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'Ant-Man' actor Paul Rudd talks with LI kids

The Marvel superhero talked about his love of ants, the actors he would like to work with, and what it's like to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Actor Paul Rudd, who stars in "Ant-Man and

Actor Paul Rudd, who stars in "Ant-Man and the Wasp," with Kidsday reporters, from left, Abigail Jones, Jayda Cocossa, Hannah McNally and Kayla Peters backstage at the "Good Morning America" set in Manhattan. Photo Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly

We were lucky enough to meet actor and comedian Paul Rudd when he was in Manhattan recently. We loved him in the “Ant-Man” movies and so many others. He has been in so many great movies and TV shows going all the way back to “Friends.”

What do you do when you aren’t filming a movie?

When I’m not working, I have two kids of my own. So it seems as if, if I’m not working, I’m trying to either play sports with my son, and then I also play with a lot of Barbies with my daughter. And she also has a big stuffed animal collection, and we play with her stuffed animals and Barbies all the time. I was really nervous that once she saw the movie [“Ant-Man and the Wasp”], she was going to want me to build a slide down the stairs. She hasn’t said that yet. So, I’m sure you can do it in a New York apartment.

Because you worked with CGI effects for some of your superhero movies, was it difficult to act out the scenes?

You kind of have to pretend what’s going on. It is a little tricky. It’s just a strange thing because you’re not really reacting to anything. And I just have to pretend that there are giant ants around.

Who was your favorite superhero growing up?

I was kind of a fan of the Hulk when I was a kid. I thought the Hulk was a pretty cool character. I had some Hulk comics, and watched the Hulk TV show. It was a little bit before your time.

Do you prefer acting in television shows or movies?

Well, each thing is different. I’ve had a really fun time on both. I think that it really comes down to how I feel about the material, if it’s a fun part to play. And how I feel about the people that I’m working with, if they’re fun to work with. And luckily I’ve been able to work with really talented and fun people in both mediums.

How does your career have an impact on your life?

It’s had a huge impact on my life in that it’s what I do for a job and it’s determined where I live. It’s allowed me and my family a chance to travel the world, see lots of places I never would have seen. I have met lots of people I would never met.

Since you played Ant-Man, do you really like ants?

OK, you want to know something? I really do. When I got this part, I started reading up on a lot of ants and what they do and how many kinds there are. I find them fascinating. And I feel like I owe them something now. I would never diss ants.

Have you hung out with any Avengers off set?

On occasion. I actually played a fantasy football league with Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner. The one who I have known for a very long time is Mark Ruffalo, who plays Hulk.

How does it feel to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?

It was a real honor. I couldn’t believe it was happening. When I was a little kid I used to live in California and I knew that street very well, and I would walk along and look at all the names on the sidewalk. And it was a really cool day, and I was very honored.

Who do you look up to as an actor and why?

I always looked up to — well, there are many. But one of the biggest for me was Paul Newman, who was a legendary actor. The reason that I look up to him is he was the biggest humanitarian I think of any actor that I had ever heard of. Have you ever heard of Newman's Own? You’ve seen the products. He has Newman’s Own salad dressing, Newman’s Own cookies, popcorn, you name it. He started an empire, and all of the money that he raised for Newman’s Own goes to charity. He’s raised -- he’s no longer living — but his family and foundation, they’ve raised over $100 million for charity. That’s pretty cool.

What’s worse? Getting recognized on the street or not getting recognized on the street?

Well, you know, neither one is too bad. It depends on who’s recognizing you and where. Sometimes that could be a little inconvenient. I mean, I’m flattered, but I never get upset when no one recognizes me.

How do your kids feel about someone else calling you "Dad"?

I was nervous about that when my daughter saw “Ant-Man” for the first time because she had never seen me in a movie, and she was little. And so I was nervous how she might react to me pretending somebody else was my daughter. But I told her, I said, you know, I'm pretending to play a dad in the movie. But in real life, you are that girl, and so we talked about it a little bit. I think she kind of liked it. I think she thought she was represented in the movie as a result. And I do little things that are just specifically for my daughter. Or I will say something, and she’ll know what I’m talking about, and it’s in the movie, but only she knows what that really is.

Is there an actor or actress that you want to work with that you haven’t yet?

There are so many I really would love to work with. I’ve never worked with Steve Martin, and I would love to work with him. He’s one of my all-time favorites. Meryl Streep, that would be pretty cool.

Do you watch your own movies?

I usually watch them when they come out, but I don’t really go back and watch them again. Every once in a while I’ll be flipping around the channels on TV and one of them is on cable and I’ll say, "Oh, yeah, I remember doing that scene." And then I change the channel.

What do your kids think about you being a superhero?

I think they think it’s kind of cool. Both of them have become big Marvel fans. But at the end of the day, I’m really just their dad. They don’t think of me as an actor or “Ant-Man” or anything. I’m just their dad. And more often than not, they just get tired of my dad jokes.

Have you ever Googled yourself?

I have. I’m not proud to admit it.

Lara McNally’s Girl Scout Troop 730, Centereach

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