AVENGERS PRESS JUNKET: DDR, Man Soup, and Stroking Hawkeye’s Bow

Get ready for May 4th cause the Fourth is strong with The Avengers.

Greetings readers! Sabina AKA Wicked Phoenix here, sending her first transmission for Defective Geeks! A couple weeks ago, I got invited to The Avengers press junket and after writing my feature for Campus Circle, I found that there was so much material to share and geek out over with y’all.

Where to begin?

Ah-yes Robert Downey Jr. That man is Tony Stark or is Tony Stark just an extension or RDJ? He totally pulled an “I am Iron Man” moment when he announced, “Yeah, and not to keep you guessing, but we’re actually not done shooting. We are shooting one more scene tonight. Not kidding.”

That’s not exactly a spoiler, but since the premiere cut of the Avengers clocked in at roughly two-hours and a half, this news definitely a surprise to hear. During the second panel Joss was asked if Robert was kidding and he replied, “He’s Robert.  Of course, he’s kidding.”  (But apparently-NOT.  Many other news sources have confirmed that they did shoot an additional scene.)

The Avengers press conference was filled with a lot of great comedic camaraderie from the cast, you could tell these people are friends off set just due to the hilarious behind-the-scenes stories they shared.

Like this particular bit about recreational super-hero activities:

Chris Hemsworth: Chris (Evans) sent us a text that said: AVENGERS ASSEMBLE at such and such bar at nine o’clock on a Saturday night, which that was kind of– that was good group effort. We paid for it at work the next couple days.

Chris Evans: Sure did.

C.H.: Three in the morning on the dance floor, The Avengers… yeah

Robert Downey Jr.: Weren’t you—(Ruffalo), weren’t you the one throwing the roof parties and the– you know what I mean?

Mark Ruffalo: Yeah, I– I, uh, yeah, that was me.

And what sort of shenanigans were the Avengers up to at their get-togethers?

M.R.: We wrestled and I just remember, uh, coming into someone’s place with a, uh, a group of half-naked stunt men in a hot tub, and Scarlett Johansson standing over them with a giant ladle, making boy soup.

Clark Gregg: There’s an Avengers edition of Dance, Dance Revolution

Tom Hiddleston: Dance, Dance Revolution at Jeremy’s house…

Joss Whedon: Which you were very good at.

T.H.: I was. Scarlett and I will always have Billy Jean.

J.W.: Nobody lambada’s like Loki.

Could you imagine? Damn to be at one of those parties? If only we could switch places with someone with the cast for a day. This leads me to the particularly funny tid-bit that occurred when Sam Jackson was asked which Avenger he could switch roles with:

SLJ: Um, I want to be Scarlett. I just want to be that cute for like 15 minutes.

There was a lot of great insight from the cast about their characters. They shared tales of the sort of backstory that went past what we will get to see onscreen as well their feelings about the roles they play. As Captain America, Chris Evans gets to be seen playing the “straight man” for once as opposed to the jokester he usually plays in other projects.

C.E.: That’s his role. It’s necessary, and that’s kind of why I like it ’cause I am used to kind of leaning on cracking jokes and being a wise ass. So it’s nice to kind of play it straight a little bit.  I think even in this film more than the first Captain America, he, Steve Rogers has some issues, some conflict, some trouble given the fact that he is, you know, a man out of his time. But given who he is as a man, his nature, he puts that second. He puts the mission first, and he’s just selfless. That’s, you know, that’s a fun character I guess.

It is good to note before going into the Avengers, that Tony Stark’s character is basically the complete opposite of Rogers. He is a man of the modern age with a different set of morals than The Cap. Here’s what RDJ had to say about playing Stark and what he liked about his character.

RDJ: He didn’t really set out to do anything noble, so he’s kind of in transition. And so there’s something kind of a little more Han Solo than Luke. And also the fact that he can pull off wearing a Black Sabbath tee shirt for the better part of the film.

Chris Hemsworth was asked about his characterization of Thor and whether he drew from real life relationships for the conflict between the Asgardian brothers.

CH:  Yeah, the last time either one of my brothers tried to take over the world,  you know, or the universe– I had to think back and wonder,  “how did I feel?” When we did Thor, you know, Kenneth Branagh kept saying, “let’s not get caught up in playing Gods or what have you. Let’s be truthful, you have brothers and how do you relate to that?” And that became the thread through Thor and through this, which was that kind of thing of, “Oh, I can give my brother a hard time and tell him off. But no one else can.”

To which RDJ interjected:

RDJ: But don’t you feel that Liam is trying to take over your box office universe?

CH: And I did say that. I said, look, Liam, you know-

RDJ: Doesn’t he need to be corrected in some way?

CH: Oh he’s got a few bruises currently from that.

Though those remarks were hilarious improv banter from RDJ and Hemsworth, I will point out that Liam is currently kicking Chris’ ass at the box office. The Hunger Games beat out Cabin in the Woods on its opening weekend which is an entire other outrage blog in itself. (Along with John Carter, Cabin is a gem people are overlooking!)

