I think it's always nice when actors and directors take time out from the whirlwind media blitz of movie promotion to talk to the small media outlets that don't traditionally get access to big name stars. Apparently, Avengers director Joss Whedon did just that, talking to a collection of college newspapers about The Avengers and filmmaking in general---
QUESTION:“The Avengers” is based on S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury trying to unite heroes with extraordinary powers and egos. Did you ever feel like Nick Fury, trying to bring the actors into a team concept, and how did you handle creative differences in this type of situation?
JW: I felt very much like Nick Fury. He’s the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., literally, and that puts him at a remove from everybody, even if he likes them. He knows he’s putting them in harm’s way. Hopefully I’m not putting my actors in harm’s way. Hopefully I’m not even making them uncomfortable, but I’m not nearly as intelligent or manipulative as Nick and I didn’t have as many problems because my actors actually wanted to be together. They enjoy each other. But you do feel that responsibility that you’ve got to get all of these people to give their best. For (Fury) it’s in battle, and for me it’s when we’re rolling, to really come up with their best stuff and play off each other as well as possible, and you have a great responsibility to service them with your camera at the same time.
So I definitely felt some of the pressure, but I can see out of my left eye.
QUESTION:Did you have any particular combination of super heroes that you thought were the most interesting to see interact?
JW: I love the Bruce Banner, Tony Stark relationship. Bruce Banner’s the first guy Tony Stark’s come across who operates on his level intellectually, who isn’t a villain. But I also love Tony and Steve (Captain America) and how much they can’t stand each other, and I’m very invested in Natasha and Hawkeye and their deep friendship, so, you know — oh — I love them all. I hate this question (laughs).
QUESTION:What advice would you give to any student with ambitions of one day sitting in the director’s chair?
JW: My advice would be (to) sit down. Now you’re in the director’s chair.
We live in an age where anybody can make a movie. If you have a phone, you can make a movie. OK, maybe not a huge movie, maybe phone-sized, but it’s there. When I came up, you wrote a script, and you hoped and hoped. Or you raised enough money to make a short film.
Things are different now and the best way to get your work out there — not just as an offering to somebody else to hope they’ll make it, but to show yourself as a filmmaker and to learn as a filmmaker — is just make movies.
There’s no excuse not to now.
QUESTION:If you were going to insert yourself into a super hero movie, what powers would you have?
JW: I would have the power of invisibility, and then I wouldn’t have to show up for as many shooting days.
QUESTION: College students have a lot of options this summer with movies to see during their breaks. Why should college students have it first on their list to see “The Avengers”?
JW: I think “The Avengers” is the kind of movie that I grew up wanting to make and thought they had stopped making.
When I grew up, the summer movie was, literally, created as a concept, and all my life I wanted to do something like that, something like the first “Indiana Jones,” something that was steeped in character, in love of the genre that it was portraying, had intelligence, had real acting, had a story that unfolded and wasn’t just a sort of big premise that you already knew going in.
More and more, summer movies have felt a little cynical. There are very big exceptions to that, but that has been the case when people throw so much money down.
They’re not interested in a story, they’re interested in just barraging you with excitement and imagery and brand names.
Marvel doesn’t operate that way. They care about the people. That’s why they hire some of the best actors in the business to play their heroes. This is an old-fashioned movie.
It’s a little bit bigger than life, but it’s very human.
The Avengers is an upcoming American superhero film produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. It is the sixth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is written and directed by Joss Whedon and features an ensemble cast, which includes Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson. In The Avengers, Nick Fury, director of the peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D., recruits Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America to save the world from destruction.
Development of The Avengers began when Marvel Studios received a grant from Merrill Lynch in April 2005. After the success of the film Iron Man in May 2008, Marvel announced that The Avengers would be released in July 2011. With the signing of Scarlett Johansson in March 2009, the film was pushed back for a 2012 release. Whedon was brought on board in April 2010 and rewrote the screenplay that was originally written by Zak Penn. Production began in April 2011 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before moving to Cleveland, Ohio in August 2011 and New York City in September 2011. The film was converted to 3D in post-production.
The Avengers is scheduled for release on May 4, 2012 in the United States in 2D and 3D.
Running Time: 2 hrs 22 minutes
Release Date: May 4 2012 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG 13 for for intense sequences of action and violence, some disturbing images, and language
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Cobie Smulders, Jeremy Renner, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgård, Mark Ruffalo, Amanda Righetti, Scarlett Johansson and Lou Ferrigno The Incredible Hulk (voice) .
Directed by: Joss Whedon
Written by: Zak Penn (initial screenplay), Joss Whedon (revised screenplay)