If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time — like, five minutes, or even just one of my social media bios — you will see my hardcore devotion to all-things-Marvel. I have loved Marvel movies and characters, especially Thor, forever. I can quote Marvel stats with the best and if we get to talking, I may just throw in a few Marvel lines. Maybe, if we were to watch a Marvel movie together, you may end up giving me The Glare…you know, the one you give the person who quotes the movie along with the actors. I can’t help it. I AM MIGHTY! (And I watch all these movies a ridiculous amount of times.)
When I was given the opportunity to attend the press junket for Avengers: Age of Ultron, I think I stopped breathing for a minute..or two. It’s not my first press junket and I live in California, so seeing celebrities isn’t something new, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t get excited at amazing opportunities like this. I don’t get all fangirl — this is business, so professionalism always wins out — but inside, don’t think I’m not doing a little OMG at being in the same room with the real live Avengers.
In attendance were the following cast members of Age of Ultron:
- Robert Downey Jr (“Iron Man”)
- Scarlett Johansson (“Black Widow”)
- Chris Evans (“Captain America”)
- Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”)
- Mark Ruffalo (“The Hulk”)
- Jeremy Renner (“Hawkeye”)
- Cobie Smulders (“Maria Hill”)
- Aaron Taylor Johnson (“Quicksilver”)
- Elizabeth Olsen (“Scarlett Witch”)
- James Spader (“Ultron”)
- Paul Bettany (“Vision”)
- Joss Whedon (Director)
- Kevin Feige (Producer)
All that talent in one room! The junket was due to start at 2:oopm, and as the clock approached that time, the energy in the room turned into an audible buzz, with everyone wanting to remain calm and unaffected, but the reality seemed like anything but. Each time a door opened, heads turned and sounds ceased, and when the cast really did walk in, it was a wall of flashes and snaps as the photographs started.
Someone asked me which star got the most attention, assuming it would be Robert Downey, Jr. She was surprised to hear that Joss Whedon, the director of Age of Ultron, got the most questions, but let’s get real, as adorable as RDJ is, Joss Whedon made the Avengers movies.
One question from the interview stood out to me as indicative of the process of making this movie. The response by Joss Whedon, shown below, gives you an idea of the setting and the love put into it.
Question: What were the biggest challenges that you faced putting together the story and then shooting the film? What were the things that surprised you on your journey?
Joss Whedon: There’s like 47 of these people. I really didn’t think that through, and I regret very much doing this at all. You know, it’s just making sure that everybody’s, you know, got their moment, that everybody’s got their through-line, that it’s connected to the movie. I have all these people. I love all these people. They’re extraordinary. But making sure that they’re not just all being served, but all within the same narrative structure, that they’re in the same movie, that it’s all connected to the main theme. At some point during the editing process, I could not have told you who they were, who I was, what movie I was making, I got so lost in it. But I think it all came together, and you know, it’s just about making these guys look good, which takes a long time.
And of course, with the help of Kevin Feige, the skilled producer who showed us the Ant Man trailer before it was out for public viewing. (GO SEE IT.)
I did tell my friend that RDJ still ended up stealing the show, declaring briefly after the start of the interview that the next time a press conference started and he wasn’t asked the first question, he was walking out. Immediate laughter, of course, as well as the solid assurance of where Tony Stark gets some of his confident but completely lovable arrogance. You know, the billionaire playboy philanthropist and all, with just a peppering of LANGUAGE, but you’ll have to see Age of Ultron to get that reference.
With all the star power appearing at once, it was hard to know where to look. Smiles, laughter, stoicism, interest in the audience and mischief — our cameras needed a wide-angle lens to take it all in. While we were listening to one actor answer a question, another one or two were reacting in a way that screamed photo opp. While RDJ’s personality is commanding, the playful relationship between Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans was magnetic; I was listening to everyone who spoke but didn’t want to miss Chris Evans trying to contain his laughter over whatever those who had found funny. We never did learn what it was, but it was clear that those two get along well.
Don’t these two look like trouble?
