/Film Set Interview: 'The Avengers' Stars Robert Downey Jr And Chris Evans

In June 2011, Marvel invited a handfull of journalists to the set of The Avengers. /Film was a part of this amazing visit to Albuquerque Studios (which you can read about here). While on set we participated in round table interviews with the cast and crew of the film. After the jump you will be able to read our interview with Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans, who play Iron Man and Captain America in The Avengers

Read our other interviews from The Avengers set:

Interview with Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans

Robert Downey Jr.: Can you believe this shit? Tony and Cap side-by-side?

I notice you are wearing a Black Sabbath t-shirt.

Robert Downey Jr.: Not bad huh? I'll keep lit up for you clowns.Does Props want to turn this off to save the battery?

Chris Evans: They just did.

So who is the "good man" that was "dating a cellist"?

Robert Downey Jr.: Yeah, who was that?

Chris Evans: I heard that was something we can't touch.

Robert Downey Jr.: Yeah, that's right. We were just briefed.voice> But somebody's gonna die!

Chris Evans: Is that it? Great,

Robert Downey Jr.: It is all they care about.

We have heard a little bit about what the movie is about, but can you both, in your own words, talk about the story and what it's about, or what you're allowed to say?

Chris Evans: Sure. It's about these superheroes coming together. It's the initial formation of the team, The Avengers.Does everybody know that Loki's the bad guy?

Robert Downey Jr.: Yeah, they told us not to talk about it.

Chris Evans: But we were allowed to talk about that.

We interviewed Tom (Hiddleston) yesterday, so we know.

Chris Evans: Right, so Loki's in it!

Robert Downey Jr.: He used to date a cellist. In Asgard.

Chris Evans: He's our threat.

Robert Downey Jr.: Here's what I think it's about: I remember at Comic Con, a season or two ago, that there was all this promise of... look, this is hugely ambitious. Bless them, but DC have tried to do this before, and Marvel said, "We're going to do it," but saying they are going to do it and formulating a way to do it correctly, which I think is where JW ("Jay Dub" – Joss Whedon) came in heavily, so I think it is just a really good story that could have been done a hundred ways wrong. I think you will be – I'll go out on a limb – pleased and surprised at howpredictable it is.

Why is there the location change? We have seen Tony Stark in California for so long, but now we know he is going to be in New York – we've seen his new apartment – and you guys are obviously going to be spending some time on the Helicarrier, so do you know the background to why he's in New York, and how they get on the Helicarrier?

Chris Evans: Well, it takes place in New York. We're pretty much in New York for the duration of the film. It's not like we are shooting in Albuquerque for the exteriors.

Robert Downey Jr.: Which means that Tony has some project there.

We were talking yesterday to Chris (Hemsworth) about some of the egos on the team, and who each character might get along with, and whom they might mightget along with. Can you both talk about each of your characters and who they might be able to relate to? Maybe Tony and Bruce (Banner) are a little more intelligent and can relate on that level, and maybe Tony and Thor have some big egos so may clash at some point.

Robert Downey Jr.: Yeah, I just don't... speaking like Tony now... I just don't like big guys who speak cryptically and like they understand the language better than me. And have trippy brothers and all that sort of stuff. Whereas wehave something that I think is a multi-faceted relationship.

Chris Evans: It's layered.

Robert Downey Jr.: It's layered. Why is it layered.

Chris Evans: It's got depth.

Robert Downey Jr.: Yes. Where does the depth come from?

Chris Evans: I think they are both heroes in their own right. Tony is a little bit more flash, and he's got charisma oozing out of him, and he likes the spotlight, and I think Cap might be a little bit more reserved in his desire to be front and centre, but they are both, at their core, heroes, if you know what I mean. Even if Tony is flash and hot-shit, he is still a hero. He is still a good man. I think it just takes the duration of the film for them to see eye-to-eye and to see that in one another.

Does Tony see him as an anachronism?

