LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Michael Douglas will take on the role of scientist Hank Pym opposite Paul Rudd in the upcoming Disney-Marvel superhero film "Ant-Man," the movie studio said on Monday.
Douglas, 69, will play Pym, creator of the technology to shrink to the size of an insect and thus become Ant-Man. "Anchorman" star Rudd, 44, will play Scott Lang, the alter-ego of the diminutive Marvel superhero.
Pym's character first appeared in the 27th issue of Marvel Comics series "Tales to Astonish" in January 1962.
"We knew we needed an actor capable of bringing the weight and stature to the role that the character deserves," Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, said in a statement posted on Marvel.com.
"We felt incredibly relieved when Michael Douglas agreed to step into the part with the charm and fortitude he brings to every character he inhabits, and couldn't be more excited to see what he will do to bring Hank Pym to life," Feige added.
Disney's foray in bringing Marvel's superhero universe to the big screen has proved to be a lucrative choice, with films such as "Avengers" and "Iron Man 3" crossing the $1 billion mark at the worldwide box office.
Douglas, who won a Best Actor Oscar in 1988 for Oliver Stone's financial drama "Wall Street" and picked up a Golden Globe award on Sunday for his turn as Liberace in HBO movie "Behind the Candelabra," is taking a rare step into the world of big-budget franchise action films.
The plot for "Ant-Man" is being kept firmly under wraps. The film, directed by Edgar Wright, is scheduled to be in theaters in July 2015.
Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; editing by Patricia Reaney and Leslie Adler