Press Conference: Avengers: Age of Ultron

by Daniel Goodwin on 24/04/2015


After three years of mounting anticipation and a trio of solo film outings, the Avengers have finally reassembled, this time to battle a psychotic AI and its mad, mechanical fighting force. As the world’s mightiest superheroes learn more about each other and lives come under threat from maniacal androids, their feelings threaten to change and friendships evolve.

Writer/ Director Joss Whedon has delivered an inevitably darker but surprisingly twisted sequel, weaving sci-fi horror with surreal imagery for an unusual and slightly unbalanced follow up.

New Empress joined the director and cast at a press conference in central London to discuss the production, the writing process and what it was like to develop the characters within the Marvel universe.

Joss Whedon (Writer/ Director): It was easy going into Age of Ultron in a way because a lot of the questions about the characters had been answered and you know what you have to work with, which is a bit of a comfort. I always said we should have Ultron in the second movie before we even made the first. He’s big, powerful, angry, metal and strong enough to take these guys on. But as he’s been angry for so long, he might be a little unhinged.

Chris Evans (Steve Rodgers/ Captain America): Marvel does a great job at bringing a lot of the same people together, in front and behind the cameras. So coming back together as a group kind of feels like family. In an action film there may not be as many tangible opportunities to play off in terms of acting. Where more reality-based movies are a little more grounded given the environment, in a movie like this you may be just sitting in front of a green screen or talking to a tennis ball. But I think a lot of the people here have very healthy imaginations and have spent a lot of time running around in the backyard with a cape around their neck.

Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/ Hawkeye): You were the only one sitting around talking to a tennis ball, Chris. But whatever comforts you. It’s a huge testament to Joss to write a movie bringing together all of these characters who are all extremely interesting and fantastic. Coming back to the world seeing where these crazy people that we are playing, are headed and knowing that Joss is gonna take us there into his own twisted psyche. It’s a chess board in that you need all the pieces for it to make sense.

Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/ Black Widow): I get most excited about reading Joss’ script because it’s like a big pay off after a long wait. All of the individual cover letters before the script that he writes are so delightful and self-deprecating. What’s great about my character is that she’s deep and grounded. She’s experienced trauma and was never able to make active choices for herself but now she finally is. But it’s bad timing. One of the Black Widow qualities that I love and am interested in is that she is put in a situation where she might be able to do something for herself and open up in a way but there is this greater calling that’s pulling her and she very selflessly chooses that. It’s heroic in a small way but she has to be a slippery fish for her job.

Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/ Scarlet Witch): I’m just thrilled to be a part of this whole group and world. Marvel make such great films with a balance of depth, humour and action and all the characters are humans with weaknesses and strengths. In this film, I think there’s a special highway to everyone’s own personal worlds and lives, and what makes them human – I think that’s what makes this film so great. It’s mind-boggling.

Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man): I probably get most excited about my first costume fitting. And me surrounded by full length mirrors. But Hawkeye’s got a hell of an arc this time. And also Paul Bettany (Jarvis/ The Vision) has a very interesting turn. And also Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch! I think Paul, Lizzie and Aaron came out and exceeded expectations, left, right and centre. I feel like they triumph in the film.

Paul Bettany (Jarvis/ The Vision): It was lovely to be finally on set with a bunch of people I’ve been, supposed to have been, working with for ten years but who I’ve never actually met before. So that was nice. Initially I would just turn up at the end of the film with the superhero power that, if anything was still unclear, I could clarify it just by talking. It would take two hours and they would give me a big bag of cash and I would go away finding it hard to imagine how the contract could ever be better. But it was honestly a dream, everybody was so welcoming.

Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/ Hulk): They actually paid you in cash?

Paul Bettany (Jarvis/ The Vision): When I was doing the voice. It seemed like a big bag of cash to me.

Joss Whedon (Writer/ Director): If I had a key on my computer that said “a billion dollars” I would press it. I just try to write as well as I can. The thing I love about Marvel comics and what Kevin Feige is doing with the Marvel Universe is he approaches each new movie as a completely new idea. He’s not interested in creating a formula, he’s interested in creating a universe. As long as somebody who really cares is at the head and that somebody is interested in creating new versions of superhero movies and not just falling into a pattern, I don’t think I’ll get that far away from Marvel because I love it so much. After my long rest I plan a longer rest and then possibly an eternal rest but I have no immediate plans for the future right now. Which is the best thing I have ever said.

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