We may have grown up watching Paul Rudd in such films like Romeo + Juliet, Clueless and I Love You, Man, but still it’s hard to believe that he’s been in the industry for more than 20 years. Though his filmography certainly supports such a fact, to look at Rudd’s appearance is to see a 53-year-old who appears to be ageing in reverse. With his perpetually youthful features and the kind of skin that would make him an ideal candidate for his own skincare line, Rudd is defying all expectations – not only by way of ageing, but in those roles afforded to actors over 50. With his affable demeanour and comedic charm, Rudd has always been the go-to for a Hollywood comedic role, but lately he’s swapped that for a superhero suit in the form of Ant-Man.
In an interview with Men’s Health US, Rudd expressed his excitement at being cast as Ant-Man and just how much it has changed his career to date. “My agent set up a meeting with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. Marvel was pretty new. They weren’t even part of Disney. It would’ve been like somebody saying, How would you feel about doing Dancing with the Stars? A superhero franchise was never on my radar. I never really thought I was the type of actor that they would offer any of those parts to,” said Rudd.
“But when this idea came around, I was excited about doing something that was so out of left field and I knew that if it was announced that I was going to be joining a superhero franchise, most people would say, What the fuck? And I got to wear a superhero suit,” he adds.
But in being cast in the role, Rudd also had to revolutionise his approach to diet and fitness. There’s been many a film in which we’ve seen him shirtless – I Love You Man immediately comes to mind – but in those instances, comedy is the driving force. As Rudd is quick to admit, “Every shirtless scene I had ever done was for comedy’s sake. I had no business doing a shirtless scene [in a superhero movie].”
While Rudd has always been fit and understood the basics of what it takes to get in shape, he is first to put his hand up and declare that he finds it hard to stick with a plan. Though his training hasn’t seen him heralded a walking transformation the likes of which could rival Kumail Nanjiani, Rudd still underwent a rigorous routine with trainers which saw him lifting weights and omitting sugar from his diet, all so abs could be uncovered on his torso. While most might be fascinated to know his particular exercise routine, Rudd insists that the most important element of superhero training and getting a jacked body is one often overlooked: sleep.
“Then diet. Then weights. Then cardio. People ask me, ‘Can you send me your meal plan? How many times a week do you work out? Do you drink? Do you eat carbs? Do you have a cheat day?’ The most important part of training is sleep. People will set their alarm and then sleep for four hours and they’ll get up so that they can train. They’re doing themselves a disservice. If you can somehow get eight hours of sleep,” explains Rudd.
As for his regular routine, Rudd says: “I get up and I have a cup of coffee, and then I do cardio before I eat anything. I never would’ve done that before [Ant-Man]. I lift weights, hopefully at least three times a week. And I’ve learned so much about how my body reacts to foods, how it reacts to exercise, and where I’m happiest and how much it affects me mentally…If I’m in this suit, running around playing a character who’s supposed to be a superhero, I just feel better. And I feel less like an imposter.”
His diet consists of eggs, a lot of salmon and protein shakes that contain a lot of protein and water, but no fruit. “It sounds like hell. It’s really not. I find routine comforting.”
For Rudd, having a routine is imperative to achieving success when it comes to his own fitness goals and makes it easier to stay motivated and show up for yourself daily. “Routine is a human need. It’s grounding in a really positive and healthy way,” says Rudd.
He adds, “I can be a hyper-focused person if I have a goal. If I’m doing one of these movies and I know that in four months I have to do a shirtless scene, I’m pretty dialled in. I also try and find the happy medium. I could work out hard and eat perfectly and I’ll still look worse than most of the other Avengers.”