Posted on Saturday, July 26th, 2014 by Russ Fischer
Paul Bettany took the stage with the rest of the Avengers: Age of Ultron cast today during Marvel’s panel in Hall H. But we didn’t see any significant shots of the character in the footage preview, and Bettany had little to say during the panel that lets us know what to expect from Vision. So all we’ve got on the character is that concept art shot above, and that ain’t much.
Today I took part in a small roundtable interview with Bettany, and there he dropped more than a few hints about how the character behaves in the film, and what we can expect from him in the context of action scenes. The best note? One of the character’s best powers is intact.
Here’s a selected set of questions put to Bettany from me and a few other editors, and his cagey but occasionally revealing answers:
First up: how did he end up playing Vision, after already having had a significant role in several Marvel films?
For a long while I discovered, having playing J.A.R.V.I.S., I wasn’t allowed to then play another character and Joss Whedon and I got on very well and he looked for a way to make that work and found it, though I can’t say what the relationship is between Vision and J.A.R.V.I.S.. Everything is a double-edged sword, I used to be in a studio for 45 minutes and do J.A.R.V.I.S. and get a huge bag of cash and go my way like a burglar, and now they want me to work for my money. Which is great and sweaty and hot, which you’ll realize once they unveil everything. It’s really f***ing cool. It’s great to join this train which is on really clear tracks.
So does Vision have a different voice than J.A.R.V.I.S.?
I can’t talk about that. It happens entirely naturally on set and those things are hard to analyze and there are absolute differences clearly.
What is Vision’s relationship with Tony Stark?
That’s very… Vision feels paternal to a number of people.
How many times do you get to punch people?
I’m really good at punching. Vision is good at punching.
What’s Vision’s relationship with Scarlet Witch?
What about the evolution of the character during the film?
He is someone who is learning about the world at an exponential rate. He becomes more sassy as the movie continues.
How do the Avengers feel having Vision around?
Incredibly jealous. (laughs). It’s been a really lovely working experience. In the plot there’s a lot of distrust, and that has to be navigated by the Vision. He does it in a quite extraordinarily shocking way. It’s a real roof raiser of a moment.
Do you wear a big yellow cape?
Can’t discuss that. There is a cape, and it’s fabulous.
How did everyone else respond to the costume?
With a great deal of pity. It is a real thing. We spent a lot of time working out how to keep me cool in that costume. While it is one of the most genuinely, in all of the work that I’ve ever done, an extraordinary achievement that has nothing to do with me, it’s just a really beautiful piece of design and then manufacturing this thing out of a lot of materials that haven’t existed for a long time. It’s really cool looking. The consequence is it’s fucking hot!
How do you play a character that is going through a rapid evolution?
I talked about it a lot with Joss. It’s sort of about experiencing and processing things in the moment. Superhumanly quickly. I know how that feels to play it, but it will be up to others to judge. I’m working out the question in the moment rather than having pat answer.
Can you talk about Vision’s abilities?
No? yeah, a little. We’ve talked about how he’s incredibly good at punching, which is key. He has the ability to change his density and that is … that’s awesome and exploited brilliantly by Joss in some cool moments when Vision is able to do something that is otherworldly. And he’s discovering it all as he goes along.
Did you do wire work so the Vision can fly?
Yeah. Have you ever been hung in the air by your genitals? I have. It’s great. There’s a lot of wire work, and I enjoy it. ‘They make it as comfortable as they can possibly make it, which is really uncomfortable. It’s as hard as doing something really uncomfortable for a lot of money can be. But the results are awesome.
Avengers: Age of Ultron opens on May 1, 2015.