Joss Whedon on The Avengers: “I Would Like to Put These Actors in a Room and Just Make Glengarry Glen Ross”
Posted on Monday, September 27th, 2010 by Adam Quigley
After seeing Iron Man 2, I was struck with the unfortunate realization that the odds of an Avengers movie being a serious disappointment were far greater than it being an actually good movie. It was hard enough for Marvel to balance Tony Stark as the central character in his own sequel; how could they possibly fare with up to 8 central characters?
Leave it to writer/director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly) to put my mind at ease, and gracefully lull me back to anticipation. Whether it’s describing script alterations he made on Captain America: The First Avenger, discussing the casting of Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner (in place of Edward Norton), or detailing the creative process of making The Avengers, he always seems to know just the thing to say to remind me that Marvel hired the right guy for the job. And I’ve never been more convinced of that until right now, for reasons the headline of this article should already make clear.
The interview hails from SFX, kicking off with Whedon proving that he gets why the character of Tony Stark worked so well in Iron Man, and how he plans to make the action set pieces in The Avengers actually matter.
I’m feeling that everything that I have done before has prepared me for this, besides the fact that I’ve been reading The Avengers since I was 11. There are definitely stipulations and restrictions, but Kevin Feige is very active as a producer and worked with me a lot on the story, but they are absolutely honouring the fact that this is my film. What I kind of think ultimately defines Marvel Studios was the first thing they did and that was cast Robert Downey Jr. They said, ‘What if we got great actors and let them have some time to be the people they’re supposed to be instead of going through the paces of hitting this mark and that mark?’ They don’t always ?get it right, but nobody does. But if ?you look at who they already had, and who they allowed me to add to the cast, they are thinking about the integrity of the characters. Obviously we have to get from point A to point B, and fans really want to see this – and ideas for set-pieces which I said are great. Now I’m going to make them matter and they are completely on board with the idea.
Scripting is still underway on The Avengers, and Whedon says it’s “been a bear”.
I’m still [outlining the script] because it’s finding out how to introduce people to all of these people in this world. ‘By the way, there’s a thunder god. You guys are cool, right? This guy is big and green and this character wears an American flag. It’s all good, right? It’s totally real world.’ Finding the tone and plots that are coherent is what I go to bed thinking about and wake up thinking about, but it’s doable.
What I will struggle with, in the outline and throughout, is that I would like to put these actors in a room and just make Glengarry Glen Ross. We’re talking about really exciting people and at the same time I have to keep the momentum of the thing going. I can’t let it turn into a lull fest. Knowing that I have enough time to do both of those things – that by the end of the movie you will feel ‘in’ with these guys – is the trick. It’s not an easy one but one that Marvel absolutely honours. They don’t hire Mark Ruffalo [the new Hulk] to say one iconic line and strike a pose. They hire him because he has so much humanity in him. He’s the antithesis of the iconic actor. He’s so human. He was my first choice to play the part, and the fact he is playing the part is nuts! They went to great lengths to make that happen and they understood exactly why he was right for the part.
Oh, Whedon. Way to address my exact fears, and then shut them down completely. Having acid-tongued, rapid-fire dialogue in the vein of Glengarry Glen Ross is exactly what this team of bickering superheroes needs, and I’m more than confident Joss Whedon is capable of delivering. His contributions to films haven’t always been stellar—as one of his few contributions to X-Men proves—but when left to his own devices, his writing can be a thing of beauty.
Robert Downey Jr. engaging in banter like that of the clip below? Imagine the possibilities.
[via Ain’t It Cool]
The Avengers hits theaters May 4, 2012.