Avengers Assemble – Press Interviews

What happens when you put Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlet Johanson and Robert Downey Jr in a room together?

This week saw the UK premiere of MARVEL AVENGERS ASSEMBLE. Movies.ie was present at the press conference interviews with most of the cast in attendance. Below you’ll find the exchange between the cast and the journalists in the room. We also have one on one interviews with the cast members this weekend which we’ll run on Movies.ie next week, stay tuned! 

There have been 500 issues of The Avengers comic books over 40 years, where do you start finding the story for the movie?

Kevin Feige: Part of putting this movie together was taking everything that existed in the movies that we had done and being faithful to the movies that we have already done, and at the same time, going back to the comics as well and making sure that we are faithful to everything in the comics. It is a bit of a challenge to find the right source material that will be the inspiration, but luckily Joss Whedon, our writer and director extraordinaire, is really really good at assimilating all of that material.


Why was Joss Whedon the right man to write and direct Avengers Assemble?

Jeremy Latcham: The best thing about Joss is, in all of his work – whether it is vampires with Buffy or outer space with Firefly – it is always the characters that rise above. If you look at the cast of this movie, we wanted them to shine more than the visual effects, more than the explosions, and Joss never loses sight of that. In fact, my favourite moments in this movie are the performances from the amazing cast.


Robert, did you get to keep the Black Sabbath tshirt you wore in the movie?

Robert Downey Jr: I walked off set with the tshirt, but I mislocated it. It’s like misremembering.


Robert, how do you feel about the journey that brought you to this point?

RDJ: From 5 years ago when we did the first Iron Man movie to today, it honestly couldn’t have gone any better. All three franchises that we have launched so far had to work. If this didn’t work then it effected all of the previous franchises extremely adversely, and there is also the potential for further frnachises based on how strongly people react to Jeremy [Renner – Hawkeye], Scarlett [Johannson – Black Widow] and Mark {Ruffalo – The Hulk]. I am not one of those people who is like ‘I don’t understand why everything has gone this well’, but this one instance in my life seems to be that situation.


What was your favourite fight move in the film?

Mark Ruffalo: There is just so many!

Chris Hemsworth: My favourite fight move is when you slam Loki repeatedly back and forth.

MR: That’s my favourite too… It’s Loki’s favourite as well.

Tom Hiddleston: Yeah. Mostly because some strange person called Tom had to do most of that as well – hurling myself into the air and throwing myself to the floor repeatedly. I must have looked like a lunatic… which kind of describes Loki quite accurately.

RDJ: Probably how I can fall out of buildings and survive with my tech! Because that fight move involves no-one but me and my stuff! [laughs]

Scarlet Johanson : My favourite fight move is probably the thigh grip

Jeremy Renner: When you are choked out by your thighs. That’s my favourite move. [laughs]

CH: Probably summoning the lightning and it cracking on the ground and the ripple effect it has on the earth, which we didn’t do in this film, but we did it in Thor.

Cobie Smulders: I like any time when Hawkeye is looking in one direction and shooting in the other.

Clark Gregg: Generally Agent Coulson’s arsenal consists of one thing, which is a snide retort, but in this movie he does what any sane human does when faced with this threat – he reaches for the largest gun you can possibly imagine.


Joss Whedon is known for creating strong female characters, is that something that came across during production?

CS: Joss was very hands on from the beginning in terms of creating the character, in terms of costuming, in terms of how long my bangs were going to be and that continued on set. He was very hands on with dialogue and always there for you.

SJ: When all of us first met Joss – he met with each of us individually to see what we wanted for our characters – and we did talk about my character’s plight and her dark past and all those things. Never did he say anything about my character’s gender. We never talked about it, and I think that exactly describes… I think Joss is gender blind in some way. He wants his female characters to be dynamic and competitive and assured and confident and it has nothing to do with anything other than the fact that he celebrates those strong female characters.


How much did the collaborative process continue while shooting?

TH: Yes, although I should say that the thing that was impressive to me about Joss was the incredible screenplay that he wrote. It is an achievement in itself as a filmmaker. His screenplay was simply phenomenal. I think all of us were not quite sure what to expect and it was the most extraordinary answer to the question of ‘how do you get all of these superheroes into one film?’ I take my hat off to him for that because I think that must have been the hardest job, and made directing it seem like a walk in the park… Maybe not a walk in the park. Maybe a light jog! [laughs] He was incredible to work with, and that is all you want as an actor, you want to collaborate. Everyone has a degree of ownership about the characters they play and he is very respectful of that possession and the fact that we have all lived under the skin of our characters for some time. He was constantly asking ‘does this feel right? Does this feel true to you? Is this in your voice?’ but most of the time I was just turning up and saying my very brilliant lines that he had written on my behalf.


