Disclaimer: I was invited by Disney motion pictures to attend a press event for Avengers: Age of Ultron, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Disnenature’s Monkey Kingdom. While I was a guest of Disney, all opinions and experiences are my own. #AvengersEvent #AgentsofSHIELD #MonkeyKingdom
There are few times for an online influencer when they get to experience something that may be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Being able to interview Oscar nominated Joss Whedon was one of those experiences for me. As a big TV and movie nerd, I very much enjoyed our intimate interview with Mr. Whedon. The creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and the screenplay for Toy Story, Joss Whedon is someone you would wish to share 20 minutes of great conversation. We were able to ask him about Avengers: Age of Ultron, his work ethic and what aspects of pop culture inspire him.
Since we were able to visit his brother Jeb Whedon at the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the first question was about if and when they sit and strategize about the show and the Avengers movies. Joss replied:
“Well, I just made a movie and he just had a baby, so not lately. We did when we were first starting out, but at some point this movie consumed me not unlike a whale.”
Throughout the interview, we were able to see how much energy and emotion Joss puts into his projects. There is a phenomenal scene within the first 10 minutes of the film, and we wanted to know how Joss was able to make that happen.
Q: You have that iconic shot of the Avengers jumping in slow motion which, I think all the fan boys and girls have gone wild over. Can you talk about how that came to be?
“That was the last shot we got finished. I wanted to create some frames that were just unabashedly comic book frames. That one took, you know, longer to create than anything else. It was important to me to have that right away, like first up in the movie. This is what you love. Are you having fun? Good. Now we’re going to tear it apart.”
Not to give anything away, but that first fight scene and that continuous shot is going to blow your mind. It’s a great set up for how we see the Avengers assembling (yes I said it), then going their separate ways within the action. You’re going to love it.
When asked if it was difficult to give all of the actors in the movie enough screen time, Joss unabashedly admits that it was. He also says that because each actor was usually featured in a scene with another actor it made thing a bit easier:
“What’s important is making everybody integral to this story and not just have it sort of be a roll call where it’s like, ‘and I’m also in the film’…The good thing (is) they worked so well against each other, so when you’re giving somebody their moment, it’s usually with somebody else. It’s usually playing against somebody else, either arguing with or having fun with or teaming up with so,…it creates its own little web, so it’s difficult. But it’s not Magnolia where you’re telling all these separate stories that are just vaguely intertwined. They’re doing some of that job for me. BY the way, if it was Magnolia, it would be the best movie ever made, but I can’t reach for the stars, people. I’m just a man.”
Insert my snort laugh here. A Magnolia reference in an interview. Classic.
Q: You’ve done so much to influence pop culture, but in doing so, who do you look to or who inspires you to reach further and to reach higher to make this entire universe and fulfilled vision the way you see it?
“I have a weird relationship with pop culture. I’ve never really been a part of it until I suddenly was. Most of my influences are a little left of center or very old. The directors that I look at when I’m thinking about a movie, usually are people like Vincente Minnelli or Sam Fuller. And it’s not just artists. It’s just the people in my own life, that I see working four times as hard as I ever can.”
“Those are the people that make me sit down and go, oh wait a minute, I can do better because ultimately, the only person who’s ever really going to inspire me to go further and do better is me. I have to sort of like gear up and I should actually have two chairs because at some point, I always do go, okay, you need to work harder, you need to do more, you need to be better. I’ll tell you who’s inspired me of late, is Lin-Manuel Miranda because seeing Hamilton at the Public Theatre was just such a breathtaking experience. And the amount of work that he did for six years to put that together, I just thought, oh, gotta bring up my game. There it is. The bar is higher again. Dammit.”
I wanted to inquire about my favorite fight scene in the movie, The Hulk versus The Hulkbuster, so I asked Joss a question:
Q: In the movie, we saw the introduction of the Hulkbuster, and one of the most epic Avenger versus Avenger battles I think we’ve ever seen. Were there any difficulties filming that?
“We had the thing mapped out very carefully, so it was, in a way, simpler because they weren’t like I need another (take). You shoot all of this stuff sort of with the faith that this will work physically and then the hard work comes up at ILM, where they’re dialing in this action you’ve described. In a way that looks human and believable, yet completely over the top. And the work they did with those guys and with the Hulk, in particular, who’s not just the Hulk there, but he’s angry even for the Hulk. He’s unhinged and it’s a different performance than he’s given before and the way they captured that, to me, was breathtaking. But it took a little time.”
Wow. Just wow. Our interview went even longer than this, but I don’t want to give away spoilers before Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters. Stay tuned for part two of the Joss Whedon interview, full of even more insider information and some the reasons behind a few of the most important scenes and events in the movie.
Avengers: Age of Ultron will be in theaters everywhere May 1!