Like the characters they portray in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, who breathlessly save Manhattan from an Armageddon of apocalyptic proportions, the cast of the new superhero extravaganza from Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures swept into London’s West End this afternoon, to provide the press with the lowdown on what promises to be one of this summer’s biggest box office hits.
Producer Kevin Feige was joined on the stage by Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Hawk Eye), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Cobie Smulders (Agent Maria Hill) and Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulson), to explain how the film came to fruition and what it meant to be a part of such a global franchise.
The characters of THE AVENGERS are already recognisable to many through their original comic book creations, a point emphasised by Feige. “We wanted to replicate the experience readers had had through the comics”, he explained. Tom Hiddleston, who plays the evil demigod Loki in the film, saw the popularity of the comics as a bonus where the film’s potential success is concerned, “we have an already built fan-base, and it’s a privilege to have fans who care so much”.
“Though the characters had had their own adventures before this film, we wanted something which brought them all together yet still let them keep their individuality”, said Feige. A point Hiddleston again agreed on, “as an actor you want a director who respects your ownership of the character, which Joss Whedon (the film’s director / screenwriter) did through his phenomenal screenplay”. This was also pointed out by Johansson. “Joss Whedon met each of us separately before shooting commenced to find out exactly what we wanted from our characters. He’s very keen on dynamic and confident female characters” – characteristics evident in all of the film’s three leading females (Johansson, Smulders and Gwyneth Paltrow who plays Tony Star / Iron Man’s PA Pepper Potts).
Though the film clearly required major special effects and large set-pieces (particularly during its climatic battle above the skyscrapers of Manhattan), Feige took pains to enforce that ” we wanted the stars to shine more than the effects”. This emphasis on characterisation was one of the factors which attracted Ruffalo to his role. “I was a fan of the Hulk comics and television show as a kid, and was most excited about my role in the film because I would be the first actor to play both Bruce Banner and The Hulk.”
This opportunity to shine was clearly something Robert Downey Jr felt strongly about. A man who always make his presence felt Downey Jr enforced the already widely held impression that he likes to take centre stage by being the only cast member present to appear in dark glasses, which made him stand out even in the presence of such assembled star wattage. When asked what his favourite action part in the film was he swiftly replied, “any where I fell out of a building because it generally involved only me”!
And so, as quickly as they’d appeared the superhero’s had gone again, heading for the film’s European premier at the VUE cinema in London’s Shepherd’s Bush – an event guaranteed to be as impressive as the film itself.
Read our 5 star review for Avengers Assemble