Robert Downey Jr.: Well, here's the thing: I was just sitting here thinking that it seems to me that this is the logical progression from the lessons Tony learns from, and with, War Machine in, it seems that they are picked up, except now there is this extra added layer of it being connected to the Stark legacy, so it's almost like dealing with Frankenstein but Frankenstein has lessons that you actually haven't learned yet. So it's really easy to just be like, "Oh my God, you have bolts on your neck!" and Joss, while not being silly... I give Cap quite a bit of guff in the movie.

Chris Evans: Sure.

Robert Downey Jr.: But I think it was probably the toughest relationship to really find the right arc for. You are catching us in one of the transition points, that we are shooting here today. Usually we wouldn't be hashing out a problem together, we would be more on the edge of demonstrating the differences in our moral psychology.

Who would you say is the heart of the team?

Chris Evans: See, I was going to say him. I was genuinely going to say him. I think without him, we don't work.

Robert Downey Jr.: Not this time. I told them to write it that way!

Chris Evans: I think without Tony, we don't work. He really is the glue in the family. He is the fire, the thing that keeps you coming back. I think, at least for this movie, Cap's struggling to find his footing in this modern day – he's a fish out of water. He's a little more uncomfortable in his own skin than he normally might be, and he's not hitting the ground running without the charisma and the leadership and the character that Tony Stark is.

Robert Downey Jr.: Well, maybe you're right, if you put it that way. Okay. But I think that's the other thing too, that Joss, Kevin (Feige) and the creative team has been able to do, is make it so that nothing is predictably definitive. I remember that one of my earliest concerns with this was, "Haven't we done this, 'it's a bunch of superheroes together but they're a dysfunctional family' thing before?" But it has transcended that in a lot of ways. Obviously there is only one person whose name is Captain, and if you have a squad of people, there is a time where we need his prowess in terms of things that require actual strategic and military stuff, in what is essentially a war that we are trying to avert, of sorts. So I think that's really valuable.

Robert, you were known as a bit of a tinkerer on the set of the first twomovies, so have you been tinkering on this? Are you guys adjusting things each day or are you sticking to the script more?

Chris Evans: We did some tinkering today. It's so great: Downey is renowned for being able to work on the fly, and so is Joss. They are both very good – they have incredible instincts – so if something does need to change, their anchor is so solid. You feel safe to try what's on the page and to try other stuff, because if you have these guys guiding you in your exploration, you can un-earth some really interesting things.

Robert Downey Jr.: Yeah, but for the most part, particularly once we got to the final edition of the storyline and the script that came from that, it wasn't broke, so it's not like we had to fix things. And I think some part of me, between themovies, and with some of themovies, I feel like more of a producer – no-one asked me to – which is tough when you are getting your make-up done and they aren't paying you to be a producer, but with this, it is a bit of a relief – it's nice when the car drives all by itself.

Is there a through-line for Tony in this movie? Is there an arc that you think will be picked up inor will there be ramifications from this that will be picked up in that movie?

Robert Downey Jr.: Sure. Yeah. Someone's going to have to figure that out!

Is there something either of you do in this film that perhaps you haven't done in your solo films that excites you that you're getting to do it now?

Chris Evans: Working with Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr.: And for me, just getting to work with myself again is just a treat. This time, it's just me and me. Christ! What do you get to do? You get to do some crazy fucking shit.

Chris Evans: I mean it when I said it, I get to work with Robert Downey Jr. I look around sometimes and... I don't know. Doingwas strange because you're the only superhero, so it's like you're looking around at others, but here, the first day you came to set and there's (Chris) Hemsworth in his cape, and Downey's got the armour on, and you're wearing the costume...

Robert Downey Jr.: You're not going to change whendoes huge business are you?

Chris Evans: I'm already changed now.You've got two more minutes and I'm fucking out of here! Where's my water?! No, It's been great. On a personal career level – not necessarily rooted in exploring stuff as an actor – but just personally, just the stuff I have been able to do on this movie, to date, has been the most geeked out that I have felt on a movie set. I literally come sometimes and get truly, truly excited about coming to work, and that's a good feeling.

What is it like to have Joss as both the writer and director on set?

