Welcome To Issue 76!
If This Is Your First Time Here: Welcome! This is my weekly column where I talk about superhero movie news, rumors and speculation.
This Week: A mostly hack-free column (one link in there, but I get it out of the way quick)! First we update on the Spider-Man deal, then we talk through the plot of Avengers: Age of Ultron assuming the new Lego sets aren't lying to us.
Lots going on in the Marvel Universe this week, or at least the perception that there is a lot going on, because some set visit interviews from Avengers: Age of Ultron solidified some rumored plot developments and a Lego set for the film does what Lego sets do: have us wondering if we’re being sold cool brick guys or being told about the progression of action scenes in the film.
Then, there’s Spider-Man.
As the hackers »
Joss Whedon wasn't sure he wanted to direct Avengers: Age of Ultron. When we caught up with him on the London set of the film this Summer, he admitted making the original Avengers left him feeling "ragged," exhausted, and not 100 percent sure whether he could take on a second film about the superhero squad. "It did take a lot out of me," he said. "Going in this time, I just had to sort of recalibrate my entire existence and throw myself into it more wholeheartedly and say, 'Ok. I'm gonna just invest myself in every part of it - in every production meeting, every location scout, and every question about a prop that I'd like to avoid.' I'm gonna give myself up to it like a Christian to a lion." Whedon's obvious passion for the characters overrode any doubts he might have had about his second outing in the franchise's director's chair. »
Sony pulled the Christmas Day release of “The Interview” on Wednesday after hackers levied threats to attack theaters showing the comedy, causing a slew of exhibitors to say they wouldn’t screen the movie.
The decision has already sparked a large variety of opinions, with many angry at the studio and exhibitors for pulling out of the film starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as a duo on a mission to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Industry figures including Judd Apatow, Rob Lowe, Jimmy Kimmel and more have taken to social media to weigh in, with several slamming Sony for the decision.
Read a list of tweets below, which will be updated as more come in:
I expect The Interview to turn up online. Because, dig it, you can knock the rock but you can't stop the rock.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 18, 2014
I have enjoyed movies that offended me deeply. »
- Variety Staff
Even though Revenge doesn’t return with new episodes until January, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of what the back half of the show’s fourth season will look likely thanks to this newest casting announcement. As first reported by TVLine, Suits’ Gina Torres is set to recur in the second half of Revenge Season 4. She will be playing “an aspiring socialite named Natalie Walsh.” Here’s how TVLine describes the character: In addition to her dreams of conquering high society — Natalie comes from “humble-but-ambitious roots” — she’s also arriving with a few enemies in her sights, though it’s not yet clear which Hamptons resident she’ll want to “drive a stake into.” In addition to Suits, Torres’ other past TV credits include Hannibal, Gossip Girl, Alias, 24, and, of course, her role as Zoe Washburne on the beloved Joss Whedon-created sci-fi series Firefly. Torres joins »
- Chris King
There’s less than five months to go before Marvel brings the curtain down on Phase Two of the Cinematic Universe with Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the director has been speaking in depth to IGN about the hotly-anticipated sequel, including expanding the world of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes with the introduction of new characters like The Vision, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, and of course the AI villain Ultron.
