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‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ Villain Corey Stoll Says It Was ‘Head-Swimming’ to See Final Version of MODOK

”To see it warped and distorted, and, you know, 30 feet high like that, it’s pretty head-swimming,“ Stoll told TheWrap

Like a ship in the night, M.O.D.O.K. has come and gone from the MCU — but that floating head sure left a lot of discourse in its wake. And for what it’s worth, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” star Corey Stoll is taking himself out of that particular discussion.

Stoll first appeared in the MCU as Darren Cross, Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) protégé and Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) ultimate villain in “Ant-Man,” after stealing the Yellowjacket suit. And though he appeared to be killed at the end of that film, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” reveals that he actually wound up in the Quantum Realm, barely alive, but still there. When he was found by Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), he was turned into M.O.D.O.K. or Mechanized Organism Designed Only For Killing.

So now, instead of the man he once was, he’s essentially a big floating head with a very tiny body, doing Kang’s bidding. And to say that the final on-screen version of M.O.D.O.K. divided the internet would be putting it gently. Where some thought he looked perfectly ridiculous, others…disagreed. As for Stoll’s first reaction to the organism? He’s still processing.

“You know, I think I’m the last person you should ask this because it’s sort of like, you know, one’s own face — one tends to be very familiar with one’s own face,” Stoll told TheWrap. “And then to see it warped and distorted, and, you know, 30 feet high like that, it’s pretty head-swimming. So I think I’m the last person that you should ask about that.”

Looks aside, the actor says he was “all for” leaning into the chaos of M.O.D.O.K. Because in reality, Stoll says his performance in the character was “the least technical filming that you could do.” Obviously he had the typical CGI dots on his face and the basic necessities, but other than that, he was able to sit in a room and just play. So he played it every way he could.

“That’s the joy of a mask, because even though it’s my face, it was really, you know, it wasn’t photographed,” he explained. “It was sort of like the data from my face was taken as a suggestion for how to animate this CGI character, really. And so that was a mask, and the gift for an actor of having a mask, is it allows you to stretch to the boundaries of your own behavior and in your own characterization. And so yeah, it gives a license to all of it.”

He continued, “So I mean, there there are many different versions that could have been cut together of this performance. Some, you know, much more menacing and some goofier. And so it was, it was just fun to be able to just explore in all those different ways. Every film is a collaboration, every performance on film is, in some level, the actor providing the raw materials to the director to turn into a performance, and this was the sort of extreme end of that. I spent a few days playing and doing it a million different ways and the performance that is on screen started with that, but it was completed by by Peyton [Reed, the film’s director] and hundreds of animators.”

For the record though, Stoll was surprised that he was brought back as M.O.D.O.K. When he first got the call to discuss “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” he thought he might possibly be returning as a member of the Fantastic Four.

“I got a call that Peyton wanted to talk to me to bring to bring me back, but in a possibly transformed way,” Stoll recalled. “That was sort of the way it was sold to me. And I had a, I think a week before our call, where my mind just went crazy about, like, ‘What could this be?’ Like, with the multiverse, it really could be anything. For a while I was I was thinking, ‘Oh, maybe maybe I could I could be The Thing. That’ll be fun.’

“And then I talked to him, and he said, ‘Do you know the character M.O.D.O.K?’ And I said, ‘Do you mean the guy with the giant head?’ He said ‘That’s the one!’ And yeah, he was you know, he wanted to check with me before he started writing to make sure I was on board. And it was not a hard sell at all.”

“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is now in theaters.