It’s always exciting when news about ‘The Avengers’ come out, but when Joss Whedon is the one doing the talking about the film, well that’s news! Despite the fact that he’s hard at work on the post-production aspect of the film, Whedon took some time out to talk to Yahoo Movies about how he approached the characters for ‘The Avengers.’
What made writing for this movie difficult was that Whedon had to work with already established individual superhero personalities and figure out how that would change in a group setting while still keeping in mind that these characters would take the experiences from this movie into their next solo adventure. Before even writing the script, Whedon sat down with each “superhero” actor and talked to them about his ideas and their take on it. The actors were instrumental from the beginning in creating how their characters were portrayed in the film. Although, Whedon would honor their reservations and input he did emphasize there were aspects of his script that he wouldn’t change. But once the actors realized what his overall vision was, it all came together.
Whedon then went into a little more detail about how he tackled each superhero character and how they evolved to what will be seen on the screen. Here are some of the highlights of that interview:
Regarding Robert Downey Jr and his character Tony Stark, Whedon says their conversions were largely about what mind frame was Tony at between the time of ‘Iron Man’ and the upcoming ‘Iron Man 3’ and how not to repeat things already said and done in his previous movies.
“(Tony) didn’t want to be the sort of just, “I am totally wrapped up in one thing and I am not thinking about everybody else.” He didn’t want to be the tortured lonely man, which I totally get. And it was easy to make him as delightful and gregarious as he can be and still go, well, there is a piece missing and it’s the piece that makes him an Avenger.”
What made that easy to portray was the fact that Downey Jr. likes try new things with the scenes and his character.
“…we would beat out a scene so that he was very comfortable with where it was going or what was being said and very aware of where it would fit in the whole. And I would give him stuff to say, and by and large, he would say it. But then there were always pockets where we had some wiggle room for him to play, or ask for options, and if he said, “Can we do something else here?” I could give him four or five options by the time he had his makeup on….We would try different things. He is very collaborative. He loves notes. He loves to be guided and worked with. He is not trying to steamroller over me. He is really trying to create it side-by-side with me. So it ended up being a really healthy and delightful collaboration.”
As for Captain America, Whedon found it easy to write for him:
“I love a straightforward character. I am the guy who loves Cyclops on the ‘X-Men’, because he is square. [Captain America] is a little square, and he is aware that he is a little square, and he is aware that the world is a beat ahead of him… I think that’s very disarming and very charming. I relate to that guy. I also don’t know who the popular singers are right now, so he is actually really easy for me to write.
The character that Whedon spent the most time with was The Hulk. Since Mark Ruffalo was portraying Bruce Banner for the first time, they worked together to make sure they had the right persona for the superhero:
“…both of us agreed upfront that the template for who we wanted this guy to be in his life was Bill Bixby, the TV [show character] who was busy helping other people. That was more interesting to us than the Banner in the first two movies who was always fixated on curing himself. We spent a lot of time talking about what makes us Hulk out, the nature of anger, how it feels. We even fought some. I mean literally we actually got some pads out and did some tussling. Just to talk about the physicality, and also the physicality of somebody who has to control this thing, and the way he moves in space and the way he relates to the people and the objects around him. It was extremely fun. What we found was that he could be very bumbling and kind of awkward, but at the same time very graceful and in this almost transcendent control of himself.”
Whedon also revealed that Marvel actually mandated that Nick Fury was to maintain a mysterious air about him.
“…this is something that I was very pleased that Marvel actually mandated — they were very interested in keeping him, not just in the sort of a mystery of how the organization operates, but a real moral gray area where you really have to decide, “Is Nick Fury the most manipulative guy in the world? Is he a good guy? Is he completely Machiavellian or is it a bit of both?” And that was really fun to tweak.
Instead, Whedon wrote the character as someone who had the weight of the world on his shoulders:
“And I told Sam upfront that my big agenda was to see the weight on someone who is supposed to be in control of the most powerful beings on the planet. The weight on somebody who has to run the organization and the gravity of it. Not that we don’t have any fun with Nick, but he definitely — it’s, I feel like a much more textured performance and at times really moving.”
It sounds like Whedon definitely put a lot of time, thought and effort to bring this movie together and really worked on character development and a reason why these completely different superheroes would form a team. Although some may be in doubt, I really think it will pay off. I enjoy Whedon’s work and can’t wait for this movie to come out! For more behind the scenes tid-bits and the complete interview, you can click here.
The Avengers’ is directed by Joss Whedon and stars an ensemble cast including, Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers), Chris Hemsworth (Thor Odinson), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Tom Hiddleston (Loki Laufeyson), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton), and Stellan Skarsgard (Professor Erik Selvig), and will be released worldwide on May 4, 2012.