'I better be in Moone Boy again or I'm going to be p***ed!' - Ant Man star Paul Rudd
It wasn’t the near fatal explosions or death defying plummets from towering infernos that had Paul Rudd in a tizzy for new film, Ant-Man – it was his two second shirtless scene showcasing his brand new rippling six-pack and bulging biceps.
Despite enduring a merciless fitness regime for over a year while preparing for that briefest of titillating moments, the goofy actor is mortified by the sequence in the new Marvel blockbuster.
“I worked out so hard for 12 months, deprived myself of any sugar and alcohol, I mean I was really strict on myself and was pretty pleased with the results,” he tells Independent.ie at the Ant-Man junket at London’s Corinthia Hotel. “But I was really self-conscious and quite terrified to do that one scene.
“Most of the shirtless scenes I’ve done have been about how non-descript, non superhero my body is. So I am grateful it was over in a flash. If it was a two minute scene, I’m not sure I could have gone through with it.”
Best known for Anchorman and Clueless, the 46 year-old star was shocked when producers approached him for the role of Ant-Man, the latest Marvel comic book hero who can shrink to the size of an insect while assuming super human strength.
“I was as surprised as everyone else. I knew they wanted to cast somebody, where they wanted people think, ‘Really!? But I just thought it was a big joke. ‘OK, ha ha folks, you’re not going to get me like that.’
“As it turned out, they didn’t want somebody who wasn’t unapproachable, they wanted somebody you could get into the story it.
“But I knew people would question it.”
Married to former publicist, Julia Yaegar - mother of their two children, nine year-old Jack and five year-old Darby – industry insiders predict Rudd will become an overnight megastar on the back of Ant-Man, hounded by overzealous fans.
But the actor claims his performance in the blockbuster will still remain overshadowed by his guest role on Friends as Phoebe’s husband, Mike.
“Sometimes I get Clueless, other times it’s Anchorman but by and large, people generally want to talk about Friends,” he says. “That show, you can turn on the TV right now, it’s playing on some channel. It plays on every country in the world. It’s probably the biggest thing I’ve ever done.
“And I was only supposed to do a couple of episodes and they kept asking me back. And you know what, most people will have seen an episode of that show than anything I’ve ever done combined. Times one hundred.”
Despite his growing fame and popularity, Rudd won’t allow superstardom to stand in the way of another guest appearance on smash hit sitcom Moone Boy.
Playing George Gershwin, Granddad Moone’s ivory-tinkling imaginary friend, Paul jumped at the offer from creator and close friend, Chris O’Dowd, revelling in the chance to work here
“It was great because not only is it a great show, and I got to play an awesome imaginary friend. But because I got to go to Ireland and Ireland’s my favourite place on earth. No bull!
“So I don’t care what happens or whatever I’m working on, if Chris writes more Moone Boy - and I know that’s a big ‘if’ because apparently he’s done - I’m there. At least, I better be there or I’m going to be p***ed!”
Ant-Man is in cinemas now