During a press conference in support of Avengers: Age of Ultron this weekend, we learned some interesting details about the making of the film, and how the sequel fits into Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Attendees also were shown the first trailer for Ant-Man in 3D, which Marvel released today. Here’s what we learned:
James Spader’s motion capture training began 15 minutes into filming.
In the sequel, James Spader plays Ultron, a terrifying technological villain bent on human extinction. Motion capture was used to portray the cyborg nemesis—which began only minutes into shooting Avengers: Age of Ultron. “I arrived in London and they had me put on this suit and all this gear. Within 15 minutes I was walking around the room, watching a formative stage of Ultron on a monitor right in front of me.”
Joss Whedon’s creative process begins with the characters.
“The thing that drew me back to the movie was the little moments between these characters that I hadn’t gotten to do yet,” said director Joss Whedon. “Where do they live? How can I get inside their hearts? What’s funny about them? Those are the moments I think about … that’s really the heart of the thing.”
Hawkeye and Hulk have larger roles in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
“I speak in this movie, which is awesome. I am part of the team, which is awesome,” said Jeremy Renner. Jokes aside, Renner explained that the sequel allowed him to dive into deeper aspects of Hawkeye’s personality, and he worked extensively with Whedon and Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios and Avengers: Age of Ultron producer, to mature his character. This was part of a greater overall plan for Phase Two. “As we put the Phase Two movies together, Joss liked the idea that Hulk and Hawkeye would be two characters that hadn’t gotten much exposure between the movies, because he said he had very big plans for the two of those characters in [Avengers: Age of Ultron],” said Feige.
One of Tony Stark’s new pieces of gear alludes to another beloved comic.
In one of the trailers for Avengers: Age of Ultron, we see Tony Stark using a new piece of gear for the Hulk that he calls “Veronica.” “You know, I just decided to call it Veronica because he used to be in love with a girl named Betty and Veronica is the opposite of that,” Whedon said, referring to Betty and Veronica from the Archie comic books. “I was always wondering about that, but I thought I was breaking some Marvel taboo by asking,” Ruffalo said.
Kevin Feige says the cast is “The greatest ensemble ever assembled in cinematic history.”
Phase One and Phase Two of the MCU has been a decade in the making, but Feige said that after the the first tease of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the post-credits of Iron Man, he did not expect the world to catch on as quickly as it did. “It’s daunting now because there are crushingly overwhelming expectations, but it’s incredible. We look down the line and the [Avengers] table keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s the greatest ensemble ever assembled in cinematic history and it’s amazing.”
Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron comes to theatres on May 1, 2015. Follow us on Instagram to see footage from the Red Carpet World Premiere tonight at 9:30 p.m. ET.