his eye catching turn as a paranoid squizophrenic in The Dark Knight Rises comes to mind) but for Marvel, we see a lighter side to the Kansas raised actor.
It’s been about 3 years since we last saw David in his Ant-Man character, Kurt so we were interested in learning what it was like for him to get back into this persona. “It’s very rare that it happens, that I have the chance to try back on the hair, the voice, the wardrobe of a character that I’ve played before. I am just so grateful that during the time between filming Ant-Man and the time we went to make Ant-Man and the Wasp, that I stayed in touch with and became friends with so many of the people that make the movie, that are in the movie, so it was great. The first day back on set it just felt like being right back with your family, like at a family reunion.”
He shares that once Paul Rudd and Michael Douglass began their scenes, he was right back to trying to contain his laughter and “not ruin any of their brilliant takes.”
Playing Kurt, an ex con that is trying to turn his life around, is a vast difference from his other film roles and he shares how much he enjoyed the experience. “It’s been a joy! I’m so grateful that somebody thought that I could actually do this because generally, I’ve been able to play so many wonderful roles and have gotten to do so many cool projects, but a lot of the times those characters are often tonally darker or in a darker place or in some darker stories. So Kurt, being part of the ex con crew (the entourage) we’re goofy and ridiculous so there’s fear for me when entering into that situation because comedy isn’t something I get to do a lot. I love doing it but I’m not totally confident in that realm so fortunately I’m surrounded by a bunch of geniuses that are masters of it and help a lot. But it’s really cool.”
It’s easy to find your comfort zone in character types when looking for projects to join but for David, it’s important to try new and different roles. “As an actor, I want to keep stretching. I want to keep taking risks. I want to keep doing things that I haven’t done before that could surprise audiences, that could upend people’s expectations and hopefully, with the way Kurt is portrayed it’s something fun for the people who have seen me do something different before.”
What makes Ant-Man and the Wasp different from other Marvel films is it’s family friendly aspect that doesn’t over think puns and jokes. With Paul Rudd as Scott Lang and veteran actors like Michael Douglas, improvisation and natural flow was not a problem. One of the funniest scenes has a juxtaposition of seriousness and comedy as we see Hank and Hope try to recruit Scott on a mission to rescue Janet from the quantum realm. What begins as a serious discussion slowly goes off the rails into bickering amongst business partners.
David shares that shooting that scene was especially difficult because “the improvs just started flowing. Here’s this very serious situation, we’ve got Scott Lang being dragged back into a superhero mission and we’ve got Hank Pym in our office and there’s Hope Van Dine and yet, immediately, me and Dave and Luis (T.I. and Michael Pena) are arguing about the quality of the breakfasts being provided at our office and everyone just goes off riffing and improvising and that was just a particularly funny day.”
It is no secret that David Dastmalchian is an avid comic book collector, has been a fan since childhood and has now been part of both the DC and Marvel universes. We were curious to know, if given the chance, what DC or Marvel villain or hero he would play.
“I’ve been collecting, reading and been fascinated with a character for a long time that I would love the chance to portray, Morbius, the living vampire, and I know that there will be other manifestations of that but thats one that at some point I hope I get an opportunity to play because I’ve spent kind of my life preparing for that one.”
The chances of this happening are actually feasible since a lot of the comic book characters hitting the big screen are not necessarily the most widely known. Iron Man himself was not the most poplar choice but ended up being the character that launched the MCU. David notes, “the MCU has done so many amazing things for film and for comic book culture. It’s changed the landscape of cinematic storytelling.” This may surprise fans but David admits to visit comic book stores wherever he goes. “One of the things that I’m really grateful for is that whenever I go into comic book shops, which I do regularly, and I go to comic book shops usually whatever city I get to.”
While some people look for a restaurant, museum or club recommendation David looks for a good comic book shop. “I go to them all over the country, all over world in fact. Wherever I go, I don’t just see guys and women that look like me, people of a certain age with our nerd gear on. I see people with their kids, which I didn’t use to see as much. For a long time, spending a lot of time in comic book stores, it was something relegated to teens and up. Now I’m seeing a whole other wealth of books that Marvel and other publishing companies have provided for younger readers and I see a lot more parents and their kids going to the comic book shops together and I really believe that what Kevin Fegi and the MCU have done has contributed to that almost exclusively.” He is not wrong. The comic book industry was a dying breed until the first Iron Man movie hit theaters.
Before wrapping up our call, I asked David about his newest project, All Creatures Here Below, which will have its World Premiere at the DTLA Film Fest this Thursday. “I’m really proud of this film, I wrote this and it’s set back where I grew up in Kansas and it’s a story about two people who are very much in love and are living one paycheck away from abject poverty. When my character looses his job, I end up risking all that we have to try and put together some money for us, it doesn’t go well. So me and my girlfriend (played by Karen Gillian, Guardians of the Galaxy, Jumanji) go on a cross country journey to get back home to Kansas and we have to confront the demons of our past in an attempt to find a safe place for ourselves.” He shares that he’s equally excited and nervous to see this film hit the film festival circuit since it is a very personal story but that he is amazed at the magnificent job his co-star does in portraying such a difficult character.
Screenwriter, actor, father, David Dastmalchian is a man of many talents and we cannot wait to se what else he has in store for us.
Ant-Mann and the Wasp is now available for purchase.