Joss Whedon on The Vision and Working with James Spader on AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

     March 6, 2015

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If you caught the new Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, and odds are you have, you know that Marvel finally unveiled the very first bit of footage of Paul Bettany’s The Vision, a robot who winds up working alongside the Avengers. It wasn’t much, but it was nice to finally get to see a little something and now writer-director Joss Whedon is also offering up some additional details about the character. Here’s what he told SFX Magazine (via CBM):

“Once again, he’s someone who’s completely different than anybody else in terms of his powers, his look, but also his perspective … He’s artificial life and he’s not caught up in the in-house bickering and the pain and self-doubt. He shows up and he’s very certain. But we’re not certain what he’s certain of! And Paul’s great, because he’s so gentle, so compelling, but at the same time you’re like ‘He’s nice but… what if murdered me?’”

avengers-age-of-ultron-poster-finalOn top of that Whedon also spoke at length about James Spader’s Ultron:

“You know, he’s really been a mainstay of The Avengers, but for me it’s a robot who’s angry. And that was a gateway for me to a robot who’s completely irrational. I wanted to write a robot that we really haven’t seen in this kind of movie, who can basically talk all the logical robot things, but then has hissy fits! He also has a real perspective on who the Avengers are, and a real beef with them. He’s not a straw man. The thing that worked about Loki was that he was able to get inside everybody’s head a little bit, and Ultron, he’s got the same thing. He knows pretty much everything there is to know about these guys. The only way you can attack Earth’s mightiest heroes is from within.”

Whedon also discussed his choice to steer clear of the original comics while penning the Avengers: Age of Ultron script:

“I didn’t got back to them at all. You know, he was an angry robot. Angry all the time! That’s one of the things that drew me to him – this guy’s angry! Angry for like 50 years! You know, they reinvented him in Ultimates and stuff. At one point he was a beautiful woman… I’m not doing that one! I loved him when I read the comics as a kid, because of the scope and the sci-fi and what the team was going through, but I never looked to Ultron himself in the comics for why I love Ultron. I had an idea that I sort of extrapolated from that, so in that way he sort of a new guy. But he’s been a tricky one to nail down. Not because the voice eluded me, but just in terms of ‘How much of his agenda is he revealing? How much of his agenda does he even understand?’ And then of course there’s the inevitable over-explaining that we do in these things, where you’re watching and you’re like ‘Okay, he said it enough, people know!'”

From there the conversation shifted to Spader himself. Here’s what Whedon said about working with him:

“Everything I’ve ever given to Spader he’s just knocked out of the park. But – and James and I talked about this – every now and then he’ll have to do a non sequitur. And James is like ‘I have to pull out this emotion from something that’s not happening in this scene!’ But that’s who Ultron is. He’s clicking on all these different cylinders. And James really took to it. It means that you can pretty much say anything sometimes! He’s very much en scene, but at the same time, if he doesn’t have a little bit of free associative lateral now and again, he’s not going to be as much fun.”

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