A funny moment in the interview — another funny moment, I should say, as they frequently jumped in on each others’ questions and were so witty — was when Jeremy Renner was asked how it felt for his character to be more prevalent in this movie. His response got a lot of laughter. “I’m assuming – have we seen the movie? Can we talk about – I feel like I can’t talk about anything. I feel like I’m going to get shot if I talk. Well, I speak in this movie, which is awesome, and I become part of the team, which is awesome.”
In fact, the camaraderie amongst the entire team was obvious, and as Elizabeth Olsen stated when asked about having worked with Aaron Taylor-Johnson before on Godzilla, they are a tight knit group and I could see how it would be intimidating to be a new member of this amazing team who had been working together prior. (Her response, more fully: “I mean, it’s kind of intimidating joining this group, so like, I got to do it with Aaron, by my side.”)
Speaking of Elizabeth Olsen, she is nothing short of gorgeous and she is a welcome addition to the Avengers team. Cobie Smulders and Scarlett Johannson and Olsen make up a beautiful trio of distinctly different and unique yet powerful ladies who all lend a special impact to the Age of Ultron movie in their own way.
Aren’t they beautiful? Scarlett shared some of the challenges of filming her “badass” stunts as she was very pregnant during filming, which made the motorcycle scene particularly difficult, but with the magic of editing, she pulls it off perfectly believable. “I’m always picking up after you boys!”
Adding Quicksilver to the mix, along with Vision, rounds out the cast in a way that just adds to the character development that isn’t apparent in prior Avengers movie.
I’ll cover that all more in depth in my movie review later this week, but suffice it to say, this cast is as cohesive out of character as in character and getting to know them during the brief interview made us all love them even more. And Paul Bettany is one tall drink of water. I was starting out a door as he walked in and actually said ‘excuse me’ to me. I die.
You people are so petty! And tiny! Okay, back to the press conference…you can’t go anywhere or watch anything this week without hearing or seeing references to the Avengers. With a record breaking opening expected, and already occurring in the international market, watching these guys, and ladies, you wouldn’t know just how big they really are, for lack of a better way to put it. Robert Downey Jr. is just a joy to watch, and is as happy and authentic a celebrity as I’ve seen. (And I’ve lived in California for a very long time.) You pick up a feeling from him that he’s a genuinely happy person who loves what he does, from the acting to the interviews. The interplay between them all was humorous and enjoyable and spoke volumes about why the movies come together so well, and when the real Ultron is sitting right spitting difference in front of you, that’s not an easy thing to attain. (“If it was easy, everyone would do it.” Which movie is that from?) James Spader, wow.
I remember him from Less Than Zero, an ’80s movie filmed with Robert Downey, Jr., and the two obviously are still close. I was lucky enough to snap a couple of photos of their embrace after the interview. These are two guys that have gone a long way together and being an ’80s kid, it was pretty neat to see them now as adults with amazing histories.
I would be remiss if I didn’t specifically mention Mark Ruffalo. Those eyes. He’s as sweet and appealing as the Hulk, in a non-scary kind of way, and while he seems to be the quiet one, I’m pretty sure that’s just from a distance. Hulk smash!
He was witty and sweet and this picture of him and Chris Hemsworth says it all. (Puny god. Not really — when he came into the room, you can’t help but notice, he’s SO TALL.)
From a person who has a a Thor hammer keychain, a Thor phone background, coffee mug, poster over the treadmill, desk items, notebooks and too many wardrobe items to count, in addition to Marvel t-shirts, ringtones and everything else, it was a treat like no other to have attended the press conference. I was lucky and was front row, but let’s be honest — there is no bad seat in the house when the Avengers are your entertainment.
One last gratuitous Thor photo. Those eyes. If you are obsessed with Thor, as I am, you now where to find me. I have a ton more photos. Tons. When Chris was asked which superhero was his favorite growing up, he had a great answer: “I mean, Superman was probably the only film they’d made, I think, back when I was growing up. You know, that was the one that sticks out for me. There wasn’t really – you know, Iron Man hadn’t been created yet, or Captain America, or Hulk, or Black Widow or Vision, everyone on this table.” Thor, you are my favorite superhero…..