Production is officially underway on The Avengers: Age of Ultron. We previously reported that, in addition to shooting on soundstages in London, the production might be doing some filming in North Italy. However, today the shoot begins in Johannesburg, South Africa. According to Independent Online, the movie is “going to cause major traffic disruptions for the next two weeks.” On the bright side, filming on a major blockbuster usually provides a good economic incentive for a city, and according to Mayor Parks Tau, this “will also generate many jobs for South African crew members who will be employed by the production” and “will include over 1 000 extra man-days throughout the two-week shooting schedule.” I’m sure Johannesburg will be a welcoming city, and no one will try to attack Joss Whedon with an air conditioner.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens on May 1, 2015 and stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Paul Bettany, and James Spader.
I typically try and use the opening paragraph to talk about something not already covered in the Top 5 list itself. I’m making an exception this week because The LEGO Movie is good enough to warrant it. Writers/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have crafted an outstanding family comedy that’s sharp, funny, and as imaginative as the product it expertly seeks to promote. For all of the laughs it provides (of which there are many), I think its greatest achievement is how precisely it balances the weight of story and self-promotion. Make no mistake, its primary goals are to drive sales and promote the LEGO brand. Lord and Miller’s script is smart enough, though, to achieve these by genuinely capturing the spirit of creativity and inventiveness that makes LEGO so unique. I can only wish that all product placement strategies were this inspired and on point.
Moving on to the list portion of this week’s installment, today’s Top 5 will tackle more things pertaining to The LEGO Movie, the science of RoboCop, Paul Bettany‘s casting in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg bringing Preacher to AMC, and a recap of the movie spots that aired during the trouncing also known as the 2014 Super Bowl. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.
You may not know it, but Paul Bettany has been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since its inception with 2008’s Iron Man. The actor is the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark’s personalized computer system, but for writer/director Joss Whedon’s highly anticipated sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Bettany may be getting a major promotion in the form of a live-action role. Should this rumor pan out it could have major repercussions for the superhero follow-up, so we’ll leave all the details after the jump for those wary of spoilers. Read on after the jump.
[Update: Variety has confirmed the news that Bettany will indeed be playing comics favorite The Vision in the Avengers sequel.]
Yesterday, Walt Disney Company CEO and Chairman Robert Iger told investors that Captain America: The Winter Soldier will “set critical events in motion” that lead to The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Admittedly, this isn’t Earth-shattering news, but it’s good to have the confirmation. Even though Winter Soldier will be followed on the calendar by Guardians of the Galaxy, the two worlds don’t click together as well as Guardians did with Thor: The Dark World. The Wrap also reports that Iger also said events in the second Captain America would “be reflected” in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which would be exciting except we already got that bait-and-switch with Thor 2. If you missed that episode, you didn’t really miss anything, much like the rest of the series.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in 3D on April 4th, and stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Anthony Mackie, Georges St-Pierre, Frank Grillo, Hayley Atwell, Toby Jones, Emily VanCamp, Maximiliano Hernández, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson.
As Batman vs. Superman (tentative title) and The Avengers: Age of Ultron move through pre-production, word is leaking of possible shooting locations for these gigantic superhero films. As we reported last week, Batman vs. Superman‘s release date has been pushed back to May 6, 2016, but it’s still planning to start filming this year. Production will begin in the second quarter, and according to tweets collected by HenryCavillOnline.com, director Zack Snyder was hanging around the alien-looking Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.
Hit the jump to see a couple images of the museum, and to learn about a potential location for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which opens on May 1, 2015.
Production will be getting underway in the next few months on Marvel’s highly, highly anticipated sequel The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, and when your first film smashes box office records in its opening weekend, a lot of people are going to be itching to hear every last bit of news regarding the follow-up. Which brings us to today’s quotes from Scarlett Johansson, who has gotten a look at writer/director Joss Whedon’s script for the star-studded superhero pic. She doesn’t have much to say detail-wise about the film, but fans will surely be interested to hear her thoughts on Whedon’s screenplay, which she describes as “dark” and “cerebral.” Hit the jump to read on.
Yesterday, I listed my Top 10 posters for 2013. To the casual moviegoer, posters are something passed by in a theater lobby. They’re in between Auditorium 1 and Auditorium 2. Trailers, on the other hand, are part of the moviegoing experience. If you’re at the movie by showtime, you’ve got about 20 minutes of trailers ahead of you. They’ve become so prevalent, that studios have turned the release of a new trailer into an event. We now have trailers for trailers, which irks me to no end. Nevertheless, there’s still something to be said for a well-made trailer. Like posters, studios make plenty of trailers we’ll never see for one reason or another. Furthermore, these trailers have to abide by parameters such as available footage, studio wishes, licensing music, etc. But if it’s done right, a trailer can turn the tide of public opinion and create anticipation for a movie like nothing else.
Hit the jump for my Top 10 trailers of 2013.
Now playing in limited release and expanding nationwide December 20th is director David O. Russell’s comedic drama American Hustle. The story is based on the Abscam sting operation that uncovered widespread political corruption in the late 1970s, and Russell’s fantastic ensemble cast is led by Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner. The film is definitely an awards contender, landing a Best Picture award from the New York Critics Circle and many nominations from a number of other groups, including the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild. While the holidays are filled with a lot of choices, American Hustle should definitely be on your list. For more on the film, here’s all our previous coverage.