” I wanted Paul [Bettany] to play this part since before I wanted to make Avengers movies,” states Whedon on The Vision. “He’s just got, let’s face it, it’s about cheek bones, people… Before I took the first job, I said, ‘Well, I don’t know if I’m right for this, or if I want it, or you want me, but in the second one, the villain has to be Ultron, and he has to create the Vision.’ And »
- Gary Collinson
While Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is still months away from its already highly anticipated mid-season premiere in March of 2015, it’s not stopping us from reporting all the latest news we can get about the show while we wait. Today we may have something very exciting to look forward to. One of the characters that had a large presence last season and had a huge fan following was the character of Mike Peterson a.k.a. Deathlok, played by the marvelously talented J. August Richards who is most-known for his role Gunn Charles on the Joss Whedon drama Angel, the spin-off show of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The last time we saw him on the show was in the season one finale, where he told Skye (now also known as Daisy) that he had to go into hiding after he was controlled by John Garrett (Bill Paxton) and Hydra. »
It looks like Joss Whedon is once again going to blow Marvel fans away with the Avengers. The footage we've seen from Avengers: Age of Ultron looks insanely cool, but there's still so much more that has yet to be revealed. There are a bunch of interviews with the director from the set of the film that have surfaced, and in them he discusses a lot of different aspects about the movie, including the fact that he initially didn't want to do it! He explained to /Film,
"I didn’t actually want to make the film necessarily. I was ragged from the first one, and so I just turned off my brain. I was like, do not think of cool ideas for the next one. Just get through this. But after a few months when they talked about, um… This is now something that makes sense in my life; do I have anything to say? »
- Joey Paur
By this stage in the game, Marvel fans the world over have one eye trained on May 1, 2015 in anticipation of Avengers: Age of Ultron, but for a brief period in the early stages of development the sequel — or, rather, Joss Whedon’s involvement in it — wasn’t such a sure thing.
During a set visit over the summer months, the director spoke candidly with Collider and revealed that while he soon found ideas spewing out of him for the superhero follow-up, he initially had his doubts about picking up the megaphone and baseball cap once more.
I didn’t actually want to make the film necessarily. I was ragged from the first one, and so I just turned off my brain. I was like, do not think of cool ideas for the next one. Just get through this. But after a few months when they talked about, um… This is »
- Michael Briers
When Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron was filming in London last summer, I got to visit the set along with a few other reporters. Like most Marvel set visits, they let us talk to the entire cast and watch filming. While the production was guarded about what they were willing to tell us, we learned a ton of cool secrets behind what’s bound to be one of the biggest films of 2015. In The Avengers sequel, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) reunite to stop Ultron (James Spader) from carrying out his sinister plan. The film also stars Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle,Andy Serkis, and Samuel L. Jackson. While on set, I participated in a great group interview with Joss Whedon. He talked about how making The Avengers »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
On June 12th 2014, I visited the London set of Avengers: Age of Ultron. In October, we posted our on set interviews with Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr. Today we’ve been given the green light to publish our interview with Avengers series director Joss Whedon. Here is a short snippet from Joss explaining why he decided to […]
- Peter Sciretta
Shepperton Studios, Middlesex - Joss Whedon looked tired. And not just a little tired, either. He looked weary, deep down in his bones tired. He looked like he was ready to just fall down where he was and sleep for a week. I've seen a number of other directors in this state and it's always when they're near the end of production on one of these mega-movies. The pressure that's on these guys in enormous, and for Whedon, following up one of the biggest films of all time can't be easy. We sat in a small group facing Whedon in the Tony Stark lab, part of the Avengers Tower set, and asked him what his primary goal was walking into the sequel. "On the first one, I was a raggedy man when I made that film. It did take a lot out of me. Going in this time, I was like… »
- Drew McWeeny
Thanks to Collider, we now have more full Joss Whedon quotes from months ago when several reporters visited the London set of Avengers: Age of Ultron. After explaining his hesitation to return for the much-anticipated Marvel sequel, the writer/director was asked about The Vision's look and whether or not that was still being worked on as filming was underway. "No, we make them as close as we can," he replied. "The stunt guy, we have to make allowances for the shape of his face and padding and things that we’re putting on him, but they’re not meant to look different. Basically, what usually happens is, one of the guys, Ryan Meinderding or one of the guys on his staff draws something unbelievably beautiful, and we try to create that in real life, and it takes a long time. The first tests were very Violet Beaurogarde. It really »
The embargo has lifted (early) for another round of Avengers: Age of Ultron set visits reports and interviews, this time with writer/director Joss Whedon. According to Fandango, a number of journalists were on the London set earlier this year while Whedon was a directing a fight scene between Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and The Vision (Paul Bettany). "The cast is bigger," Whedon told the press. "The scope is bigger. We have more to work with. We have a bigger world to work with and a bigger world for [the Avengers] just to be in. Once they exist as a team, we have to deal with what everybody thinks about that, and what that means to the world. So it's not as simple as it was." Joss Whedon then reiterated that he had wanted Ultron to be the villain of The Avengers sequel even before he agreed direct the first movie. "Before I »
Joss Whedon is a superhero. A Marvel superhero, that is The writer and director behind Marvel's The Avengers helped alter the comic book-movie genre forever when his film went on to become one of the most beloved superhero movies of a generation, not to mention earn itself the distinction of being the third highest grossing movie of all time. And he did it all without even wearing a cape. Now he's back for the sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron (in theaters May...
