Born April 6, 1969 in Passaic, New Jersey Paul Rudd would go on to study Theatre at the University of Kansas before landing his debut role in 1992 on the NBC series Sisters. These days most people think of the Ant-Man movies when they think of Paul Rudd but he has had countless roles in the last couple decades and many of them are just as memorable as Ant-Man if not more so. So let’s start at the beginning and go over some of the roles that helped to shape Paul Rudd’s career.
Released in 1995 the movie Clueless wasn’t Paul Rudd’s first role by any means but is in my opinion the role that got him noticed. Starring alongside Alicia Silverstone, who was pretty much the biggest thing going at the time certainly didn’t hurt at all. Clueless is a comedy about high school life for the ridiculously rich and Paul Rudd’s role as the step brother that felt like an outsider was the perfect one to let his personality shine through. The movie was loosely based on Jane Austen’s book Emma and also happened to be Brittany Murphy’s first big movie as well.
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Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
Released the same year as Clueless in 1995 Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers would put Paul Rudd in a different ,more serious role and gave him the chance to show he wasn’t just comedic relief as Tommy Doyle who works with Dr. Loomis(Donald Pleasence) to stop the masked killer Michael Myers. The film actually won 2 Stinker Awards for The Sequel No One Was Clamoring For and Worst Sequel but this wasn’t due to Paul Rudd’s performance at all.
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Romeo & Juliet
Although his part in Romeo & Juliet wasn’t very big, he played a character named Dave Paris it certainly didn’t hurt starring in a movie with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. The film was a more modern take on the Shakespeare masterpiece and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Art Direction – Set Decoration and won 2 BAFTA Awards.
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Released in 1999 200 Cigarettes had an amazing cast and focused on a group of twentysomethings and their attempt to have fun on New Year’s Eve while also trying to deal with all lives problems and their inner demons and turmoil. Starring of course Paul Rudd, Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, Dave Chappelle, Elvis Costello, Kate Hudson, Courtney Love, Jay Mohr and Christina Ricci the cast alone is enough to love this movie. It was nominated for 2 Stinker Awards but both were for Christina Ricci’s performance and not aimed at the movie as a whole.
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The Cider House Rules
Released in 1999 The Cider House Rules is a coming of age tale and examination of a man setting out to see what life has to offer someone like him. Paul Rudd Played the character Wally Worthington alongside other great actors such as Charlize Theron, Tobey Maguire and Michael Cain. The film was nominated for 7 Oscars and won 2 of those, one for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Michael Caine’s role and another for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published.
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The Shape of Things
Released in 2003 The Shape of Things was one of Paul Rudd’s first leading roles and helped prove he could carry a movie by himself on his own merit. Paul Rudd plays Adam Sorenson a man that meets a woman and shows he will change almost anything about himself to be with her, exploring how that not only affects him but his friends and family as well. Also starring Rachel Weisz who won a COFCA Award for her performance as Evelyn Ann Thompson.
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Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Released in 2004 Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was the movie where Paul Rudd really got to prove his comedic genius while starring alongside comedy legends such as Will Ferrell and Steve Carell. The movie is a zany comedy about a 1970’s news team and in my opinion brought comedy movies to a new ridiculous level of craziness. Also starring Christina Applegate, Fred Armison and Seth Rogen the movie was nominated for 13 awards and won a BMI Film & TV Award.
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The 40-Year-Old Virgin
Directed by Judd Apatow The 40-year-old Virgin would once again have Paul Rudd starring alongside Steve Carell and Seth Rogen in a genius comedy about, like the title says, a man in his 40’s that has never done the deed. Also starring Elizabeth Banks and Leslie Mann the movie would be nominated for 19 awards and winning 10 including 2 MTV Movie + TV Awards.
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In 2007 Paul Rudd would once again star alongside Seth Rogen in another film directed by Judd Apatow, this time in the movie Knocked Up, a movie about two people who have a one night stand that turns into a pregnancy, it’s a great comedic take on an otherwise unfunny subject. Also starring Katherine Heigl, Jonah Hill, Jason Segel and Leslie Mann the movie was nominated for 26 awards winning 8 of them including a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award.
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Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Released in 2008 Forgetting Sarah Marshall is a brilliant comedy about the woes of getting over someone and just how hard breakups can really be. Paul Rudd once again stars alongside Jason Segel and the two are joined by Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Russell Brand. The film was nominated for 19 awards and won four of them including a Gold Derby Award.
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Also released in 2008 Role Models is about two ad executives who get into some trouble and are forced to join a big brother program as punishment, they get the worst little brothers you can imagine and chaos ensues, you get the picture I’m sure. Paul Rudd once again stars with Elizabeth Banks and the two are joined by Sean William Scott, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Jane Lynch. The movie was nominated for 4 awards and won a Women Film Critics Circle Award for Most Offensive Male Character.
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I Love You, Man
Once again starring alongside Jason Segel, Paul Rudd plays a man looking for a best man for his wedding because he has no friends and explores the difficulties of balancing friendships and relationships in the best comedic way ever. Also starring Jon Favreau and Andy Samberg the film was nominated for 8 awards and won a BMI Film & TV Award for Film Music.
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Our Idiot Brother
In 2011 Paul Rudd would star in the comedy Our Idiot Brother which depicts the lives of three sisters and how they are affected when their carefree no frills brother comes back into their lives. Also starring Elizabeth Banks and Zooey Deschanel the movie wasn’t his best work or most successful but it certainly worth watching.
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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
Reprising his role as Brian Fantana for the sequel to the genius that was Ron Burgundy Paul Rudd would once again star alongside comedy legends such as Will Ferrell and Steve Carell and would be joined by Kristen Wiig this time around, the movie didn’t find the same success as the original but still did pretty well. It was nominated for 23 awards and won an American Comedy Award for Best Comedy Actor – Film for Will Ferrell’s performance.
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The role he is best known for now Ant-Man once again proved that Paul Rudd could not only carry a movie on his own merit but a franchise as there has been a sequel already with more planned in the future, I will not be listing the sequel on this list, simply including it here, as well as the rest of the Marvel movies he has played the character in such as Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame. Also starring Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas Ant-Man was nominated for 34 awards and won three including a BAFTA Award for Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects.
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Paul Rudd has had a long and successful career and it shows no signs of slowing down with a couple projects in the works right now he is sure to be sticking around on our TV screens for quite awhile. He will be starring in the new Marvel What If…? series which will be airing on the Disney Plus streaming service sometime in 2021 and he is due to star in the new Ghostbusters movie coming in 2020.
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