Robert Downey Jr.: Why are you asking questions about Joss when we are both here? Here's the nice thing: I'm changing too. I'm looking at the back nine, I'm a little more mellow, I don't need to tear up the sides and throw them against the wall to say, "I bet we can improve this." I'll just say, "I bet we can improve this." But I might do that onjust because I am used to doing it. But the nice thing is that Joss is really quick and incredibly responsible to what his job requirements to the letter, so we can say... for example, there is a scene at the end that unites Thor and Cap and Tony, and it needed to say a lot and it needed to also not just be one line but it couldn't be two pages, so he said, "Give me a second," and it wasn't like, "Let's hash this out together," because, as I said, I'm getting better, but I wouldn't mind just pulling out the pen and, "Let's just spit-ball till lunch," and then we would come in with the right thing to shoot. But instead, it wound up being four lines which included all or us, and he gave us, I think, three pages of options. So the guy is really just kind of a machine, but it feels organic.

Chris Evans: That's a great way to put it. He's just so good as a writer – he's amazing. The banter is so witty – it's not like when sometimes it may have a witty pay-off line, but the set-up is obvious, like, "You set 'em up and I'll knock 'em down." His set-up lines are seamless, they're right, they work, so when this great exchange happens, you are like, "Man, that is so clever." If, for whatever reason, it doesn't work, he can come up with a new exchange just like that.

Robert Downey Jr.: I hear he likes to dance. He likes to boogie.

Chris Evans: He does like to boogie. On the weekends, he is like, "We're going to go dancing," and I'm like, "You're going dancing?"

Robert Downey Jr.: I don't know why you don't invite me to your parties.

Chris Evans: I didn't get invited to go dancing. And you weren't in town when Scarlett and I went. You missed it, and that was a good one.

Robert Downey Jr.: Oh that's right.

How does Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye fit into the dynamic between the two of you, because he seems more like the company man, the soldier, but how does he fit into the dynamic between you?

Robert Downey Jr.: Well, he is a S.H.I.E.L.D. guy but he has his own interesting arc in this, and so, not to give it away, he is largely doing his own thing. I think with some of these things, there is a lot of stuff going on and it all makes sense, and then once in a while, we all are together in one place. And if it can all make sense that when we are all together in one place, it's not like, "How did happen? It's like they all did a photo-shoot in the middle of the movie." But somehow or other, it just does.

We know there's a new Cap suit, so can you talk about some of the new features?

Chris Evans: Yeah, it's great.

Is there a new Iron Man suit too?

Robert Downey Jr.: I think so. I don't know, I am wearing tracking dots.

Chris Evans: I can pee freely now, which is great.

Robert Downey Jr.: Cap's new suit, by I.P. Freely!

Chris Evans: Literally, it is a world of relief. The suit itself is fantastic – it's much more...

Robert Downey Jr.: That's Alex Byrne. Great costumer.

Chris Evans: Yeah, she's something else. But it's great. It makes action sequences a lot easier: the last one was very utilitarian, so everything seems like it has a purpose but it's very difficult to move in. The cowl is tricky in this one. In the initial Cap film, it was just a helmet, but this one looks much more like the comic book. It looks amazing, but is a little toasty in there. But it all looks great.

Chris, can you talk about the fact you are playing Cap again when no-one has seen the first movie yet? You haven't really had any feedback yet?

Chris Evans: Yeah, I don't know what to do to make it better, damn it! It's tricky, it's true. You would love to get some feedback, to see what works and what didn't.

Robert Downey Jr.: You want the pay-off.

Chris Evans: Yeah.

Robert Downey Jr.: This is good for your humility.

Chris Evans: It is, believe me. Every day. Every day. It's tricky, you know what I mean? It's... I can't think of a clever analogy...Joss!

Robert Downey Jr.: "I have three pages and all of them seem to fit in with the flow of the conversation. Great. Well, you fucking write it!"

Tony Stark's past is connected with Captain America's in a way, with his father being involved, so does that dynamic come up in this movie?

Robert Downey Jr.: Can you imagine if you met your long-lost brother that was your dad's favourite, and all of a sudden, he is in town? He doesn't really want to hang out, but there's business. It'sannoying.

