You can count on laughs if you're watching a Paul Rudd movie. From Knocked Up to Role Models and from Dinner for Schmucks to This is 40, it seems as if Rudd has been in every hit comedy movie or romantic film since his big-screen debut in Clueless in 1995. Rudd has been in the industry for quite some time now and he has managed to make best-selling movies while also starring in serious plays in the Theater District alongside, say, Bradley Cooper and Julie Roberts. He was also able to parlay his success so that he could be a successful producer and writer (he co-wrote Ant-Man).
But there are a lot of unusual things that Paul Rudd fans may have forgotten about or don't know about. Like the fact that Rudd would prefer making dramatic movies but is being type-cast. Like the fact that he's known Jon Hamm since high school. Or that he does voice-overs for Hyundai. Now he's going to blow away his fans with the release of two upcoming Marvel movies, Ant-Man And The Wasp, which will debut this year, and another Avengers sequel that is yet untitled and which will debut in 2019.
Rudd also has the reputation of being a good guy, the nicest man in the industry, as well as your best buddy. And while there's not a lot of information out there about his private life--no scandals, no paps following him--that's what Paul Rudd likes best. But we did some digging and found 20 things that fans have forgotten about him. Here they are!
20 The Time He Got Bumped On SNL
To be a guest host on Saturday Night Live is a big deal. Stars often appear before the premiere of their new movies, and this exposure can translate into ticket sales. SNL only hires hosts from the highest in-demand actors, whether they are A-listers or up-and-coming stars. Paul Rudd was lucky to land the guest spot on SNL. But because the cast liked him, and because he's always game to do anything in order to be funny, Rudd was invited back to SNL two more times for a total of three times. His first was on November 15, 2008, his second was on December 11, 2000, and December 7, 2013.
What fans might've forgotten about Paul Rudd was that his second appearance (2000) on SNL was a bust. The musical act was Paul McCartney, who actually did five numbers, as well as a tribute to John Lennon at the end of the show. As a result, Paul Rudd had literally nothing to do on SNL, and it was a total waste as McCartney stole the stage. The acclaimed musician even showed up in a few sketches. In the monologue, though, Paul Rudd, who is perhaps the most polite and loveable man in Hollywood, took it in stride and mocked himself, saying he's being outshined by McCartney. Can you believe the way Paul was treated? He's Paul Rudd, darn you, and Role Models was a really funny film.
19 His Big-Screen Debut Became A Cultural Phenomenon
Paul Rudd started off acting on the small screen, appearing in the 1994 television drama Sisters, which we have no idea what that's about. He's one of the few television actors who has been able to jump to the big screen, and he did so in 1995 when he left the show.
It was a sweltering summer in 1995, and the movie Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone, slipped into theaters without fanfare. The movie is a modern-day adaptation of Jane Austen's 1815 novel Emma, and is set in Beverly Hills. The film wasn't expected to be a hit, but it actually was. Since then Clueless has become a cult classic as well as an iconic comedy. Each scene was crammed with jokes, such as when Alicia's character Cher hits a car during driver's ed, drives by it fast, and then asks her driver's ed teacher whether or not she should leave a note. But the most iconic moment in the film is the use of "whatever," which Clueless is responsible for after it became part of our lexicon. The way the characters use "whatever" is by holding up their hands to make a "w."
Rudd plays Cher's ex-stepbrother who was into environmental law and who loved to pick on Cher. Whatever. His intellectualism is on full display as we see him reading Nietzsche by the pool (see pic above!). He's an affable and amusing nice guy, which Cher at first can't see, and that's actually how he is in real life. The film's success allowed Rudd to get more acting jobs. Whatever!
18 He's A Loyal Kansas City Royals Fan
Paul Rudd, as you may not know, is like the biggest fan of the Kansas City Royals. When the KCRs made it to the MLB's World Series in 2014, Rudd was there to cheer the team. He was ecstatic when the Royals beat out the New York Mets. Rudd said, after the game,
"Winning the World Series is the greatest thing that can happen to a community. I’m just so happy that everyone in Kansas City’s is gonna be in a good mood for a while.”
