How long in the making was this week’s exclusive, first-look cover image of Paul Rudd as Ant-Man? Well, that depends how you look at it. While the shrinking, and insect-controlling, hero of Marvel’s Ant-Man (out. July 17) may not be as famous as The Hulk or Thor, he made his comics debut way back in 1962 and a year later co-founded The Avengers with those two aforementioned gents. Back in 2001, the movie’s original director, Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), and fellow Brit Joe Cornish first wrote a treatment for an Ant-Man movie, which means the project long predates the hugely successful Marvel movie universe ushered in by 2008’s Iron Man. Wright remained enthusiastic about the project down the years, telling EW in 2013, “I’d rather do the film with 2015 effects rather than 2005 effects. So it’s all good.” Then, it wasn’t. In May of 2014, Wright unexpectedly exited the project, prompting a blood pressure-raising search by Marvel for a new director which ultimately led them to Bring It On filmmaker Peyton Reed, the man who ultimately welcomed EW to the Ant-Man set outside Atlanta last fall.

While down in Georgia, we got to see Rudd playing thief-turned superhero Scott Lang alongside costars Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly—and got the low-down on the production’s tumultuous history. Which actor said they were “devastated” by Wright’s departure? Which actor threatened to walk if they didn’t like the way the script was headed? And which told a joke about the genitalia of moths? You’ll have to read the magazine to find out—but we can reveal that you’ll also get the lowdown on Corey Stoll’s villainous Darren Cross (a.k.a. Yellowjacket) and what Rudd describes as the film’s “mind-blowing” shrinking sequences.

EW, meanwhile, used its own super-secret shrinking technology to cram a bunch of other great stuff into this week’s issue, including a chat-fest with the cast of Girls, a profile of Jessica Chastain, and a record-buying spree with Sleater-Kinney. Plus: we binge on Friends. How you doin’? We humbly suggest that, once you’ve cracked open the issue, you’ll be doin’ just fine.

For more on Ant-Man, pick up this week’s issue of EW, on stands Friday.

2015 movie
  • Movie
  • 115 minutes