Chris Evans: There is a lot of meat on the bone there. There's a lot to chew on, and hopefully it's enough to last even into sequels. It's a complex thing and there really are a lot of layers to it.

Who first gets to say, "Avengers Assemble!"?

Robert Downey Jr.: Most of those things, like people saying something at the same time as they realise it, or all those things – I think there is a pass where they are all omitted, like you're not allowed to say them, and then if they happen... Does someone say, "Avengers Assemble!"?

Chris Evans: I don't know.

We know that Tom has scenes with each of you, so Loki has scenes with each of the Avengers in an individual setting, so could you talk about your interaction with Loki?

Chris Evans: Well, I haven't filmed my scene yet.

Robert Downey Jr.: Me neither.

Chris Evans: But based on the character that he played in...

Robert Downey Jr.: Why don't we have Joss tell us how we are going to feel when we are done shooting it?

There is a big Hulk cardboard cut-out on the set, so how are you guys working with the Hulk? Are you using the cut-out?

Chris Evans: We have had a couple of scenes with Ruffalo doing the motion capture stuff, so when they do that, they put him up, standing on a table for the scene. Then sometimes they bring out that cardboard cut-out for special effects to take textures and stuff like that.

Robert Downey Jr.: I tried to have that in my contract for every scene, and there was some sort of passive rebellion.

Is Ruffalo rampaging around all the time? Or is he mellow when you guys are in meetings and such?

Robert Downey Jr.: Well, he's on a lot of growth hormones right now.

Well, because in the comics the Hulk does mellow out, people find a way to mellow him out so he can be with the group.

Chris Evans: Well, you will have to wait and see how we figure out how to be with the Hulk.

Robert Downey Jr.: I think Ruffalo was really the right guy at the right time with the right canvas. It's strange to me because the Hulk, out of all the Marvel characters, has been the toughest nut to crack, for some reason. Maybe it's because the long history of the TV show, and that is so engrained that they got it right. If you go back and look at the old TV series, you're like, "I was crazy about this," and it has merits. But I think, again, what the creative team, and Joss and Mark, largely did, was bring something that feels new about it but is also much more like you remember it.

Something that is a big event in the comics, that I know a lot of fans are excited about, is what happens when Thor's hammer hits Cap's shield. Is that something that might be explored in the movie?

Chris Evans: I don't want to give anything away.

Robert Downey Jr.: God, I want to know.

Chris Evans: There are a lot of characters that have to interact, so I am sure that Joss is going to explore all kinds of possibilities.

Robert Downey Jr.: I can tell you that there is a sequence where Black Widow and I both get stuck inside her suit, and for some of the shots, they had to use a wide-angle lens. That's probably the one thing I have never got to do before.

How is it for Captain America to wake up in the present day, where there is a dude in an iron suit flying about the place, where there's another dude who grows into this giant green monster, so how does he acclimate to that, and not only that, but to work with these people and become a team with these people?

Chris Evans: Sure. That is one piece of the puzzle, just waking up and there just being the evolutions in technology and things like that, the fact that there are cellphones and the internet and computers and all of this – that's one piece of the puzzle. But I think the real stuff that he struggles with is the changes in society, between the morals and values and the way people interact, and the things that matter, and I think that is why he struggles with Tony at first, because I think Tony is the epitome of modern: he's flash, he's current, he's hip, he's, and Cap is kind of stuck in this old mentality and this old way, so even though the Quin-Jet and all the technology that S.H.I.E.L.D. has, and Tony's suit, does blow his mind, I think the thing that he is at odds with is more about the way people interact and the current state of people's communal values.

Is it possible to fit everything that people want to see into one Avengers movie? Isn't there just too much that people will be expecting and wanting to see to fit into one two-hour movie? Or do you think there will be stuff to save for the second movie?

Chris Evans: I think that it's a well that will keep on giving. In this movie, there is certainly no fat. There is so much stuff.

Robert Downey Jr.:Exactly. And the thing too is that it's about not so much the stuff to put in it, but what to omit – not that we can do it later – but I think those were some of the biggest, smartest choices were the things that aren't in it

Read our other interviews from The Avengers set: