Paul Rudd Says He Decided to Study Acting After Watching Scorsese’s ‘After Hours’

The "Ant-Man" star decided to take his craft seriously after watching Griffin Dunne's "sublime" performance in the film.
AFTER HOURS, from left: Griffin Dunne, Teri Garr, 1985. © Warner Brothers /courtesy Everett Collection
"After Hours"
©Warner Bros/courtesy Everett Collection / Everett Collection

Martin Scorsese’s distaste for comic book movies has been the subject of nearly half a decade of discourse at this point, but his impact will still be felt on the upcoming “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.” In a new interview with Men’s Health, Paul Rudd revealed that Scorsese’s 1985 dark comedy “After Hours” has been one of the biggest influences on his acting career — both in and outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“Griffin Dunne has been through so much,” Rudd said when asked about his first impressions of the film. “And he finally finds a safe harbor in some guy’s loft because there’s a mob out in the streets looking for him. And he calls the cops, and they say, Go get some sleep. And they hang up on him. But he doesn’t get mad. He’s just stupefied. And he says, ‘Oh, wow. Oh, wow.’ The only emotion is surprise. It’s beyond frustration. And it’s sublime.”

Rudd says he walked away from that film with a newfound commitment to studying the craft of acting. That led to him turning down bigger film offers to spend a year working in theatre immediately after the success of “Clueless.” While his representatives were not thrilled with the decision, Rudd says it was an essential step in his artistic development.

“My agent said, What are you doing? My career was just starting,” he said. “But I had a real clear vision then of what I wanted and how I wanted to do it. I didn’t want to be considered a joke among actors who I really admire. I really wanted to learn how to do this right. I had a real focus.”

After cutting his teeth on the stage, Rudd returned to film work with a newfound confidence in his abilities.

“Certainly some of the movies were not as good as I’d imagined, but they were beneficial, each in their own way,” he said, before citing “Wet Hot American Summer” as an early project that changed the trajectory of his career. “Without that, I don’t know if I get to do ‘Anchorman,’ which was seminal. And I’ve gotten to work with Judd Apatow for years now.”

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