And now for some Joss wisdom about what separates a good comic book adaptation from a bad one.

JW: You know, it’s capturing the essence of the comic and being true to what’s wonderful about it, while remembering that it’s a movie and not a comic.  I think Spiderman, the first one particularly, really captured, you know, they figured out the formula of tell the story that they told in the comic.  It was compelling, that’s why it’s iconic, but at the same time they did certain things that only a movie can do and, um, were in the vein of the comic. I think you see things like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, where they just threw out the comic, or the Watchmen, where they do it frame for frame, and neither of them work.  Um, you have to, you have to give the spirit of the thing and then step away from that, and create something cinematic and new.


And what advice did he have for the WB in regards to a Justice League movie?

JW: Call me.

The entire press room burst into laughter, classic Whedon wit.

J.W.: Honestly, I would just say it’s enormously difficult to take very disparate characters and, and make them work. DC has a harder time of it, than Marvel, because their characters are an old, a bygone era where characters were bigger than we were.  And they’ve, they’ve amended that, but Marvel really cracked the code in terms of “Oh, they’re just like us”.

Still with me? There’s just so much I want to geek out over with you guys!  Here some of the cast’s memorable moments while working on the movie:

Jeremy Renner: It’s when, when everybody was together.  That’s the most memorable, and creepy, and funny and, um, yeah, getting to play with Thor’s hammer while he stroked my bow.

C.G.: I’m gonna say it was the day I got the script, just because I felt like this was not an achievable task as someone who, who writes sometimes and, and loves movies and watches a lot of them.  I just didn’t think it was really feasible to have this many characters and have them all get to kind of move forward and to have the story of them kind of coming together really work. And if it did work with that many amazing superheroes and movie stars, I felt it unlikely that Agent Coulson would do anything but bring some super coffee to somebody.  So when I, when I read it and kind of saw that it was my fan boy wet dream of an Avengers script and that Coulson was a big part of it, that was, that was the great day for me.   I just kind of drove around the streets with the script in the other seat, just kind of giggling.

T.H.:  For me- there are so many things that are memorable about it because it was such a long shoot, it was the whole summer for all of us and we had so many different experiences together and it was an amazing time for me to work with some of the greatest actors in the world, sitting at this table. There’s an image in my mind, um, which was the first day on set that everybody was there together, um, and it was sort of, it was insane.  The picture of everybody in costume, of all of these actors and all of these characters in their chain mail and their capes and their armor and, except for Mark Ruffalo in his, um, grey and white pajamas in the back.  Um, but to see everybody finally assembled, it was an extraordinary moment  just the picture of, of the Avengers. It was amazing.


JW: I don’t remember any of it. You know, mine is super boring, but people kept asking me are you excited that you’re directing this movie?  And I kept saying, “I will be”.  You know, I don’t feel things necessarily in the moment.  It’ll happen.  We were in the lab where almost all of the Avengers get together for the first time and I was giving  Chris Evans a piece of direction– I walked into the hall and I stopped and I just said to the producers, “It happened.  I’ll tell you later.” And that was the moment, just, you know, it just sort of flooded over me and I was like “Oh, that’s nice – excitement” That was it.  I told you it was dull.

Cobie Smulders: I was very much a newbie coming in and when I got to do a scene where most of them– I don’t think Jeremy was there, but when I got to see everybody sitting at the table for the first time and I got to kind of stand back and see everybody.  I also loved any moment I, I got to work with Joss because I’ve been wanting to work with him for a very long time.

RDJ: There’s 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.

And they did! The amount of dedication and teamwork that went into making the mother of all superhero movies will pay off. We got lucky that the cast was as excited making the movie as we are to see it. In the words of Windu:

SLJ: And it’s almost like an “our gang” movie.  You know, “Hey, I’ve got some costumes”,”I’ve got some film”.“ My dad’s got a studio. Let’s get together” And we just decided, you know, it was like we’re gonna have fun.  The family feeling was there. Um, Joss set up the rules, and we showed up.  So it was a great time doing that and being able to be in that space and allowing an audience to see that, okay, these guys have super powers. But they have normal kind of attitudes. You know, they get pissed with each other. And they argue about petty shit. And, you know, they can be smart asses, and they can be heroes. And they can just be jerks. But they eventually are gonna find a way to love each other. And thank God, you know, we had somebody there to guide us in that direction.


CH: The dysfunctional family- (As Joss told him) “We somehow belong in amongst the fact that we don’t belong anywhere else.”

I know that Whedon nugget of wisdom totally will hit home for anyone who has felt like they didn’t belong but then found a group of people who felt the same way. I, for one, can definitely relate to this sentiment. Up until a few months ago, I only knew a handful of people with similar fandoms and now thanks to social media I am finding more like minded friends to geek out with-like you!

See ya at the Midnight Screening!


Follow Wicked Phoenix on Twitter @Wicked_Phoenix

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