Rudd was born in New Jersey, but when he was ten his parents moved to Kansas, where he and his family stayed and which is where Rudd went to college (University of Kansas). His loyalty to the team goes beyond any other fan's loyalty, and after the World Series win, Rudd even joked about a party to celebrate the team's win,
According to CNN affiliate KMBC, when Rudd was asked where he planned on partying later that night, it was clear from his face that he had no plans and then jokingly said he would hold an impromptu party at his mother's house. Here's what he said:
"I'm going to be partying at my mom's house! Party at my mom's, man. She's out of town; I've got a keg. It's going to be sweet! Five dollar cover!"
17 He Appeared On Friends
Friends is famous for its cameo appearances by A-list stars. Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Christina Applegate and many others appeared on Friends. While most stars only appear in one episode, Paul Rudd's stint on Friends lasted the final two seasons of the show. Paul played Michael “Mike” Hannigan as a charming goofball who was dating Phoebe. For example, when Phoebe decided to change her name to Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock, Mike chose to change his name too to show how awful Phoebe's new name was. He called himself Cr*p Bag, like "This is my boyfriend, Cr*p Bag." That's funny!
Here's what you probably don't know. Rudd was supposed to be a guest star only, but the producers changed their tune and contracted him for the long-term. This was after when the producers decided that David, played by Hank Azaria, would be Phoebe's love interest in the same arc as Rudd's. This was one of the spoilers on the show that even Azaria didn't know. When asked if David would move to Minsk, which would end his appearances, Azaria said, “No, I didn’t know that was the end of David. The plan always was kind of to bring him back.”
But Azaria had no rancor for Rudd and acknowledged that Rudd had a more natural rapport with Phoebe. He said,
“I think, honestly, what happened was Paul Rudd is so awesome that they sort of found a groove with him and [my character] became more of just the grist for that mill."
Yep. Paul is totally awesome!
16 He Did Voice-Overs For Hyundai
Did you know that Paul did voice-overs for Hyundai? It's true. Nowadays it's not selling out, as many respected actors do commercials or voice-overs for products. And most times it's for cars. Jason Bateman voiced Honda commercials and Kiefer Sutherland lent his voice to Ford trucks, among many others. Their voices helped build brand equity and familiarity.
Jeff Bridges also did voice-overs for Hyundai, which helped the company become the leading maker of small cars that you could trust. Now that Paul Rudd is taking over, here's what Hyundai expects from the Ant-Man actor, according to Voices.com:
"Take Hyundai to that next level where consumers believe, almost automatically, that a Sonata is every bit as trustworthy and intelligent a purchase as the Camry – as close to bulletproof as a vehicle can ever be. This isn’t just some voice-over actor showing up for work, speaking into a mic and calling it a day. It’s voice over talent as a strategic pillar of digital era marketing best practice. Rudd is expected to move the needle just as far as Bridges did, and then some."
According to The News Wheels, Steve Shannon, VP of marketing for Hyundai, explained why the company chose Rudd:
"We were looking for a voice that could be recognizable and relatable to a new generation of car buyers. Rudd can be serious, humorous, informative and entertaining all at the same time. It’s his modern sensibility that we knew would be a perfect match for today’s customers.”
15 Rudd Met Jon Hamm In College and couldn't stand Him
Hollywood may be a small town, and many who come here when starting out probably don't know anyone in the industry. Rudd was lucky though, as he found and met up with high-school friend, Jon Hamm, the suave lead in Mad Men.
Rudd would often go to his college roommate's hometown in St. Louis because he was dating a girl who lived there.
When he met Hamm, it turned out that the Mad Men star had once dated the girl Rudd was seeing. Talka bout awkward! “I was not so crazy about Jon,” Rudd admitted during his Late Night appearance.
That's the understatement of the year, as Rudd is likened as one of your best friends in real life, and the roster of his Hollywood friends include Jason Segel, Adam Scott, Jennifer Aniston, and Amy Poehler, among others. Rudd also admitted that he wasn't keen on Hamm because he was, like, perfect:
“He was great at everything. We played Trivial Pursuit one time, and we split off into teams and I was with Sarah, the girl … I remember I would roll and be, like, ‘Uh, Entertainment or Sports,’ and Jon, every time he’d roll, he’d go, ‘I want to go to History.’ It was [so] emasculating. Because he’d get a question, and he’d get it right every time … I felt so lame that I started reading atlases.”
But when the two reconnected in Los Angeles later, they became instant buddies because it turned out that they had a lot in common.
14 Rudd Starred On A Broadway Play
After the success of Clueless, rather than choose another role in a film, Rudd instead turned to theater in New York City and starred in a play. This was in 1997. He spent almost a year starring on The Last Night of Bally-hoo, which was a critically-acclaimed play by Alfred Uhry.
In an exclusive interview with The Guardian, Paul Rudd related about how much he wanted to be like Stanley Tucci or Giancarlo Esposito, who were also on Broadway at the same time Rudd was, which was in the early 90s. He gushed,
"I wanted to emulate those guys. I loved them. I always liked the utility player, the guy who shows up, does the job and is great, sometimes not in the showiest role."
But that wasn't the only play Rudd starred in. Many of us don't know this because a large part of our society is cut off from, or don't know about, what's going on Broadway. We didn't, and we know everything!!! That's why we know that Rudd followed up The Last Night in 1998 with the play the Twelfth Night, which was at the Lincoln Center Theater rather than on Broadway.
Rudd admitted that starring in plays make him grounded. And he likes that he can continue to act while not in Los Angeles, which he doesn't particularly like because it's so cutthroat and chaotic. The theater appeals to him and is a way for him to continue to act without being under the gaze in Hollywood.
13 Rudd Loves The Eighties
Rudd grew up in the eighties in Kansas. He loves that period the most because of the fashion and the pop music. The eighties also reminds him of being young. He said,
“That's how I know I'm not a kid anymore, I remember 1988 very well. It was my first year in college and I went to the University of Kansas and our team won the National Championship in basketball that year, and it was the most exciting thing I'd ever experienced."
According to the interview he grew up as an awkward teen. As for his passion for music, he loved Depeche Mode. He embraced not just the music, but also the attire of the time. He said, “The first part of the 80s, up to the mid-80s, was kind of Hall and Oates." His hair at the time was curly and he wore a mullet! "The second part of the 80s I was just such an INXS fan and I thought I'm going to so do what Michael Hutchence had done: grow my hair as long as I possibly can. In my mind, I looked like Michael Hutchence, but if you look at the pictures I look nothing like him.”
While at UK, he was a member of the frat Sigma Nu. As you can see above, Paul looks hilarious in long hair!
12 He Co-Created A TV Show
Did you know that, in 2009, Rudd co-created a TV series called Party Down? You probably didn't know that, as its initial airing was a colossal disaster. The TV sitcom ran for 20 episodes on Starz, from 2009 through 2010. But the project was doomed from the start, as it aired at 10 pm on Fridays, a time where hardly anyone watches TV and instead go out. But thanks to Netflix, the show had a second life and became an underdog hit and developed a cult following in the same way that Parks & Recreations and Community did.
The movie follows cater waiters in Hollywood who aspire to be actors. They came here to make it big, but because this a comedy, there are many comedic pitfalls. Each episode focuses on a different party and catering gig to comic effect.
Party Down was inspired by The Office. Co-creator Rob Thomas said, “If The Office is a show about people who have really given themselves over to the rat race, let’s do a show about people who’ve chased the dream for far too long." That became the premise of the show after months of fine-tuning it. Party Down also drew in part on Rudd's early time in Los Angeles. The Ant-Man actor used to be an MC at bar mitzvahs and still remembers the point where he had to ask himself what he was doing.
11 He Considers Wet Hot American Summer His Best Role
Wet Hot American Summer is a cult-classic starring Paul Rudd and many other funny actors. The film was released in 2001 and went nowhere until 2015 when Netflix decided to continue the movie with two miniseries, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp in 2015 and Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later in 2017. The first film takes place in summer 1981 during the last day at Camp Firewood, which is somewhere in Maine. You know you've become a cult classic if Netflix revives your series or TV show. This time, the new exposure for Wet Hot from Netflix found an audience.
