Paul Rudd to Play Ant-Man in Edgar Wright’s Marvel Movie (Exclusive)

Anchorman 2 Premiere, Sponsored By Buffalo David Bitton

With Joseph Gordon-Levitt turning his attention to “Sandman,” the “Anchorman 2″ star has landed the coveted lead

(UPDATE 12/19 6:30 p.m: Marvel Studios has confirmed that Paul Rudd has been cast as the title character in Marvel’s “Ant-Man.” According to the press release, “the casting of Rudd represents the actor that Marvel had long ago identified as its first choice to play Ant-Man, continuing the studio’s desire to cast actors that bring several dimensions to its onscreen heroes.  The film’s plot is being kept under wraps. Rudd brings a diverse background to the role having become one of the industry’s most known actors with a reputation for smart, funny and creative performances.

“When Edgar Wright came to us with the idea of Paul Rudd, we felt a huge sense of relief because the first step in creating any Marvel Studios film is finding the right star,” Marvel’s Kevin Feige said in a statement released exclusively via Marvel.com. “We knew early on that we had found the right person in Paul. When he not only agreed to do it but became as enthusiastic as any actor we’d ever met with about doing the work, we knew we’d found the right guy. We couldn’t be more excited for our audiences to see what he’s going to do to bring Ant-Man to life.”) TheWrap’s earlier exclusive is below:

After months of speculation, Paul Rudd has landed the lead in Marvel’s “Ant-Man” and is now in negotiations to play Hank Pym, multiple sources have told TheWrap.

Representatives for Marvel and Rudd had no comment.

Edgar Wright is directing the movie from a script he co-wrote with Joe Cornish, and Disney will release the film on July 31, 2015. Marvel’s Kevin Feige will produce with Nira Park.

Also Read: Disney Shifts Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man’ to Summer 2015 — Sets ‘Man of Steel’ Sequel Showdown

In recent interviews to promote “Anchorman 2″ as well as his recent stint hosting “Saturday Night Live,” Rudd has appeared noticeably slimmer, and sources tell TheWrap that’s because he’s training for the physical role of Ant-Man.

Rudd and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have been considered the frontrunners for the coveted role since October, though Gordon-Levitt has appeared in several comic book adaptations and is gearing up for another one in WB’s “Sandman.” Rudd is more of a natural fit for the comedic character, and his “SNL” episode represented a season high in terms of viewers.

Also Read: Paul Rudd, One Direction ‘SNL’ Episode Hits Season High in Viewers

Rudd will play a scientist who invents a substance that allows him to change his size and communicate with insects. The actor, who next stars in David Wain’s Sundance-bound comedy “They Came Together,” is repped by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.