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The Avengers are back and this time in an epic, bigger than life action adventure to protect the world from the greatest threat anyone has ever seen in Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the
mysterious Ultron emerges, the team must reassemble in order to stop the terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff and Pietro Maximoff, as well as an old friend in a new form, named The Vision.
In a recent press conference, we had the chance to catch up with the Cast for a Q&A that was full of laughter and got a deeper look into the film.
The cast included: Robert Downey Jr. (“Iron Man”), Chris Evans (“Captain America”), Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”), Scarlett Johansson (“Black Widow”), Mark Ruffalo (“The Hulk”), Jeremy Renner (“Hawkeye”), Cobie Smulders (“Maria Hill”), Elizabeth Olsen (“Scarlett Witch”), Aaron Taylor Johnson (“Quicksilver”), James Spader (“Ultron”), Paul Bettany (“Vision”), along with Joss Whedon (Director) and Kevin Feige (Producer) who all kept the mood light as we learned more about the making of this new adventure.
Q: So what does it feel like now to be more than just a voice? This questions was asked to Paul Bettany who plays Vision.
A: Well, the main difference is I have to show up. You know, the great thing is being able to work with all these incredibly creative and talented people.
With all the original Avengers returning plus the additions of Vision, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, director/writer Joss Whedon says, “The whole cast is a powerhouse. It’s strength to strength and that’s exciting. It means that I can write things that are taken a little further and not worry about whether the actor can pull it off or not. They’re all very, very human in the Marvel comics and that’s what was so important to me as a kid and so important to pop culture in general.”
“Vision is a key Avenger in the comic books and is a very unique character,” says Kevin Feige. “He’s an artificial life form, but he’s as pure and innocent as any of the characters. He has such a different look and Paul Bettany, who has played Jarvis for so many years, gets to step out from behind the sound booth and put on an outfit and become a true Avenger in the guise of Vision. His look is spectacular and his powers are spectacular and he really represented a new power base for the team.”
Q: Maria Hill is a favorite characters in the MCU because she’s one of these threads that ties everything together, both in the Avengers, the other MCU films, the television series, brings it all together. Now, Maria went through a lot of a change in Captain America: Winter Soldier. Talk a little bit about where we find Maria now and the kind of Maria Hill you wanted the audiences to see in Age of Ultron.
A: Maria’s now under the employment of Tony Stark and you know, she’s now working with him to privatize security. And yeah, it’s very fun being a thread to be able to tie the TV show and the movies together. That’s been a lot of fun. But she’s got a bigger job now working with Tony, and she doesn’t have S.H.I.E.L.D., at her disposal anymore, so it’s a much more difficult job.
Q: This next question is for Kevin Feige, you started with this grand plan almost a decade ago, so what’s it meant to you to see it all coming to fruition, working with filmmakers like Joss and the rest of the cast you’ve had through all your movies? What’s that experience been like for you, and to see the world connect with the MCU in such a powerful way?
A: Well, it’s been great, of course. I mean, it started with the notion of making these movies ourselves, and becoming Marvel Studios, and then it continued with Robert in Iron Man one, with the notion of having Sam Jackson come in at the end and say: you’re part of a bigger universe, you just don’t know it yet, thinking that most people wouldn’t know what that meant, but occasionally somebody would go: what did that mean? I’d go: it means maybe that we’ll introduce all the different characters and put ‘em together. It’s the greatest ensemble ever assembled in cinematic history, and it is amazing to be a part of it.
“One of the reasons we loved the idea of dismantling S.H.I.E.L.D. was that The Avengers didn’t have a giant government organization to support them anymore, so they’re really on their own,” informs executive producer Jeremy Latcham. “Tony Stark, as you might guess, is financing them, but at one point he even says, ‘Captain America’s the leader.’ And while they’re not together all the time, they do get together and now have an official headquarters as Tony has transformed Stark Tower from the first film into the new Avengers Tower.”
Q: This next question is to James Spader. We really enjoyed your performance in the film and was wondering if you could talk about, as an actor, doing the motion capture, and how you were really able to bring life to this killer robot Ultron.
A: I really don’t have any idea what was happening at all – happened very quickly. I really was just trying to hold on and then stay on the train that was moving very, very quickly. But I will say this, that I arrived in London, and within the first half hour put on a suit, they put on all this gear, and I’d gone through a range of motion, and then within 15 minutes, I was watching me walk around a big room, moving and doing this and that and everything else, and watching Ultron, or at least a formative stage of Ultron, on a monitor in front of me. And it just – it started right there. And the next day, I was on the set shooting a scene with Scarlett. And so really that pace was what it was, through the entire project.
“James Spader is an incredible actor and when ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ was coming around and Joss began to put together the character, he said to us, ‘It has to be James Spader,’” says Kevin Feige. “It was another casting moment where we went ‘yes!’ There was nobody else on the list. He’s so unique and has such an amazing voice that is full of humor, darkness and emotion.
For Spader, the complexity of the character was something he enjoyed exploring. “Ultron is able to access anything technological and anything that is available on the Internet,” informs the actor. “It becomes part of his stimulation and information and is embedded in his psyche. He has ungoverned access that is constantly streaming into his processing chip. So it’s overwhelming and almost impossible to harness the powers and knowledge. He’s a little too strong for his own good.”
Q: We’ve seen Black Widow not only evolve depth-wise but we see her role getting larger and larger as the cinematic universe progresses to the point that we see her play such a significant role in Age of Ultron. Talk a little bit about where you see Black Widow even going from here, once we get to the end of this film.
A: I think that she, you know, in the beginning of Avengers 2, you know, this kind of – there’s some sense finally of there being a kind of normal, in a way. I mean, it’s a well-oiled machine where, you know, tag teaming each other, it’s finally, like, the introductions are over and we’re at work, like we’re digging our heels in, and at the end of Avengers 2, I think Widow lets her guard down, she was hopeful for something. I think she had this moment of false hope where she kind of felt like, you know, she kind of put in the work and, you know, there should be some kind of personal payoff and she was ready to accept it, and you know, she realizes that, you know, her calling is a greater one and that’s not necessarily something that she’s thrilled about, but like, you know, that’s kind of what is most heroic about her is that she’s, you know, accepting the call of duty, even at her, you know, own personal loss. And I think it’s an interesting place to kind of leave her there, because you know, there’s many different directions to go. I mean, is she going to be able to withstand this huge weight that’s bearing down on her or is she going to crack under it, and sort of crumble, you know, not being able to take this huge hit, this huge personal hit that she does. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
For the talented actress, the exciting part about bringing The Avengers to audiences this time around is that there are opportunities to delve deeper into the back story of each one of the characters. “Every one of The Avengers has come to the table with a lot of baggage. None of us really chose this job; the job chose us, and that reluctance to wear the Super Hero hat makes for very interesting back stories.
One team member that Natasha becomes closer with in the film is Bruce Banner when she finds common ground between them. Producer Kevin Feige explains, “There is a very sweet heart in this movie that involves a relationship between Bruce Banner and Natasha that I think is very unexpected, heartwarming and somewhat tragic. Those two characters do not have the most stable backgrounds, but Joss was able to create a dynamic between them that really has wonderful structuring and is one of the backbones of the film.”
Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1963, Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” reunites the world’s favorite Super Hero characters as they return to the big screen for the first time since the catastrophic events of the Battle of New York in Marvel’s “The Avengers.” The film continues the lineage of epic big-screen adventures chronicled in Marvel’s “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Iron Man 3,” “Thor: The Dark World,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” continues to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe and ups the ante for the global Super Hero team-up of all time.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is now playing in theaters. Read our spoiler free movie review here.