Entrepreneurs

‘Ant-Man’ Paul Rudd reveals the weirdest odd job he  did to save money for acting school 

Paul Rudd at "Ant-Man and the Wasp" premiere.
Christopher Polk | Getty Images
Paul Rudd at "Ant-Man and the Wasp" premiere.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” officially flies into theaters on July 6. Walt Disney’s Marvel Studios movie, which stars actor Paul Rudd as Scott Lang (a.k.a., Ant-Man), is expected to haul in more than $75 million in North American ticket sales over its opening weekend, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

This movie marks Rudd’s latest turn as the size-shifting superhero, following 2015’s “Ant-Man”, which grossed $519 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. He also had a supporting role in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” which took in more than $1.1 billion globally.

At 49, Rudd's career also includes notable roles in movies like 1995’s “Clueless,” 2001’s “Wet Hot American Summer” and 2004’s “Anchorman.”

But before Rudd found success in Hollywood, he worked a variety of odd jobs, including one that he calls “the weirdest” job he’s ever had: glazing hams in his hometown of Kansas City, Kansas.

Some of Rudd’s earliest jobs skewed a bit more on the traditional side: delivering newspapers, bagging groceries, he told IMDB in 2015. Though at one point, before his acting career took off in the early 1990s, Rudd worked as a DJ at a Bat Mitzvah.

But the job that really sticks out in Rudd’s mind was one he took after he graduated from the University of Kansas with a theater degree in 1992. To save money for a move to Los Angeles (to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts), Rudd took a job at the Holiday Ham Company in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park, where he grew up.

“I glazed hams,” Rudd said in a 2015 interview on ABC’s "Live! With Kelly and Michael."

He described the process, saying it involved sifting a lot of sugar from a tub onto a heated ham and then using a propane torch to melt the sugar into a glaze. “It was like a rhythm,” Rudd said.

“It was one of the weirder jobs I’ve ever had,” he said.

The “weird” job definitely did not give Rudd any pause about pursuing his acting dreams. “[It] taught me that I don’t want to glaze hams for a living,” he told CBS’ “Sunday Morning” in June.

“It was really crappy. It’s a serious process. It’s way more intense than I thought it would be,” Rudd said in a 2008 interview with the University of Kansas’ alumni magazine. “There were big torches that came down from the ceiling, and I had to put on protective gear and sprinkle sugar on top of the ham. It looked like I was working in a laboratory. And then I reeked of ham every day.”

As if the smell wasn't enough, Rudd also caught a whiff of mockery from his friends over the gig.

“My friends would make fun of me,” Rudd told IMDB. “They used to call me ‘Paul Ham Glazer,’ like Paul Michael Glaser [the actor] from ‘Starsky & Hutch.’”

David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser from "Starsky and Hutch," circa 1977.
 Fotos International 
David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser from "Starsky and Hutch," circa 1977.

Fortunately for Rudd, he says the job only lasted “about six months” before he’d saved enough money to continue his acting studies in L.A. Starting in 1992, Rudd began landing a series of television jobs — including a recurring role on the NBC drama series “Sisters” and a lead role on a Fox sitcom, “Wild Oats,” that ended up being cancelled after airing just four episodes in 1994.

While “Wild Oats” was short-lived, it led to Rudd’s big break when “Clueless” director Amy Heckerling saw the show and singled out Rudd’s performance (“There was something about him,” she said in 2016). Rudd was cast as Alicia Silverstone’s step-brother-slash-love interest in the movie, which became an iconic 1990s teen comedy and launched his film career.

Today, Rudd says he knew as a college theater major that he wanted to become a professional actor, but his current superhero success is still somewhat of a surprise.

“I figured early on [acting] was what I wanted to do for a job. And I certainly hoped it would work out, and that I would be playing lots of different parts. But I don’t think I anticipated being an ant,” Rudd told CBS.

Don't Miss:

How Chris Pratt went from homeless waiter at Bubba Gump shrimp to $10 million ‘Jurassic World’ star

How 'Solo' star Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) went from YouTube comic to 'Star Wars '

Like this story? Subscribe to CNBC Make It on YouTube!