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Joss Whedon is a superhero. A Marvel superhero, that is The writer and director behind Marvel's The Avengers helped alter the comic-book-movie genre forever when his film went on to become one of the most beloved superhero movies of a generation, not to mention earn itself the distinction of being the third highest grossing movie of all time. And he did it all without even wearing a cape. Now he's back for the sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron (in theaters May 1,...
Read Comments »
When we saw Joss Whedon on the set of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" this past summer, he looked like he had been beaten up by the movie's robotic bad guy. Bags drooped under each eye, he moved slowly, looked gaunt, and, while giving his answers the characteristically snappy Joss Whedon delivery, the way that countless characters of his have talked over the years in various TV shows and movies, this time it sounded more forced and battle-hardened. We were inside Avengers Tower, which had been mostly destroyed by Ultron (you can see bits of this in the trainer) and it looked like Whedon was part of that collateral damage.
But who could blame him? This was day 72 of the shoot, and there was at least another month of principle photography left to go. He was tired. And he was also under an incredible amount of pressure. Last time out, Whedon's »
- Drew Taylor
Let’s be honest: in terms of screenwriting, women tend to get the short end of the stick. It’s not so much a deliberate effort to negate women, it’s just on some level the (normally male) writer’s fundamental lack of understanding on how to write female characters. For every hundred great male roles, there’s just a few well-written and nuanced female ones.
However, if you were to cherry-pick a few headlines from this past year then things are looking up for women in movies. The action thriller Lucy, in which Scarlett Johansson essentially obtains superhuman powers, grossed over $330,000,000 worldwide. Meanwhile, director Joss Whedon revealed that there would be four major female roles in Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.
If only these were signs of some kind of larger progress. While this year has seen its fair share of great women characters (Reese Witherspoon’s »
- Jesse Gumbarge
While Marvel has delighted fans with the return of characters like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America in Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a question that has been repeatedly brought up by fans is, "Where.s Hulk?" The green monster became a fan favorite after Joss Whedon.s The Avengers in 2012, and yet the film studio decided that he would be the only one of the four core team members without a solo movie sequel. Why? It turns out it was decided that he could be kept temporarily as a character unique to Avengers films. It was director Joss Whedon who let this interesting tidbit slip while we had the chance to talk to him this summer while visiting the set of The Avengers: Age of Ultron with a small group of other film journalists. The writer/director was discussing the use of Hulk in the movie and the »
Joss Whedon did something truly incredible at the helm of the first Avengers movie. In unprecedented fashion, he brought together not just a team of blockbuster superheroes, but brought together multiple franchises into one super movie. As impressive as his work was, however, it turns out that what he was really always looking forward to in the future was making an Avengers movie featuring The Vision. This past summer, I was a member of a small group of journalists who flew out to England to visit the set of the upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it was while interviewing Joss Whedon that he revealed that he had a clear idea of what he wanted to do with the film even before he knew what he was doing with the original. Discussing the look of The Vision, the writer/director revealed that he wanted to turn Paul Bettany into »
Directed by Peter Jackson
New Zealand/USA, 2014
To fully appreciate Peter Jackson’s last foray into Middle-Earth, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, one must understand it’s actually two separate movies. The first movie is a sour, pseudo-Shakespearean morality play that has nothing to do with Hobbits. The second movie is a heartfelt rumination about friendship and self-sacrifice. For those willing to overlook the sour for the sweet, there are great treasures to be found, as Jackson brings his trilogy to a suitably-epic conclusion.
Well, Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and his crew of Dwarves have really done it this time. They ticked off the evil, treasure-hoarding dragon, Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch), and now the good folks of Laketown must pay the price. In a spectacular opening sequence, »
- J.R. Kinnard
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