Kathryn Newton and Peyton Reed Discuss Ant-Man’s New and Grown up Cassie Lang

Kathryn Newton and Peyton Reed Discuss Ant-Man’s New and Grown up Cassie Lang

Marvel’s roster of young heroes gains another member in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania with the (re)introduction of Cassie Lang. Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) daughter has changed a fair bit since audiences last saw her. Played initially by Abby Ryder Fortson in the first two Ant-Man films, Quantumania picks up with Cassie as a willful 18-year-old. This called for a change of cast in the third film and opened the door for Kathryn Newton to live out her superhero dream.

Speaking to Lifehacker Australia (on her birthday, no less) Newton said it was always a wish of hers to be a Marvel superhero. It was just a case of the stars aligning that the character of Cassie Lang also happened to mirror her own personality.

“I read the script and I was like this is written for me. I’ve always wanted to be a Marvel superhero, but this character is literally me,” she said. 

“To take on a role this big, there’s a lot of pressure, you just don’t wanna mess up. But I loved the character so much that that didn’t hold me back. I feel so strongly in my heart that I was meant to play Cassie Lang.”

Newton said the support of Quantumania’s director, Peyton Reed, helped to alleviate some of that pressure.

“It just took one person, Peyton Reed, to say ‘I believe in you. I trust that you’re my Cassie’ and like that’s all you need,” she said.

When Lifehacker Australia sat down with Peyton Reed in Sydney earlier in the month, the director said he was really looking to cast someone as Cassie who would match Paul Rudd’s energy.

“I needed someone who could hang comedically with Paul Rudd, and I needed someone with a real physicality who could fulfil the demands of the Cassie Lang character and what she needs to do in this movie,” Reed explained. “I’ve been a great admirer of Kathryn’s work. There’s a vibrancy about her and there’s a physicality to her. She seems very real in that way. I loved the idea of what I imagined would be the chemistry between Paul and Kathryn, and it turned out to be the case. I think she’s terrific in the movie.”

ant-man and the wasp quantumania cassie lang
Image: Marvel Studios

Newton added that Reed “allowed room for play” on set every day, which lead to a lot of improvising between her and Rudd.

Paul and I would just have fun on set, and you can feel that. We always said the lines, we always got through the scene, but having that kind of energy and flexibility creates an energy that you can’t fake,” she said.

One such scene to keep an eye out for in the movie involves a “jump and tap”.

Cassie Lang has never been afraid to challenge her dad, even when she was a pre-teen in the initial Ant-Man movies, and it’s something that she continues to do in Quantumania.

“That Scott and Cassie dynamite is crucial to all the Ant-Man movies but really crucial in this one,” Reed said.

“Cassie’s arc in this movie is crucial because Scott is used to dealing with her as a little girl. She’s not a little girl anymore and now has her own ideas about justice and about what it means to be a hero. She’s at that point in her life where she’s critical of her dad and maybe thinks the ways that he’s gone about stuff are antiquated… that seems like a really fun, rich, and real father-daughter dynamic.”

Newton explained that this teenage iteration of Cassie is “impatient” “leads with her heart” and just “wants to make her father proud”. She’s also a bit of a mess.

“I feel like the movie gives you a really good glimpse into what Cassie Lang stands for and who she wants to be as well as showing she’s really just a kid who is a mess, trying to figure it out,” she said.

ant-man and the wasp quantumania cassie lang

Cassie is also very much “not a superhero yet” despite donning her own superhero suit while in the Quantum Realm.

“She has a super suit but it’s really the first time she’s used it – at least, that’s how I approached it,” Newton revealed. “She might use the Pym Particles for little things in her daily life, like helping people in her neighbourhood or something, but she never did anything like this.”

Newton added it was a funny happenstance that Cassie’s first supervillain just happens to be the biggest one, Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors).

Having faced her first trial as a hero-in-training in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Cassie Lang becomes just the latest young superhero to join the Marvel universe, alongside the likes of new MCU proteges like Kate Bishop, Riri Williams and America Chavez.

If this next generation of MCU heroes is to succeed, Newton said they really need fans.

“I think people who are young have to go to the movie,” she said. “I was 8 years old when I saw Iron Man and that movie made me dream of being a Marvel superhero. And look at where I am, it inspired me.”

“So my point is that if someone, a young person specifically, sees this movie and is inspired at all, then we have a chance of creating something.”

“That’s what I would say is my goal, is that people see this movie, and love it, and are connected to this character, and want to see more of her, and want to see more Marvel movies. Because I definitely do.”

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania releases in Australian cinemas on February 16.

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