Better late then never, right? I really wanted to get this up sooner but between getting back from vacation, then turning around and heading off to C2E2, that didn’t go as planned. Obviously, while on vacation in London I had the pleasure of attending the press conference for “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” It was a pretty small conference with a mix of press from various countries. It was pretty laid back with a lot of laughing coming from the cast as well as the rest of us. You really get the feeling that these actors enjoy each other and see each other as more than just coworkers. The questions were pretty good, minus an awkward moment near the end when someone asked Downey why his trailer on the set was larger than the rest of the cast. Whedon was asked about the “leaked” end credit scene that had been floating around featuring Spider-Man and he confirmed that while it was very good, it was obviously fake. And that’s something we all know now! Below you’ll find the transcript and audio! (If anyone has any issues with the audio, please let me know. It’s my first time using SoundCloud!)
Joss, when you have a movie like the Avengers which is part of something bigger, does that make your job easier because you don’t have things to answer? That you can set up as well as pay off?
Joss Whedon: Yeah easier and harder. There are restrictions but yeah a lot of the questions have already been answered. So you know going what you’ve got to work with, it’s a bit of a comfort actually.
Before you start filming the movies what is it you most get excited about?
Elizabeth Olsen: I get most excited by cooking and eating.
Jeremy Renner: I’m excited by hanging out with these degenerates.
Mark Ruffalo: Coming back to the world and seeing where these crazy people that we’re playing are headed. And knowing that Joss is gonna take us there into his own twisted psyche.
Robert Downey Jr: Probably my first costume fitting, me surrounded by many full length mirrors.
Chris Evans: I’ll say a similar response to Jeremy. Marvel does a great job of bringing a lot of the same people together. Not just in front of the camera but behind the camera, so coming back together as a group, it kind of feels like family, a lot of familiar faces. It’s kind of like a high school reunion.
EO: I didn’t understand the question!
CE: Yeah as soon as you said cooking, I was like: “She doesn’t get it! She mis-heard.”
Scarlett Johansson: Watching you eat, it’s so exciting because nobody else does eat. I would say I get most excited about reading Joss’ script because it’s the big pay off after a long way. Also all of the cover letters before the script, they’re so delightful and self-deprecating.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson: I’m just excited to be a part of it and that Joss brought me along on an honest journey and to this fantastic group of actors.
Paul Bettany: Box office bonuses.
RDJ: Wait are they coming before the movie starts shooting now?
MR: And by the way, you got box office bonuses?!
Joss, Ultron is a great villain, was that an easy decision to make him the main villain or was it a long thinking process?
JW: No I said that we should have Ultron in the second movie before I decided to make the first movie. He’s big, he’s powerful, he’s angry, he’s metal. He’s strong enough to take these guys on. He’s been angry for so long he might be a little unhinged and I can write that.
Who inspired you growing up?
PB: John Lennon.
ATJ: I think Gary Oldman was one of my inspirations as an actor.
PB: Sorry, and Gary Oldman.
SJ: Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing.
CE: I think we all agree with that! I was gonna go a different way and say my old man: “Awwwwww”.
CE: To me that’s who I am as a man. That comes first I suppose.
RDJ: Peter O’Toole.
MR: It’d have to be Gandhi.
RDJ: Ben Kingsley.
JR: I’m gonna say my pop.
EO: Michelle Pfeiffer and Faye Dunaway. Those were the girls I liked.
JW: Chris Evans’ dad!
CE: He’s a good man. You could all learn a thing or two.
Elizabeth and Scarlett, how empowering does it feel to play two female superheroes in a male dominated universe?
SJ: I just go through the script and skip through and go: “There she is! And there she is again…” those are the only parts I read [laughs]. What’s great about playing this character is that she’s based in something deep and something that I can hold onto. She’s grounded in something very real. I think she has experienced a lot of trauma and she’s never really been able to make active choices for herself and now she’s ready for it and unfortunately it’s just bad timing. But these kinds of things are something we can hold onto, so that when we’re fighting the good fight and shooting 5 eighths of a page over two weeks it kind of keeps us involved and keeps our heads straight. So I’m looking at it just from an actor from looking for material that’s substantial, not just a female actor looking for substantial work. Thanks Joss!
EO: I’m just so thrilled just to be part of this whole group and world. It’s a franchise that I’ve been watching since the first Iron Man and I think they make such great films that have such a balance of depth and humour and action but they’re all humans that have weaknesses and strengths. Especially in this film I think there’s a special highlight on everyone’s own personal worlds and lives and what makes them human. I think that’s what makes this film so great, it’s just amazing to be part of this cast. It’s mind boggling.
Joss, do you see yourself returning to the Marvel universe?
JW: I don’t think I’ll ever get that far away from it because I love it so much. After my long rest I plan a longer rest and possibly an eternal rest. I have no immediate plans which is the best thing I’ve ever said.
Scarlett, your character could have been written off as the sexy member of the team…
SJ: Really? Have you seen Chris Hemsworth?!
How important is it for you to be smart as well as hot and are you livid that there’s not a Black Widow film yet?
SJ: Yes. I don’t know how to answer that. I think one of the qualities in the Widow that I love and am interested in is that she’s put in the work and she’s at a place where she’s able to maybe do something for herself and maybe even have a relationship with somebody. Maybe open up in that way, there’s this greater calling that’s pulling her and she very selflessly chooses that and it’s heroic in a big way and in a small way she’s really kind of in herself which is interesting because she’s kind of a slippery fish for her job but when you get her, Natasha, she’s in herself which is kind of cool. Yeah a Black Widow movie, that would be cool. I’m always happy to put the catsuit back on and get in front of those mirrors just like Robert! I’m an actor so… from your lips to Marvel’s big, big pocketed ears [laughs].
