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Avengers Actors Talk Age of Ultron

April 24, 2015

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By: Lynn Barker

In Avengers: Age of Ultron Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) tries to ease the burden of world-saving on himself and his fellow heroes by creating an artificial intelligence peace-keeper named Ultron (voiced by James Spader) whose warped logic sees Mankind as the enemy he wants to destroy. All the Avengers have to fight their own inner demons as well as kicking Ultron’s butt and this makes for a more complex film than Avengers 1.

Avengers assemble!Avengers assemble!Courtesy of Marvel

Gathering in Los Angeles, the cast had a few things to say about both new and established characters. To keep these guys straight, here is who plays who: Mark Ruffalo “The Hulk”, Scarlett JohanssonBlack Widow”, Chris Evans “Captain America”, Chris HemsworthThor”, Jeremy Renner “Hawkeye”, Cobie Smulders “Maria Hill”, Aaron Taylor Johnson “Quicksilver”, Elizabeth OlsenScarlet Witch”, James Spader “Ultron” and Paul Bettany “Vision”.

Q: Cobie, Maria Hill ties everything together from The Avengers, the other films and the TV show. Talk about where we see her now and what kind of Maria Hill you wanted the audiences to see in “Age of Ultron”?

  • Cobie Smulders: Well Maria is now under the employment of Tony Stark. She’s now working with him to privatize security. It’s very fun being a thread that’s able to tie the TV show and the movies together but she’s got a bigger job now. She’s working with Tony and she doesn’t have SHIELD at her disposal anymore so it’s a much more difficult job.

Cobie Smulders as Maria HillCobie Smulders as Maria HillCourtesy of Marvel

Q: Paul, what is it like now to be more than just a voice?

  • Paul Bettany: The main difference is I have to show up (laughter). The great thing is being able to work with all these incredible creative and talented people, but I now have to show up at junkets. So everything is a double-edged sword.

Vision (Paul Bettany)Vision (Paul Bettany)Courtesy of Marvel

Q: Elizabeth and Aaron, you guys have worked together before (in Godzilla) and the chemistry between the twins is so important to have an emotional impact. Was the fact that you had worked together previously an advantage or an additional challenge to making their relationship work so well in the film?

  • Elizabeth Olsen: I think it’s only a benefit. Aaron and I didn’t work that much on Godzilla together (she was in San Francisco and his character was trying to get to her for most of the film) and it’s kind of intimidating joining this group but I got to do it with Aaron by my side.
  • Aaron Taylor Johnson: It was comforting to know that stepping on set in such a big ensemble that you kind of had someone to feel comfortable with.

Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver in a quiet momentScarlett Witch and Quicksilver in a quiet momentCourtesy of Marvel

Q: Robert, we get to see a lot of sides to Tony Stark in that he creates Ultron and has to take care of Hulk. Did you have these things in mind when you were playing the part?

  • Robert Downey Jr.: I read Joss’ script and said I wish this was great. Kevin (the producer) said, “You never say that, you can’t mean that.” I said, “Yeah, I think it’s great, let’s go shoot it.” I really thought it was a Swiss watch to begin with and Joss created a lot of new situations for Tony to be in so rather than dig in my heels and try to rewrite every scene to make them even better, I just showed up and it turned out great.

Dr. Bruce Banner (Hulk) with Tony StarkDr. Bruce Banner (Hulk) with Tony StarkCourtesy of Marvel

Q: James, I really enjoyed your performance in the film and was wondering if you could talk about doing the motion capture and how you were really able to bring life to this killer robot Ultron?

  • James Spader: I really didn’t have any idea what was happening. I really was just trying to hold on and stay on the train that was moving very quickly. I will say this, I arrived in London and within the first half hour, I put on this suit and all the gear and I went through the motions and then within 15 minutes, I was watching me walk around a big room and doing this and that and watching Ultron, or a stage of Ultron, on a monitor in front of me.

Ultron (voice of James Spader)Ultron (voice of James Spader)Courtesy of Marvel

Q: That must have been quite a ride!

  • James: Yeah. It started right there and then the next day, I was on set shooting a scene with Scarlett. That pace was what it was the whole time and luckily I had had some conversations with Joss and one fantastic meal with a whole bunch of wine to figure out who this guy was and that really was it: just trying to hold on.

Q: Robert, James and Chris Hemsworth, growing up, who was your favorite superhero and why?