Of all the comedic films he's done, Paul Rudd found working on the Wet Hot American Summer franchise was the best experience for him. According to Vulture, there are two aspects that stick out. The first is that Rudd believes the campy show helped him find his voice as a funnyman because most times in his comedic films he plays the straight guy. The second is that the movie was a breeze because he had fun during the shooting. That was because he was in a cast where all of the actors were his friends. These included Elizabeth Banks, Bradley Cooper, and Amy Poehler, among others.
As Rudd told Vulture, "[Wet] was the most fun ever. We were all friends.Up until that movie, I had never worked on any comedy that was really my own sense of humor. I mean, Clueless is smart, but Wet Hot American Summer was the first subversive thing I ever got to do."
10 He's Not Afraid Of fate
In an interview about Paul Rudd in Vulture, the comedic star reveals that he has no fear of aging or dying. It's not a nihilistic thing or based on some fate he believes in. It's just a normal part of life. You get old, you start to die. He said,
“I’m not surprised by anything because I really just feel as if I’m on a slow, steady course to, just, destruction in every facet of my body and mind. My body is like a sandcastle. It can only take some many waves.”
The interviewee followed Rudd to an eye-doctor appointment. When he found out that his eyes "just keep getting worse and worse" from the doctor, all he did was shrug his shoulders as if he didn't care. Instead, he turned the trip to a doctor into a comic fest full of optometrist-related jokes. When he found out the optometrist was going to take photos of his retina, here were his funniest jokes.
1, “But what if I’m having a bad retina day?"
2. "Be careful with those! I’m so tired of my retina photos getting leaked to the press.”
3. “Now, when you do my retina photos, are you going to be able to print out wallet-size for me, or do I have to do that myself?”
9 He Has A Lot Of Celeb Friends Who Reiterate That He's A Good Guy
Did you know that Paul Rudd is a nice guy? That he's actually the nicest guy in Hollywood, in fact? Well, if you don't believe us, Rudd has many famous friends and all of them say only good things about him. In an exclusive profile of Rudd in Elle, here's what Rudd's friends say about him.
Elizabeth Banks, who has co-starred in five films with Rudd, including Our Idiot Brother, said,
"Paul is a slow burn. He's very sweet. You don't see him ass-kicking left and right, but that's very endearing to women, especially as we get older and want to see men who can be caretakers. He did a great job of being in relevant movies for our generation and those younger."
Leslie Mann, who starred in This is 40 with Rudd, said, "I can sit and listen to him talk for hours. He's pleasantly neurotic. He's really good-looking, but he behaves like somebody who isn't."
Adam Scott, who is like Rudd's bestie and who appeared with him in Wet Hot American Summer and Our Idiot Brother, said he and Rudd spent much of their twenties "sitting for hours in my apartment listening to music so loud and just drinking until six in the morning. It was so fun."
Jennifer Aniston, who used to date Paul, said: "Paul is fantastic. . . and he's the same person he was in 1997."
Rashida Jones, who starred in Our Idiot Brother with Rudd, as well as several other Rudd films, said: [He has a] "legitimately old-school constitution, in a way I don't think a lot of actors do. He's consistent and so he attracts consistency. He's known the same people forever. You could say in those general psychological terms, it speaks very highly about who he is."
8 He Played A Nitwit In Parks & Recreations
Rudd played clueless billionaire Bobby in Parks and Recreations. He first appeared in season 4 in 2012 as an opponent to Amy Poehler's character Leslie Knope for a City Council seat. In 2015, during the show's seventh and final season, he reprised his role for a four-episode arc. The reason Bobby came back was because executive producer Michael Schur told People,
"We made a list of all the people that we wanted to have back and he was high on the list, so we managed to snag him."
Bobby, the spoiled nitwit, received a yacht when he was only 12 years old, He doesn't care for the campaign and doesn't know anything about politics. He only enters the race to gain approval from his dad. During the race Bobby begins to have a professional affection for Leslie and even votes for her because, get this, he thought voting for oneself was illegal!
We're telling you this because there are two things you may not know about Paul being a guest star. One is that he won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series. Two, when Rudd was on P&R, the show then featured two Marvel character superheroes. Rudd was in Ant-Man and Chris Pratt, a regular on the show, was in the blockbuster hit, Guardians of the Galaxy. Talk about the testosterone level on the show!
