With appearances in everything from David O. Russell’s Three Kings to last summer’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Judy Greer’s film resume is matched only by the list of her TV roles. Arrested Development, Two and a Half Men, Married, and Archer are just a few of the shows graced with Greer’s trademark wit and charm. But the hardest working woman in Hollywood showed no signs of fatigue when we caught up with her at last month’s TCA winter press tour in Pasadena. Instead, the ever-adorable actress overflowed with energy as she gave us the lowdown on her characters in next summer’s hotly anticipated Ant-Man and Jurassic World…
Nerdist: What can you share with us about your role in Ant-Man?
Judy Greer: I’m really excited about Ant-Man. I got chills when I watched the trailer. I play Ant-Man’s somewhat estranged ex-wife. He and I have a lot of respect for each other, but we have stuff to work out.
N: You and Paul Rudd are both expert comic actors. Did you get any opportunities for comedy in the film?
JG: Paul’s actually not that funny. Paul’s really more of a dramatic actor. [Laughs.] I’m kidding. It was really fun to work with him, because I never had before and I always wanted to. In our scenes together, I just wanted to make a million jokes. And that was not really what was required of us. [Laughs.] So it was hard for me, because I was like, “Oh, I’m acting with Paul Rudd! I just wanna make a million jokes! And I can’t!”
N: Perhaps in Ant-Man 2… It seems this film is distinguished from some of the other Marvel movies by having an earthbound family drama at its center.
JG: Well, Ant-Man is an original Avenger. And we did not stray far from the origin story. So instead of going back in time to the origin story, we brought the origin story to the present day. It’s funny how it’s a really beautiful story about a man who’s trying to get his shit together.
N: The Marvel movies are known for breaking from storytelling traditions. Did it feel that way with Ant-Man? I’m guessing this isn’t the typical Kramer vs. Kramer-style story of a divorced couple.
JG: No. Unfortunately, I have a lot of friends who have been through divorces. This feels typical of the current conscious uncoupling. I think my character and Paul’s character are people who have a kind of love for each other, and equal respect, but one person says, “You need to grow up.”
I love Marvel and I love their stories, their superhero stories. But what drew me to this particular story was that it was really about a guy who’s trying to get back in the good graces of his daughter. It’s a very typical story of divorce, and that’s what I really loved about it when I read it. I read it from the point of view of my character. So obviously that’s very different than if you hear from Michael Douglas or Evangeline Lilly. I just love a guy who wants to be a good dad. That’s what it’s about. It’s about a guy who wants to be a good dad.
N: One hopes every father would want to be that.
JG: Yeah. My husband is divorced, and he has two kids. And I know that if he could be a superhero and save the day for his kids… That’s probably the fantasy of every man and woman.
N: That sounds like an evolution from, back in the day, the superheroes who just wanted to rescue their girlfriends.
JG: I think we saw this in Guardians of the Galaxy, that our superheroes now are trying to rescue themselves instead of trying to rescue the damsel in distress. Like, in Ant-Man’s case, his daughter would be fine. But he wants to be a man, he wants to be her dad. It’s a cliche and a metaphor — he wants to be her superhero. That’s why I feel like the movies Marvel is making right now are so multi-dimensional. They’re not just like “So and so saves the day.” They’re telling stories about what’s happening in real life, with the people I know. That why I love Marvel. The End. By Judy Greer. [Laughs.]
N: Who was your favorite superhero when you were a kid?
JG: I used to say Wonder Woman until I found out she was DC.
N: [Laughs.] It’s okay. You can love Marvel and DC. Most of us do.
JG: Goddamn I loved Wonder Woman when I was a kid, man.
N: Did you do her signature spin?
JG: Of course… What about the Wonder Twins?
N: Zan and Jayna? They belong to DC too. Jayna was awesome. She could turn into any animal she wanted to.
JG: I go that way too… I probably just got myself a lawsuit.
N: [Laughs.] Can you describe your role in Jurassic World?
JG: I’m Bryce Dallas Howard’s sister. And I’m depressed.
N: Do the film’s dinosaurs help pull you out of your depression?
JG: No! That’s all I can say. [Laughs.]
N: Did you have an opportunity to work with Chris Pratt? Of course he’s another comedic actor turned Marvel superhero.
JG: I have a very short scene with Chris Pratt, where I’m very straight. But we had dinner and a really fun night in New Orleans. I actually was disappointed that I didn’t have more time with him. I’d never met him and everyone was like, “Oh my God, Chris Pratt’s the greatest guy in the world!” And I’m like, “We’ll see about that!” Then I was like, “Oh yeah, he’s actually the greatest guy in the world.” [Laughs.] So everyone’s right — Chris Pratt is the greatest guy in the world.
N: What else is next for you?
JG: The book that I wrote is coming out in paperback in March. I wrote a book called I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star. It came out a year ago in hardcover. It’s a collection of essays about me. But you should buy it anyway. I divided it into three sections. One is about growing up, one is about my real life right now, one is about my Hollywood life. Anyway, I wrote it all by myself. I didn’t have a ghost author. So I’m kind of proud of that. Not that there’s anything wrong with it. Maybe I should have, I don’t know. [Laughs.] But it was really great. It was a great experience.
N: Do you have any ideas for a follow-up book yet?
JG: Yes. I’m sort of interested in writing something about stepparenting. Because I’m a stepparent, and it’s tough to be a stepparent. It’s hard for me and my kids are amazing. So I’d love to talk to more stepparents and get a consensus of what it’s like and how to do it. So more people would have an easier time.
N: Very cool. Thank you for your time, Judy. It’s a pleasure to meet you!
JG: Oh, thank you!