  • Chris Hemsworth: Superman was probably the film I liked when I was growing up and that sticks out for me. Iron Man hadn’t been created on film yet or Captain America or Hulk or Black Widow hadn’t been created (on film) yet. Had Captain America been created, that or Captain Australia (laughter) that would have been it.
  • Chris Evans: So had Captain America been out...
  • Chris Hemsworth: It would (still) have been Captain Australia. (laughter).
  • James: Growing up, I didn’t have any comic books at all but my friend Will had a trunk full of them. So comic books were like candy to me. I’d go over to his house for a sleepover and I would be just devouring everything that I could get my hands on. Everything and anything. I’d devour whatever I could get my hands on because the sleepover was gonna be over and I was gonna go back to my house and it was gonna be (reading) Kipling.  

Captain America and Thor survey battle damageCaptain America and Thor survey battle damageCourtesy of Marvel

Q: Jeremy, there were a lot of Hawkeye fans that felt a little shortchanged with the first Avengers because he didn’t get as much attention but here we see a greater emphasis on him. Talk about that.

  • Jeremy Renner: I speak (actually have lines) in this movie, which is awesome. I’m part of the team, which is awesome. There are lots of killer aspects that are awesome. When I was sitting down with Joss (Whedon, the director) back in the day talking about why I liked him and wanted to play Hawkeye, I didn’t understand what these gentlemen do, I don’t have that creative of a mind, but I understand Hawkeye. He’s a human with a certain skill set and I could tap into that and I felt like I got to explore a little bit beyond the skill set and learn that he was really endearing and thoughtful and kind of secret that and I’m excited to see what you think.

Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) in actionHawkeye (Jeremy Renner) in actionCourtesy of Marvel

Q: Scarlett, we’ve seen Black Widow evolve but we see her role in the cinematic universe is expanding too and we see her play such a significant role in Age of Ultron. Where do you see Black Widow going from here?

  • Scarlett Johannson: I think that at the beginning of Avengers 2, there’s some sense, finally, of their becoming some kind of normal in a way. There’s a well-oiled machine where the introductions are over and we’re at work and digging our heels in and at the end of Avengers 2, I think Widow has let her guard down and is hopeful. She had this moment of false hope where she thought she put in the work and there should be some personal payoff and she was ready to accept it but she realizes that her calling is a greater one and that’s not something that she’s necessarily thrilled about, but that’s what’s most heroic about her. She’s accepting the call of duty at her personal loss.
  • I think that’s an interesting place to leave her because there’s many different directions to go. Is she going to be able to withstand this huge weight that’s bearing down on her or is she gonna crack under it and crumble not being able to take this huge personal hit that she does? I guess we’ll have to wait and see, right?

Black widow (Scarlett) in actionBlack widow (Scarlett) in actionCourtesy of Marvel

Q: Yes. Scarlett, can you talk about the physical preparation that went into the role. Were you a proficient motorcycle rider already?

  • Scarlett: I don’t think you’re allowed to ride a motorcycle when you’re still pregnant, but I did. I did all the motorcycle stuff. I embarrassingly rode a kind of mechanical bull motorcycle which goes nowhere and it doesn’t look cool at all. But we had some very professional and amazing motocross work being done that makes Black Widow look like a total badass.
  • I’m very fortunate that there’s a team around me that’s very supportive in helping all of Widow’s fight moves and badass motorcycle riding happen. I could not do that without that part of it. Starting a move and finishing a move and all that work being seamless takes a lot of choreography and team spirit. Every film is exciting because I get new tools and new fun stuff to do and luckily Joss writes me some moves that make me look epic and it’s awesome. I just said epic, badass and awesome all in one sentence.(laughter).

Tony Stark in his labTony Stark in his labCourtesy of Marvel

Q: Mark, one of the great things about Dr. Banner is we see so much of him in Hulk but he feels like such a distinct character from Hulk at the same time. Talk a little about the evolution of Banner in this film and the Bruce you wanted audiences of Age of Ultron to see?

  • Mark Ruffalo:  I was helped out by the fact that I’m green and huge to help me with the distinction between the two characters so I can’t take full credit for that. Except for the accent maybe. (laughter). I was always wondering that but I felt like it would be a Marvel taboo if I asked. We have a Marvel app on our cellphones and if you say something wrong, it literally shocks you.
  • All the actors look at each other… it does!??

Avengers: Age of Ultron PosterAvengers: Age of Ultron PosterCourtesy of Marvel

Avengers: Age of Ultron is in theaters May 1st, 2015!