I could not believe Joss Whedon actually gave us some of his time during the busy press junket event. With all this accolades, this man doesn’t need much of an introduction except that he’s one of the main reasons the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the huge success that it is today. Here’s Joss’s take on the new movie, Avengers Age of Ultron.
Joss Whedon Interview – Avengers Age of Ultron
Q: So, you have that iconic shot of the Avengers jumping in slow motion which, I think all the fan boys and girls have like gone wild over. Can you talk about how that came to be or whose idea it?
WHEDON: I wanted to create some frames that were just unabashedly comic book frames that would speak to our love of the thing. It was important to me to have that right away, like first up in the movie. Not to say, and now we’ve got to get everybody back together. Let’s go find them – now we find Captain America and he’s digging in a trench and now we find . . .. Instead just go, “BOOM! We’re back. This is what you love. Are you having fun? Good. Now we’re going to tear it apart.”
Q: You’ve done so much to influence pop culture but in doing so, who do you look to or who inspires you to reach further and to reach higher to make this entire universe and fulfilled vision the way you see it? (I asked this 🙂 )
WHEDON: I have a weird relationship with pop culture. I’ve never really been a part of it until I suddenly was so most of my influences are a little left of center and/or very old. The directors that I look at when I’m thinking about a movie usually are people like Vincent Minnelli or Sam Fuller, or Frank Barseghian and not just artists. It’s just the people in my own life that I see working four times as hard as I ever can and trying to do things they can’t. Those are the people that make me sit down and go, “Oh wait a minute, I can do better” because ultimately, the only person who’s ever really going to inspire me to go further and do better is me.
I’ll tell you who’s inspired me of late is Lin-Manuel Miranda because seeing Hamilton at the Public Theatre was just such a breathtaking experience. The amount of work that he did for six years to put that together, I just thought, oh, gotta bring up my game. There it is. The bar is higher again.
Joss Whedon Interview – Filming
Q: In the movie, we saw the introduction of the Hulkbuster and one of the most epic Avenger versus Avenger battles, I think we’ve ever seen. Was there any difficulties filming that?
WHEDON: There is some slight enormous difficulties in the fact that neither of those people exist. We had the thing mapped out very carefully so it was, in a way. . . Then the hard work comes up at ILM where they’re dialing in this action you’ve described.
Q: Question about, you filmed in numerous countries, South Africa being one of them, um, what was that like?
WHEDON: Um, fun. I got to a lot of countries I’ve never been to and see these beautiful cities and these places and eat really good food. I don’t get to take vacations so location scouting is definitely the next best thing.
Q: So we just met with Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olson and they said that they didn’t have to audition for their roles. What was it about them that made them perfect for the roles that they got?
WHEDON: I didn’t want anybody else. I just wanted them. Aaron is too pretty to live, but I’ve dealt with the Hemsworth problem so I can forgive. . . He’s an old school movie star. He’s that commanding and beautiful but he also looks like he could be kind of an arrogant *bleep*. He’s not. He’s the sweetest puppy I know but he’s great at playing that sort of like, “I got this” and that’s Quicksilver to a tee. Quicksilver is always hotheaded, he’s always being a pain for everyone, but is essential and very cool.
I’d just seen Martha Marcy May Marlene and you spend two minutes with Lizzie and, you not only don’t want anybody else for the role, you think maybe she should play all of them.
Joss Whedon Interview – Tough Scenes
Q: What was the hardest scene to shoot? Do you have one that sticks out?
WHEDON: I would say probably after the first attack by Ultron. Everybody’s in the lab, kind of trying to figure out what’s going on. We referred to that as the WTF scene and it was just very difficult for me to put together. It’s hard to explain why. There’s something about the way the light in the room, I just could not find the focus of where everybody should be and how they should move. And Robert had to do something really difficult which was start laughing in the middle of this scene, very sincerely and become a little unhinged. Getting there and sort of making that work, that was one that I struggled with.
I struggled very much with the party scene. Actually, we shut down during shooting early one day because I started shooting it and I hated everything I was doing. I was like, “What should I do? What’s wrong?” Then I realized, wait a minute, didn’t I just make an entire movie where people sit around and drink? Wasn’t that Much Ado About Nothing? Ohhh, and then I called. I was like give me some, I need cards, I need beers. Anyway, I get all these things and we’ll do it all handheld and we’ll just let them go. As soon as I remembered how to shoot a party, it became a party.
Q: On that note, that party scene is actually my favorite scene in the movie and so I’m curious to that, if it was all scripted or were the actors ad libbing at all, or?
WHEDON: There’s a little, they’re throwing stuff out. With Robert in a situation like that, I’ll usually give him five or six options just to see what tickles his fancy and he’ll sort of run through them. Most of it is scripted but I like to leave a little room for those guys.
First of all, they’re all funny, articulate people who really know their characters. Second of all, it sort of helps the flow. Particularly in something like that you want to feel camera moves and dialogue. You just want to feel like you stayed at the party.
Q: We hear Ultron say, “Upon this rock, I shall build my church,” and we also hear the Vision say, “I am.” Was there any type of significance to having these forms of artificial intelligence speak those Biblical terms?
WHEDON: Our response to them contains some element of understanding of ourselves and our history. It’s a Frankenstein story as much as its anything else and the Frankenstein story is Who made me? Why am I here?
Joss Whedon Interview – You’d Like to Pee? Tough 😛
Q: Did you plan something at the beginning of production that you didn’t get to do in the movie?
WHEDON: Um, is there something we didn’t do in the movie? There’s so much movie! There’s always stuff you either give up or realize is ridiculous but I can’t really think of something we didn’t do. There’s stuff we cut out. The first cut of the movie was an hour longer than the one that’s in theaters. It’s the length I think it should be, I’m very happy.
It’s, in fact, a minute shorter than the first one which is a point of personal pride because as much as I wanted this to be bigger, I didn’t want it to be bloated. I didn’t want us to seem like we were full of ourselves like, “Oh, you love us. Here’s three hours. You’d like to pee? Tough.”
Our interview with Kevin Feige will be coming on Thursday.
AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON will be in theaters May 1st, 2015!
- Visit the official website: http://marvel.com/avengers
- Like THE AVENGERS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/avengers
- Follow THE AVENGERS on Twitter: https://twitter.com/avengers
I was invited on an all-expense paid media trip as a guest of Disney and Marvel in honor of the Avengers Age of Ultron movie. All opinions are my own.