At the recent New York City press junket I landed an exclusive video interview with Renner. He talked about how quickly he signed on to the project, what it was like to work with Russell, the look of his character, the way he likes to work, whether he has spoken to Joss Whedon about The Avengers: Age of Ultron, other 2015 movies, and a lot more. Hit the jump to watch.
Joss Whedon is currently very busy prepping the Avengers sequel Age of Ultron, and he certainly has his hands full with the follow-up. Expectations are high considering the first film scored the highest opening weekend of all time and grossed a worldwide total of $1.5 billion, plus Whedon has to introduce new characters Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and villain Ultron (James Spader) in addition to juggling the already packed ensemble of the titular Avengers. Now there’s the possibility of one more Marvel character being thrown into the bunch, as a new report claims that Don Cheadle is poised to make an appearance as Colonel James Rhodes. Hit the jump for more.
[Update: We've updated the story with a reported confirmation of Cheadle's involvement, including information on his role in the sequel.]
Elizabeth Olsen has maintained a steady stream of work since her indie hit, Martha Marcy May Marlene, but with films like Godzilla and The Avengers: Age of Ultron on the way, Olsen is going to hit a whole new level and she’s about to begin that progression up with the highly anticipated remake of Oldboy. Olsen steps in as Marie Sebastian, a volunteer nurse who comes face to face with Josh Brolin’s Joe Doucett shortly after wrapping up his 20-year stint in solitary confinement. Even though Joe is understandably rattled and rather off-putting, he strikes a cord with Marie and she agrees to help him assimilate. The thing is, in order to do that, she’ll have to dive into the vicious mystery that’s been plaguing him for the past 20 years of his life.
While in New York City ahead of Oldboy’s November 27th release, Collider got the chance to sit down with Olsen, pinpoint her optimal solitary confinement meal, talk about her preference for Mikey over Brand Walsh in The Goonies, and, of course, discuss the sex scene. Hit the jump to catch all of that, her restrained but enthusiastic thoughts on playing Scarlet Witch in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and more.
We’ve pretty much known that Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson were going to play Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, respectively, in Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and now Marvel has provided official confirmation. For those unfamiliar with the comics, Quicksilver (who, because Marvel and Fox both own the rights, will also be in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but played by Evan Peters in X-Men) can run really fast. Scarlet Witch is more complicated. She can manipulate probability, alter reality, and has “Chaos Magic”, so it will be interesting to see how Whedon will interpret her powers for the movie. The siblings are Magneto’s children, but since Magneto is fully owned by Fox, their father won’t be mentioned (at least by name). They’re also of Eastern European origin in the comics, so presumably they’ll have accents for the film.
Hit the jump for the press release. The film also stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, and James Spader. The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens May 1, 2015.
Not that there was ever much doubt, but Cobie Smulders says she’ll be returning to play S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Speaking to the Calgary Hearld, Smulders says:
“I think I’m in Avengers 2, but it is very top secret. I hope I’m in Avengers 2. I didn’t get my invitation yet. Well, actually, they know I’m in it but they don’t know to what degree I’m in it…I am really excited to read the script because they are introducing Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch into the Avengers universe and the bad guy [Ultron] is going to be very interesting.”
Hill didn’t have much to do in The Avengers, and while we don’t know the size of her role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I doubt she’ll have much to do in Age of Ultron. If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gets picked up for a second season, she could be a strong addition to the cast (assuming she’d want to do it).
Though the actor made no secret of the fact that he was in ongoing negotiations to join the ensemble of Joss Whedon’s Marvel sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Aaron Taylor-Johnson had thus far yet to be officially announced as one of the film’s castmembers. Now it appears that scheduling issues have all been worked out, as The Wrap reports that Taylor-Johnson has closed his deal to play Pietro Maximoff aka Quicksilver in The Avengers sequel. There was concern over whether the filming schedule of Age of Ultron would conflict with Taylor-Johnson’s promotional duties on Godzilla, which opens next May. All is well, though, and the actor will be fighting alongside Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Co. when The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in theaters on May 1, 2015.
Taylor-Johnson is one of three new castmembers to be added to the Marvel universe, as Elizabeth Olsen is onboard to play Quicksilver’s sister Scarlet Witch and James Spader will be playing the pic’s baddie, the titular evil robot Ultron.
With director Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World opening around the world next week and in North America on November 8th, I was able to interview the cast and filmmakers in London this past weekend. As most of you know, Chris Hemsworth returns as Thor, who reluctantly teams up with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to fight off the villainous dark elf Malekith the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston). The film also stars Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo, and Anthony Hopkins.
During my interview with Hemsworth, he talked about how the sequel is very funny, how he gets to have some fun with Mjolnir in the film, if Joss Whedon has told him anything about The Avengers: Age of Ultron, if London is his second home since he’s filming so many movies there, his character in Michael Mann’s Cyber and what the movie is about. Hit the jump to watch.
With director Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World opening around the world next week and in North America on November 8th, I was able to interview the cast and filmmakers in London this past weekend. As most of you know, Chris Hemsworth returns as Thor, who reluctantly teams up with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to fight off the villainous dark elf Malekith the Accursed (Christopher Eccleston). The film also stars Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat Dennings, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo, and Anthony Hopkins.
During my interview with Natalie Portman, she talked about how the sequel is very funny, when she learned her character would have so much to do and also be involved in the action, deleted scenes, what she collects, and if she’s been asked to appear in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Hit the jump to watch.