Louis D’Esposito (Co- Head of Marvel Studios) Talks ITEM 47, the Success of THE AVENGERS, ANT-MAN, R Rated Marvel Movies, More

     July 16, 2012


On Friday night at Comic-Con, Marvel premiered their latest short film Item 47.  Directed by Louis D’Esposito (Co- President of Marvel Studios) and starring Lizzy Caplan, Jesse Bradford, Maximiliano Hernández and Titus Welliver, Item 47 is about a hard-luck couple who get their hands on an alien gun that falls from the sky after the events of The Avengers.  For more on the short (which will be available on The Avengers Blu-ray) click here.

The day after the premiere, I got to sit down with D’Esposito for an extended interview.  We talked about being at Comic-Con, what props he owns, how he go to direct Item 47, if he had any additional money for the budget due to his position at the studio and whether the actors signed on for feature films.  In addition, we also talked about the possibility of future short films premiering at Comic-Con, the success of The Avengers, if they’ll release an extended Avengers directors cut in theaters, Ant-Man, deleted scenes that have never been released, if they’ll ever make R-rated Marvel movies, the importance of bringing other Marvel characters to life, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

item-47-posterAs usual, I’ve time indexed the interview so you can watch the parts that interest you.  Again, you can look forward to seeing Item 47 on the upcoming Avengers Blu-ray and DVD.

Louis D’Esposito Time Index

  • :22 What he geeks out over at Comic-Con.  Says he loves seeing the enthusiasm of the people at the convention.
  • 1:14 Does he have any props or things from Marvel adorning his office walls? Says he has Thor’s hammer and artwork from Captain America 2, Thor 2 and Iron Man 3.
  • 1:54 Talks about the Thor hammer in his office.  Says it’s actually a collectible, but they used it in the planning stages of Thor for figuring out how heavy the hammer should be.
  • 2:24 How he moved up throughout his career to getting to be able to direct a Marvel short.  Says he always wanted to direct and over the years his voice started getting louder and louder.  He took steps to move towards being a director.  On some of the Marvel films he got to direct different units.  Says he has a great relationship with Jon Favreau.
  • 3:55 Talks about the budget and the team behind getting the short together.  Says he was able to get a Phantom camera to shoot at 60fps for one shot.
  • 5:13 How this short came about.  Says they plan their feature films out over a long period of time, but they come up with a lot of different stories and scripts for their short films so they have many to choose from when it comes to making the next one.  The writers came up to him and pitched him the one-liner for Item 47 and he loved it.
  • 6:57 As they did with their feature films, he says they thought about signing some of the actors for their short films for multi-picture deals.  In the end, they decided not to contract them for multiple appearances.
  • 7:55 How Item 47 expands the Marvel universe.  On the first two films, they wanted to put the spotlight on Agent Coulson, and in the second one they wanted to interconnect The Incredible Hulk with S.H.I.E.L.D. On Item 47, they didn’t have any preconceived notions of how they wanted it to connect to another Marvel movie.
  • item 47 lizzy caplan9:25 Would they considered premiering each short film theatrically at Comic-Con every year?  Says if the enthusiasm were there they’d want to do it.
  • 9:54 When did he realize that The Avengers was gonna be the juggernaut that it become?  Says he knew it was great after Joss Whedon showed the director’s rough cut.
  • 11:34 Do they plan on releasing an extended cut of The Avengers in theaters before the film hits Blu-ray?  “Well we always discuss things, [but] there’s been no concrete talks about doing that as of now.”
  • 12:12 Talks about the deleted scenes that are “sitting in the vault.”  Says that their research is showing that original content—like the one shot short films—is becoming a bigger draw for people than deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes footage.
  • 13:13 Is Marvel reaching a point where they could release three films a year instead of two?  Says they discuss it internally all the time, but they don’t want to stretch themselves too thing.  They’re enthusiastic about the idea, but they want to make sure they keep the quality of their films high.
  • ant-man-movie-logo14:07 Talks about Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man test footage and being on set while Wright was filming.  Says Wright will “bring all of the coolest camera angles and shots mixed in with a lot of laughs.”  As Wright was shooting, he was cutting it together.
  • 15:20 Says Wright’s Ant-Man might be an opportunity where they make a third film since he’s shooting At World’s End this year: “That might be an opportunity where we do a third film, depending on his schedule when he finishes World’s End.  But he’s such a competent filmmaker; the script is in great shape.  The test will prove a lot of things on the visual effects front: how do we handle the shrinking, obviously, and the scale issues, because when he’s small he’s a half-inch.  So we’re gonna work that out, maybe that’s when we do a third film.”
  • 16:21 Talks about the possibility of doing smaller characters in smaller budget films that could be rated R.  He says they discuss it, but to get through all the noise of all the other films that are released they have to spend a lot of money.  If they’re spending that money, they’re gonna want to spend it on a tentpole film.
  • 17:13 Talks about the need for a bench since they can only make so many Iron Man and Captain America sequels.  Says they’re actively going through the books and putting together a bench.

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