7 He Wants To Be Relatable
Paul Rudd is that rare actor who cares about his fans who see his movies. He told The Guardian, "When I was starting off and I was meeting casting people or directors there was always some comment that I wasn't dangerous in any way. That's not who I play. I want characters to be relatable. When somebody's watching I want them to feel: 'I know what that's like, because I sense that in myself', as opposed to thinking: 'I don't know how to do what this guy is doing.'"
But Rudd has always wanted to be relatable, not just in film, but in real life. Because his father was a TWA employee, he and his family moved around a lot until his family settled in Kansas. When he was young, all he wanted was to fit in. He said,
"I never wanted to be on the outside. My desire to fit in was just as real as anybody else's. All of the moving around, having parents from London, always being in new schools, I felt like an outsider."
Rudd also kind of expected that his classmates could be relatable too. He went out of his way to thinking like that, and saying:
"I just tried to empathize with people's anguish or angst or whatever it was. If somebody was a bully, I would always try to think about why they were the way they were. It didn't mean that I liked them. I just kind of sympathize with people."
6 Ant-Man was not considered a success
Paul Rudd played the lead character Scott Lang/Ant-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie Ant-Man, which was released in 2015.
According to Box-Office Mojo, Ant-Man grossed $180.2 million in North America and $339.1 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $519.3 million. That appears like a hit to us. But if you look at the numbers closely, you'll realize that it made only $23.4 mill on opening day and for its opening weekend total, earned $57.2 million. Now look at that and compare it to say, Spider-Man: Homecoming, another Marvel stand-alone film, The movies' total domestic gross--not including overseas numbers--was $334,201,140.
So it looks as if Rudd signed a three-picture deal contract because the movie was not only a box-office failure but also critically panned by critics. We mean, Marvel could've canceled the sequel, but not if Paul was in the contract. The movie had absolutely no legs and it marked the second-lowest debut for Marvel, ahead of The Incredible Hulk in 2008. How embarrassing?
Here's just one of the negative reviews. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times said:
"This is a lightweight, cliché-riddled origins story that veers between inside-joke comedy, ponderous redemption storylines and admittedly nifty CGI sequences that still seem relatively insignificant compared to the high stakes and city-shattering destruction that take place in most of the “Avengers” movies.
Ouch! Not even Paul Rudd suited up could save this train wreck.
5 Because He Loves A Good Prank
As a star of Ant-Man and Anchorman, Rudd has to do a lot of TV appearances and interviews to promote his films like every other actor. Rudd could care less. For the last 15 years, Rudd has been pulling THE SAME prank on the Conan O'Brien Show during each appearance. Rather than showing a clip of his movies, Rudd swaps it out for a clip of a 1988 children's sci-fi film called Mac and Me. It's the same clip every time and O'Brien never seems to learn. And his setup is also funny.
During one of the interviews, Rudd explained that studio execs were getting mad at him for doing this, so then he apologized ... but then he proceeded to play the Mac and Me clip again anyways.
We don't know if that movie is Rudd's favorite, but the clip he shows is very funny. It shows a young boy in a wheelchair careering down a mountainside and falling into a lake. Each time Rudd appears on Conan--he has been on the show nine times--the joke gets funnier as the years roll on by.
According to Lad Bible, here's Paul on the prank:
"I set up a clip - you know, they cut to a clip - so I set up the clip, and then I just showed the clip with the kid going off the cliff. And then I went back again to promote something else - like the last episode of Friends and I said I actually have some footage from the show, and they set it up very seriously, and then just showed that Mac and Me clip." Ha Ha!
4 He Was Starstruck While Filming Captain America: Civil War
In 2016, Rudd's Marvel character Ant-Man joined the rest of the MCU superhero cast for the film Captain-America: Civil War.
He had no qualms while filming Ant-Man, but when he was on the set of Civil War he felt kind of awkward being surrounded by the superheroes and the actors who played them, according to Hello Giggles. That's understandable, as he had to hold his own while being around an ensemble cast that he liked but which found him tongue-tied when speaking to them. Here are just some of the actors whom he had to play alongside: Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan and Jeremy Renner.
Rudd admitted his feelings to James Corden on The Late Late Show. He said that while "Hanging out on set with everyone else. . . I felt kind of like 'Cousin Oliver to the rest of the Bradys. I didn’t know what to say!'
