We only have a couple of short months until Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1 and while Marvel will protect us from a lot of spoilers, director-writer-creative supernova Joss Whedon is letting us in on a few details about the process behind the gigantic sequel — but it’s more insight than plot. But it’s still a great interview by Empire, which was conducted back in April while the movie was still in production. Here are some of the highlights:
Whedon was still writing it during the shoot:
…This happened on the first one because I came in so late and it happened on this one because I am an idiot. I am a stupid. And so I have that to deal with, but it’s good because it makes me feel guilty about how late the script is when someone says, ‘What am I reacting to?’ and I say, ‘Something I wrote on another page that you haven’t seen yet, oops! It’s ok, I’m totally on top of this. I’m the leader of the whole movie!’
There’s a different feeling this time around because this time, he isn’t just “Joss Whedon, untested director of Firefly“, he’s “Joss Whedon, motherf*ckin’ director of The Avengers“:
…I’m having the best imaginable time. It’s feeding me in a way that it didn’t ever on the first one, and partially that’s because I didn’t allow it to. …The movie reflects better than anything I’ve ever made, and so visually there’s so much going on in terms of styles and templates and genres and locations, and ideas. …
The only reason you come to do this again after the kind of splash we made is because you think you can make a better movie. But what’s exciting to me is that I’ve been able to attack it really like a terrier, like a pitbull, like a crossbreed between a terrier and a pitbull, a Perrier, I guess you could say.
It’s totally going to be like another famous hit sequel:
I know I reference Godfather Part II a lot. ‘Don’t reference the greatest movie ever made because that’s Icarus, you moron!’ But at the same time it is a huge touchstone for me because you get everything you got from the first Godfather movie in a very different movie, in a movie that structurally couldn’t be more different, and thematically and in intent and in mood, and yet nobody ever goes, ‘It wasn’t Godfathery enough.’ …
…We see the early days, young Nick Fury in Sicily… I don’t know what the hell he’s doing in Sicily. ‘I can’t wait to see this 3D technology, all these amazing bifocals, and the things I can do with both of my eyes…’ It’s very poignant, actually.
He chose Ultron as the villain before the first Avengers movie and here’s why:
For me what was interesting is that he is this angry, and I hired the smoothest talker in Hollywood to play him. …I needed a guy who can give you the Morpheus but then can just LOSE HIS SHIT. … [I]t’s a guy who’s that angry and who hates the Avengers that much and is also a robot and is therefore going to have every issue that a robot’s going to have with humanity anyway… For me, he’s an iconic figure.
Joss Whedon, renowned scribe, also has a great way of saying that Ultron is solid, but out of his mind:
When Ultron speaks, he has a point. He is really not on top of the fact that the point he’s making has nothing to do with the fact that he’s banoonoos.
He also has an unpopular opinion about Spider-Man 3 while trying not to fall into its traps when it came to introducing Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver:
They’re already good to go by the time we’re up and running. You don’t want to fall into Spider-Man 3 territory -– and I say that as a guy who actually thinks pretty well of that movie, there’s some great stuff in that movie -– but there comes a point where you’re overloaded with frontstory, backstory, origin story and it becomes very hard to juggle. My instinct is always, ‘Don’t put in more, work with what you have.’
And he’s the most regretful about what happened with Hank Pym, the original creator of Ultron in the Marvel comics:
Edgar [Wright] had him first and by virtue of what Edgar was doing, there was no way for me to use him in this. I also thought it was a bridge too far. Ultron needs to be the brainchild of the Avengers, and in the world of the Avengers and the MCU, Tony Stark is that guy. Banner has elements of that guy – we don’t really think of him as being as irresponsible as Tony Stark, but the motherf*cker tested gamma radiation on himself, with really terrible, way-worse-than-Tony-Stark results.
What’s the takeaway from this excellent interview? Joss Whedon loves this movie. He’s never going to not have creative doubts, but that’s just him. Just ignore that and know the movie is going to be great.