Other than your own characters, who do you think had the most interesting story arc?
RDJ: Hawkeye’s got a heck of an arc this time and also, I think I can say from us who have gone before that the arc’s of what happens obviously Paul [Bettany] has a very interesting turn and also with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Paul and Lizzie and Aaron came out and they exceeded expectations. In watching the film I was like: “Wow,” that’s in some ways the big triumph of the film.
CE: I like Scarlett and Ruffalo. You see a lot of nice, intimate moments. It was nice seeing the intimate moments between Scarlett and Ruffalo in this kind of challenged relationship among a team of superheroes where you don’t see romance, especially within the group.
SJ: I thought Joss’ arc was really interesting.
ATJ: I probably would agree with Chris. It was great to dive into Mark Ruffalo’s character in the Hulk, to see such a sensibility in that beast. It was quite an emotional journey in this one.
PB: Hawkeye. For me it was really the heart of the movie, I found it really moving and he’s fantastic in it.
MR: I would also have to say that Hawkeye’s storyline I found great as an actor who is often away from home fighting imaginary evil guys and a wife who’s at home saying: “Where the hell are you? Why aren’t you here?” I really find that I’m very sympathetic to that.
JR: I like them all, I’m not gonna pick one out. I think it’s a huge testament to Joss to be able to write a movie to put all of these characters that are all extremely interesting and flawed and fantastic. It’s like a chess board and you need all of these pieces for any of them to make sense and I’m just very appreciative that we’re able to dive deeper into the characters more.
PB: You should totally have picked me though because I picked you!
Joss, is this what it’s like on set?
JW: No. Some of them are paying attention.
RDJ: I feel like I help you wrangle things sometimes!
MR: He does! He helps!
EO: The Scarlett/Ruffalo through-line I love. My favourite moment is the first time we watch Black Widow talk down the Hulk, I just think that’s such a beautiful moment in the entire film. I’ve seen that moment twice and I think it’s one of my favourite moments in the film.
Joss, the Avengers films are like Marvel’s Superbowl, how much of a constraint is that to you as writer to hit certain beats, make a billion dollars? And how far do you think the superhero genre still has to go?
JW: If I had a key on my computer that said a billion dollars I would press it. I just try to write it as well as I can, I don’t really think about those things. The restrictions, as I said before are sometimes frustrating, sometimes very useful because the page is not so blank. The thing I loved about Marvel comics is the thing I love about what Kevin Feige is doing with the Marvel universe which is he approaches every movie as a completely new idea. As a movie of some particular genre that happens to have superheroes in it. He’s not interested in creating a formula, he’s interested in creating a universe. So as long as he can stay alive, which I think is probably a few months more [laughs] I think it has legs. As long as somebody who really cares is at the head, trying to create new versions of the superhero movie and not fall into a pattern then it can sustain for quite a while.
You’re all known for character driven parts. Do you approach a part like this in an action movie differently to more dramatic roles?
CE: It may be a little different. In an action film there may not be as many tangible opportunities to play off of as an actor. Some action where the reality is a little more grounded given the environment you’re in or the characters you’re playing off of you may have something more to kind of pull from. In a movie like this you may be sitting on a green screen or talking to a tennis ball but I think everyone up here has a very healthy imagination and grew up running around in their backyard with a cape around their neck. So it’s a different muscle but I think it’s a very similar approach. Nailed that one too!
SJ: Well played Cap.
RDJ: Can we all agree that Evans is on fire today?
JW: Chris you were the only one sitting around talking to a tennis ball. We know it comforts you but it’s a little weird…
Joss and Mark, considering where Hulk ends up at the end of the film do we take it Hulk is going to disappear for a while or is he gonna come back in a bigger way in the future?
MR: Do you want to tell them?
JW: No you go.
MR: I can’t.
JW: It’s too amazing.
Jeremy, it’s been reported that you weren’t happy with the way Hawkeye was portrayed in the first film but the role has been expanded in this film. Are there any comic book story lines you’d like to adapt with that character?
JR: I don’t really read comics so I can’t answer that part of it. I let writer’s that know what they’re doing do that and I try to do what I gotta do. In this one I was so happy. I remember talking about the ideas of what are in this movie, I remember sitting with Downey and Joss and Ruffalo, talking about some of the cool ideas and they were able to implement them in this one and actually it was very exciting. And I’m very thankful for that.
Paul, you’ve been part of the Marvel universe since Iron Man. What’s it like being physically on screen and not just a voice?
By the way my friend really fancied you as The Vision which is a little bit weird…
PB: That’s really odd…
PB: I’m gonna move over that one really quickly! It was lovely to finally be on set with a bunch of people that I’ve been supposedly working with for ten years but hadn’t really met so that was nice. It’s a double-edged sword. Initially my job was turning up at the end of the movie with the superhero power that if anything was unclear I could clarify just by talking and then it would take two hours and they’d give me a big bag of cash and then I would go home. I couldn’t imagine that the contract could even be better than that. But it was a dream. Honestly everybody was so welcoming. They’re a bunch of really, lovely, happy, well paid actors! That’s a nice environment to work in.
MR: You got a big bag of cash?
PB: Yeah I got a big bag of cash when I was doing the voice. It seemed like a big bag of cash to me!
Joss, could you clarify if the post credits sting featuring Spider-Man that is doing the rounds on the internet is a hoax or real?
JW: Yeah that’s not real. I don’t know where that started but it is not in fact part of the movie and I don’t know who came up with it. We wanted to be clear that there was no tag scene at the very end of the film because after sitting through forty minutes of credits and not seeing anything we thought that people would become irate!