Anybody would be starstruck with that roster, but because Rudd often makes movies with his friends--Judd Apatow, Leslie Mann, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Adam Scott, for example--it's just understandable that he may have been awkward working with an entirely new cast who are superstars in their own right. He also added that, while standing among "the other supers" he found himself thinking: “Whoa, there’s Iron Man! Whoa!” While everyone else was probably thinking, “Oh, and you’re the one that shrinks? Talks to the ants? That’s cute.”
So there. Even stars can get starstruck. We just didn't know Rudd could be among them.
3 The NBC Match.com Rule
If you've ever seen a comedy on NBC's Thursday Night Lineup, back when Community was on the air, you'll be familiar with the actors who appear on the two-hour comedy block. There's Tina Fey, Adam Scott, Chris Pratt, etc. But did you know that the way to Paul's heart is to be romantically linked with one of NBC's stars? Well, that's just the part of it. If you are female and appear on one of the sitcoms, you will inevitably play his onscreen love interest elsewhere. We're not making this up! It's the NBC Match.com Rule!
Tina Fey is one example. She starred in Thursday's 30 Rock. Because of that, Fey and Rudd inevitably played love interests in the film Admissions.
Rashida Jones starred in NBC's Thursday night sitcom, Parks, and Recreation, and she played Rudd's onscreen fiancee in the movie I Love You, Man.
Elizabeth Banks had a recurring role on 30 Rock, and it was inevitable that she would play alongside Rudd in two movies where she was his on-screen crush, Wet Hot American Summer, and Role Models. In both films, Banks is at odds with Rudd, so there's not much loving going on!
Amy Poehler was another one. She was Rudd's political rival on Parks while Rudd was a guest star. Once again, The NBC Match.com rule led the two to star in the movie They Came Together, where they fell in love onscreen.
2 He Studied Jacobean Drama and Was Type-Cast As A Comedic Actor
All we really know about Paul Rudd is that he's a nice guy, is married, and has kids. There's no juicy details and scandals about him on the Internet. He's not posing for paparazzi.
Since 2004, he's been consistently funny in one of the many comedic movies he starred in. Starting in 2004 with Anchorman, to the 2005 comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Paul has played roles that make you laugh. There was also 2007's Knocked Up, 2008's Role Models and I Love You, Man, 2010's Dinner for Schmucks and 2012's This is 40. It seems Paul has been in every comedy since he began his start in the comedy Clueless. His friendship with Judd Apatow as a director and producer guaranteed that the film they were making would be not only funny, but also a major hit. (Apatow directed Rudd in 40, Knocked Up, and This Is 40.)
But what you don't know about Rudd is that he's a thespian. He has appeared on Broadway several times and studied Jacobean drama at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England. None of this is funny, and it's not supposed to be. Somehow, especially being associated with Apatow, he became a comedic actor. In the process, he got type-cast and here's what Rudd had to say about that:
“I didn’t want to just do specifically comedy. I still don’t want to just specifically do comedy. I never went to Second City. I didn’t do stand up. I studied classical theater. That was my thing.” Well, so now we know. Maybe his next film will be an adaptation of Flaubert's Madame Bovary.
1 Rudd On Role Models
The movie Role Models, where Paul Rudd played the lead, is about, well, duh, role models. As a high-profile star, Rudd is expected to be someone whom people could relate, as well as a figure whom people could look up to. In an exclusive interview with CNN, Rudd talked about how a role model should look like. He said,
"To be an actual role model? Oh, God, I would hesitate to say we should be anybody's role models. Your role models are your parents."
Not helpful, but thanks!
But what he said next was much better:
"I always think a good rule of thumb is to treat people the way you'd like to be treated; let the rest take care of itself. You know, try to be nice to people, I suppose, and to treat people with respect and be polite."
That's Paul Rudd in a nutshell.
As for his own role models, Rudd was effusive when he said Paul Newman would be a good role model.
"I just think he's an example of somebody who came into this world, and left this world, as a contributor in ways that are so huge. Even though the world has a lot of problems in it, it is better off by a mile for Paul Newman having lived in it. He gave more than he got. He got a lot, but he gave way, way more."