The Avengers the film needs no introduction, and that’s mainly because The Avengers themselves need no introduction. A dream team of superheroes and superallies, The Avengers first appeared in the Marvel universe in 1963, so for fans of the mighty band of heroes, a big screen cinematic adaptation that would do justice to the justice-doers has been a long-held wish. With Marvel Studios churning out blockbusters for eventual Avengers like Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Hulk in recent years, it was only a matter of time before that wish was granted and the heroes united for one massive film outing. It goes without saying that Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers is already a big hit here at FSR (our own Cole Abaius called it “Marvel’s mightiest movie” in his review), and we’re all anxious to see what movie-going audiences think of it.
To whet your palate for the inevitable Avengers bonanza, here are 12 things that we learned at The Avengers press conference (spoiler-free if you’ve seen a trailer or two!). The event featured a massive gathering of Avengers and pals, including Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man/Tony Stark), Chris Hemwsorth (Thor), Chris Evans (Captain America/Steve Rogers), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk/Bruce Banner), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Kevin Feige (Marvel President), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye/Clint Barton),Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson), Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill), and Joss Whedon (writer and director). Check it out after the break!
1. Most of the cast first felt that they were a part of something big (and likely to be huge) when they finally saw each other in costume and, forgive me, assembled. Robert Downey, Jr. said that the most memorable moment for him was “the first time that we’re all assembled on the bridge, and I think it was the time that we all saw each other and realized that we were probably likely to continue shooting the movie and have to make good on this vision.” Evans had a similar experience, pointing to “the scene where Thor and Iron Man are fighting, and I had just seen Thor the day prior. And I’d yet to see [Chris] Hemsworth or Downey in their full suit, and I showed up that night, and it was the first time I saw them both kind of geared up…I just got really excited. I felt like a little kid. I was just honored to be a part of it.”
2. Joss Whedon told Mark Ruffalo that he was a fan of Bill Bixby’s work on The Incredible Hulk television show, so Ruffalo based a lot of his work on that – and another unexpected character. Ruffalo explained that he “rented [the series] with my ten-year-old son. And after the the third episode, he turned to me and said, ‘Papa, he’s so misunderstood.’ And, you know, I basically based my character entirely on my ten-year-old boy, who has all of the force of nature, like, screaming out of his body while at the same time having everyone around him telling him to fucking control himself.”
3. Whedon wanted to capture the “essence” of the comics while still doing his own thing.
4. Downey has been prepping in some way or another for The Avengers since he was first cast as Iron Man in 2007. Downey said, “going back to 2007 when I was cast in Iron Man and Kevin Feige…said, you know, ‘this is all going to lead to where we’re going to have all of these franchises come together. And, we’re gonna do something unprecedented in entertainment. And we’re gonna make this Avengers movie.’ And I just remember, I would get nervous about it and excited about it and doubtful of it.”
5. Yet Feige confesses that he’s been working on this film for significantly longer. When asked how long he’s really been working on the film, Feige shared, “well, one answer is my whole life just ’cause I’ve been a nerd my whole life and wanted to see this movie made for my whole life. The real answer though is sort of towards the end of production of Iron Man when Sam was gracious enough to spend three hours on a Saturday to come and break into Tony Stark’s house wearing an eye patch and tell him and the world that ‘you’re part of bigger universe. You just don’t know it yet.’ And when that movie succeeded is when we realized, wait a minute, we actually have the opportunity to do it.”
6. The Avengers are a dysfunctional family. Hemsworth shared Whedon’s vision, saying “Joss said it early on – the dysfunctional family, and we somehow belong in amongst the fact that we don’t belong anywhere else.”
7. Clark Gregg was pleased to see what Whedon had written for his Agent Coulson – even calling it a “fanboy wet dream.”
8. It took Whedon awhile to fully grasp his excitement at making the film. The fan favorite explained, “people kept asking me, ‘are you excited that you’re directing this movie?’ And I kept saying, ‘I will be.’ You know, I just…I don’t feel things necessarily in the moment. It’ll happen. And we were in the lab where all of the Avengers, almost all of the Avengers get together for the first time and, and I was giving Chris Evans a piece of direction and, I walked into the hall and I stopped and I just said to the producers, ‘it happened. I’ll tell you later.’”
9. Whedon had to let go of some real world basics in making the film, like the laws of phsyics. The writer and director said, “I think sometimes I would try to obey the laws of physics, and that would actually just make for weaker footage, and eventually I just had to give myself up and realize that, you know, every time a car is hit by anything, it blows up and flips over. A hamster could hit it and BOOM.”
10. It could take up to two hours for Tom Hiddleston to get into Loki’s armor.
11. Whedon viewed Captain America as “ground zero” for The Avengers.
12. Feige’s confidence in Whedon’s abilities to make the film work stemmed from his believe that Whedon was truly the best choice. Feige shared, “my big fear with this…really one of the only big fears I had was that the whole thing would collapse under its own weight that – that we’d spend so much time with costumes and super powers and special effects that these characters and these actors wouldn’t get the chance to–my biggest interest in the Avengers is the interaction between these people. And looking at Joss’s body of work and the scripts that he’s written and his TV shows, the characters never ever get lost. In fact, those are the moments that shine. That was, to me, why he was by far the best choice to mount this. We’re confident in our ability to handle a production of this size. We want a helmsman to come in and steer it in unexpected ways, and to guide that tone, which is what Joss has done so well.”
The Avengers opens this Friday, May 4.