In real life, Corey Stoll couldn’t be further from the villain, Darren Cross aka Yellowjacket, he plays in Marvel’s ANT-MAN (in theaters July 17.) With his beaming smile, joyful spirit, boyish charm and gentle mannerisms it’s hard to believe he’s capable of hurting, well, even an ant! Interviewing Corey Stoll was a delightful surprise as regaled us with onset anecdotes and incredible insights to his character portrayal in ANT-MAN. I don’t think I’ve ever liked a comic book villain so much as I do now after meeting the man behind the incredible persona of Yellowjacket!
Q: Michael Douglas just said that you were the best villain to date. How is it that you came up with such an amazing villain characterization? How hard was it?
It really wasn’t hard at all. My first day of shooting was sort of a microcosm of what the whole shoot would be. The morning was motion capture, totally abstract, just stunts and it was like being in a silent film where you run this way and then duck and then pick up a toy train and throw it. It was just pure play and so that was really fun. Then the afternoon was a very quiet scene with Michael Douglas where I show up at his house unannounced and it’s our really most sort of intense scene. It was just such a great way to start because there are these two extremes of what this role would be.” – Corey Stoll
“I want to make sure this character (Darren Cross) is scary but I also love what a loser he was. He’s the least cool guy in the world. He wants to be Tony Stark. He wants to be the coolest guy in the world. He’s puffing himself up with these Tom Ford Suits and driving an Aston Martin. And so he puffs himself up but he doesn’t really. He knows that he’s not that guy and that’s the irony, he’s trying to buff himself up in the end to impress this father figure and it’s exactly the opposite of what a Father figure wants. So I think the script was really smart about giving very real, playable motivations.” – Corey Stoll
Perhaps it’s his love of comic books as a youth that gave Corey Stoll an edge on creating an unforgettable villain in ANT-MAN (trust me on this note, he’s excellent in the role!) In Junior High School and High School, Stoll started with the real super hero Marvel comic books and then began getting “into some sort of darker stuff” but Spiderman and X-Men were ultimately among his favorites.
Q: Who was your favorite superhero?
“I would definitely say this about Spiderman. He was just the guy that I think that as a High School Student that you could identify with the most. Then also just the New York-ness. You know, I liked Batman and Superman but they were all in these sort of fictional cities and Spiderman was New York. As a kid from Queens, the idea, that fantasy of being able to swing through the buildings that I see every day was really cool.” – Corey Stoll
Corey Stoll says working with CGI is like playing on the playground when you were 10, you just use your imagination! #AntManEvent#Marvel
“I did two separate trips down to Atlanta just to try on different versions of the suit and it just never looked right. And I remember the first time I tried it on, everybody was trying to convince themselves that it looked cool. Yeah, yeah, it’s gonna be great, just a little CGI over there and you know, it looked great. And I was, I just felt like a Power Ranger. So and luckily, you know, smarter heads prevailed and they just did it off CGI.” – Corey Stoll
Q : Is there something good in Darren Cross/Yellowjacket that you relate to?
“There’s something really didn’t end up in the film, but when he’s first selling the Yellow Jacket and this technology, we sort of brainstormed about what would be the beneficial applications of this technology and you realize that this actually could save the world. You know, there’s so many things you could do. You could get a shipping container down to the side of a Volkswagen Bug and shipping cost would be like nothing. And carbon emissions would become smaller. Or you could maybe like shrink smoke as it comes out of a coal-powered plant or you could shrink a surgeon down to go and do micro-surgery. It really is like this incredibly Utopian thing. And I think there is that element in Darren that’s like he wants to change the world for the better. It’s just that this military application has to be the most lucrative and he just made the wrong choice.” – Corey Stoll
On the light side of being a villain, Corey Stoll thinks having actions figures and LEGO sets are fascinating. As he and his wife are about to welcome a new son into their family, Stoll is looking forward to playing with an action figure with him!
“We’ll have to manufacture an action figure for my wife so that she doesn’t feel left in the dust.” – Corey Stoll
As for playing the role of the villain in ANT-MAN, Stoll had a general meeting with the executives at Marvel and actually requested the role of a villain in one of the films.
“Frankly, playing the hero, the contract tends to be longer… I would love to reprise this role if that happens, but I could be staring down the barrel of finding a seven picture deal or a nine picture deal like some people did. That’s a big commitment and I don’t know if I was quite ready for that.” – Corey Stoll
I think, after seeing Stoll’s amazing performance in ANT-MAN, fans will definitely want to see more of Darren Cross/Jellowjacket in the Marvel universe!
Disclosure: I received an exclusive trip courtesy of Disney to attend various events including an interview session with Corey Stoll. I’m under no obligation to report anything other than my personal experience, thoughts and opinions.
Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.