Paul Rudd's Most Iconic Roles, from His Cult Classic Rom-coms to Blockbuster Marvel Movies

Since the early '90s, Paul Rudd has been a consistent fan favorite in Hollywood with popular films like Clueless, Anchorman, Ant-Man and more

01 of 15

Wild Oats (1994)

WILD OATS, Paul Rudd
20th Century Fox

In his earliest recurring role on television, Rudd played Brian Grant on the short-lived 1994 comedy about twenty-somethings that wanted to, well, sow their wild oats. The series only lasted one season and also starred Jana Marie Hupp, Tim Conlon and Paula Marshall.

02 of 15

Clueless (1995)


As if! Playing "it" girl Cher Horowitz's crush (and ex-step sibling) Josh in the 1995 classic rom-com earned him name recognition in the industry and a spot in every '90s teenager's heart. Although there were concerns over the fact that Josh and Cher's relationship may have been too incestuous, director Amy Heckerling didn't see an issue, revealing to Time in 2015 that "my grandparents were stepbrother and stepsister."

03 of 15

Wet Hot American Summer (2001)


Rudd continued to get cast in funny films with his role as camp counselor Andy in the horny 2001 rom-com. The film is packed with future A-listers in acting and comedy, including Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Christopher Meloni and Molly Shannon, just to name a few. The cult classic got the reboot treatment in 2015 (which Rudd returned for) and celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.

04 of 15

The Chateau (2001)

THE CHATEAU, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco

The star took his comedy chops to France as Graham Granville in The Chateau, alongside Romany Malco, who played his adopted brother, Allen. In the film, the two inherit a decaying chateau in the countryside and find things lost in translation with the French staff that comes with the enormous castle.

05 of 15

The Shape of Things (2003)

Paul Rudd and Rachel Weisz during 2003 Sundance Film Festival - "The Shape of Things"

Fans got to see a different side of Rudd as Adam Sorenson in director Neil LaBute's romance drama. Rudd's character starts to date Rachel Weisz's character Evelyn, and his friends in the film begin to notice subtle changes. Weight loss, new clothes, a nose job — Adam denies that Evelyn is responsible for his new look but as their relationship unfurls, viewers start to pick up on the devious motives disguised in the everyday, ordinary lives of the couple.

06 of 15

Friends (2002 to 2004)

Paul Rudd throwbacks
NBCU Photo Bank

Rudd played a part in one of the most popular shows in television history, joining the show as Mike Hannigan, who married Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), during season 9. Years after the sitcom ended, Kudrow mused that Mike and Phoebe would've stayed together and settled somewhere in Connecticut, US Magazine reports.

"They had kids, and I think she was, like, the advocate for her kids who are a little different and all the other kids who are a little different, creating the arts program and the music thing," Kudrow said.

07 of 15

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)

LOS ANGELES - JULY 9: The movie "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy", directed by Adam McKay. Seen here from left, Darcy Donavan as Sherri (Hot Blonde) and Paul Rudd as Brian Fantana. Initial theatrical release, July 9, 2004. Screen capture. Paramount Pictures. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
CBS via Getty

Get Will Ferrell, Steve Carell, Christian Applegate, David Koechner and Rudd in a room and you know you're going to end up with one-liners that'll live on forever. The hysterical film introduced Brian Fantana (Rudd) as part of Ron Burgundy's (Ferrell) all-male reporter crew. The movie's enormous success led to the 2013 sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

08 of 15

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)

Paul Rudd

The following year, Rudd reunited with Carell in Judd Apatow's 40-Year-Old Virgin. David (Rudd) helps his struggling buddy Andy (Carell) get prepped to do the deed for the first time and hilarity ensues. The comedy, written by Carell and Apatow, would continue their longstanding partnership with Rudd, as they would work on and appear in several more movies together in the future.

09 of 15

Knocked Up (2007)

Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Leslie Mann
Suzanne Hanover/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock

Knocked Up would be Rudd's next project with Apatow in 2007. The star plays Pete who is married to Debbie (Apatow's real-life wife, actress Leslie Mann) and has two kids (played by Apatow and Mann's real kids, Maude and Iris). The two try to balance family life with their own dwindling relationship while being supportive friends to the stars of the movie, Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl, whose character unexpectedly gets knocked up.

10 of 15

Reno 911! (2006-2007)

Reno 911! Miami (2007) Cedric Yarbrough (center/left) and James Garcia (Carlos Alazraqui) and Paul Rudd (right) and Marisa Petroro
Twentieth Century Fox

The star also appeared as Guy Gerricault, alongside Thomas Lennon, Cedric Yarbrough, Kerry Kenney and Niecy Nash, in the over-the-top cop show based in Reno, Nevada.

11 of 15

I Love You, Man (2009)


Peter Klaven (Rudd) goes on a mission to find a best man for his wedding to Zooey Rice (Rashida Jones), but once he finds one in Sydney Fife (Jason Segel), Zooey starts to disapprove of the consuming bromance. The all-star rom-com cast also includes Andy Samberg, J.K. Simmons, Jaime Pressly and Jon Favreau.

12 of 15

Dinner for Schmucks (2010)


Comedy duo Rudd and Carell teamed up again in the 2010 comedy, which follows Tim (Rudd), a rising executive who is tasked to find an appropriate guest to accompany him to his superiors' dinner for idiots. Tim struggles with who he could bring until he befriends Barry (Carell) at the perfect time.

13 of 15

This Is 40 (2012)

This is 40 (2012) Leslie Mann, Paul Rudd

Pete (Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann) are back but older and with way bigger problems. The couple works together to revive their marriage while raising their kids and saving their businesses. An older Maude and Iris Apatow return to play their roles, alongside supporting stars John Lithgow, Megan Fox and Albert Brooks.

14 of 15

Parks and Recreation (2012-2015)

PARKS AND RECREATION Episode: Two Funerals Pictured: Paul Rudd

There's no bigger threat to Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and Pawnee, Indiana, than Eagleton's Bobby Newport. Rudd joined the lovable Parks and Rec cast as the spoiled, air-headed Newport in the later seasons of the longstanding show, which starred Poehler, Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones and Aziz Ansari.

15 of 15

Ant-Man (2015)

Ant-man - 2015

In 2015, Rudd joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Scott Lang, who takes on the responsibilities of Ant-Man, a superhero who has the ability to shrink in size while increasing in strength. Rudd as Ant-Man later appeared in Captain America: Civil War (2016), Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019), the TV series What If...? (2021) and is currently filming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (which is slated to come out in 2023).

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