Scarlett, how happy were you with the amount of action you had in this movie?

SJ: I think me and Renner and Tom spent the most time in the stunt gym, just because we have these huge choreographed sequences that are intense. We spent so much time in the stunt gym that we kind of built a family with those guys. It’s great fun to do it. It was great fun to do and it paid off in the end.


Scarlett and Jeremy, you are the only characters who do not have superpowers. Would you like superpowers?

SJ: We don’t want superpowers, we decided, we would rather be skilled because your superpowers can disappear.

JR: Yeah if Thor lost his hammer he could still kick my ass but at least I would have a fighting chance [laughs]

CH: I loved the fight scene between you guys. It was one of the most satisfying because it was grounded in the most reality. The incredibly choreographed hand to hand sequence was hugely impressive.

SJ: Thanks

CH: No worries

[All laugh]


There have been crossovers in comic books for years, but how do you create a crossover like this on screen?

KF: It stars with wanting to replicate the experience that comic readers have had for years and years. Joss recently described that his sense of editing and pacing actually came from reading panels and turning pages and every time you turn the page of a comic there was something new there was something else that caught your eye. His scene structure was every informed by that. For me it was reading the Marvel comics and not knowing who would appear in what because they all exist in the same universe. Obviously that hadn’t been done before but once we started making our own movies and we had the entire library, I thought ‘wouldn’t it be fun to start doing that.’ The Avengers as a comic wasn’t just cool because it was all of these different characters together, it was cool because all of these characters from different books that we had read and loved were now coming together. So we wanted to have all the individual movies first before we teamed up. It is all about trying to get that experience to as broad an audience as possible.


Did you look at the conversations online between fans about their expectations for the movie, or did you avoid them?

TH: One of the strange things about being in these films is that we are lucky enough to have a fan base. So often you make a film and you put your heart and soul into it and you really care about it and you think it is half decent. Then you ask if anyone wants to see it, and maybe nobody does. We are lucky that we already have people who love the characters as much – if not more – than we do. I find it sort of thrilling that there is a pre existing passion for the material. It really is a privilege to have people who care so much and, rather than being paralysed by a fear of what they might think, it is fun to deliver what you hope they might enjoy.

MR: I was overcome by a moment of very poor judgement early on, by going online and seeing the response to me coming on as Dr Banner [laughs] I won’t do that again [laughs] It wasn’t glowing, and I found the fans exuberant passion to be very very brutal. I hope we have amended that.


Mark, what drew you to the character of Bruce Banner in the first place?

MR: As a kid I was a Hulk fan and I was a particular fan of the TV show. There is also the added element where people think that actors seek out material, but it more a matter of us being given something and I was offered Banner. I talked to Joss Whedon about it and he said it wanted to return to the Bill Bixby world-weary charm of a man who is on the run but still trying to live his life and having a sense of humour about himself. I liked that, but I also liked the idea that I would be the first actor to play both Banner and the Hulk. That was probably the most exciting thing to me. The one thing that we enjoy now is that technology has brought us to a place where an actor can play the Hulk and doing both of those things… I loved Joss’s take on it, but I also loved the idea of getting to bust out the big, green rage machine.


How did you create the Hulk?

MR: It was motion capture and yes there was the element of wearing a leotard that reduced me to a Chinese checker board, but other than that it was a very involved process. We did all the motion capture before we shot the movie, we did it while we were shooting the movie and then we did it after. It was a very intensive process, but I was by myself most of the rime… [Turns to Tom Hiddleston] Which was lonely [laughs] In a leotard that makes all the wrong places look big and all the right places look small.


Was it difficult to make a movie suitable for kids with the word ‘quim’ in it?

KF: Well there are not a lot of people on the set, and not a lot of people in the United States that know the translation of that word. Apparently a lot of people over here do, but not everybody does. It is used in a very family friendly context. Just don’t go to the dictionary [laughs]


Why was the name of the film changed in the UK and Ireland?

KF: We wanted to be nice to our fans here and give them another word [laughs] Decisions like that are not made lightly and there is a lot of market research and lawyers and that kind of thing. That determination was to have the additional word.

Words – Brogen Hayes

MARVEL AVENGERS ASSEMBLE hits Irish cinemas on April 26th 

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