Set Visit: The Avengers


Jeremy Renner, as Hawkeye, is filming a scene on a replication of New York City's Grand Central Station in front of a massive green screen (it's NYC by way of New Mexico). Around him are taxis, city buses and cars, all destroyed. Some of them are on fire (which, by the way, isn't exactly helping the heat situation). Renner is battling an onslaught of aliens. As you may have heard, they're not Skrulls (as producer Kevin Feige would later put it bluntly: "The Skrulls are not in this film") and it's not immediately clear who they are or what they want - but they've clearly fucked shit up in New York City.

Hawkeye is to be attacking the aliens with his arrows (which coincidentally don't exist and will be CG'd in later), but Renner is having a particularly difficult time with today's fight choreography. And perhaps the stifling heat.

We're in the middle of the desert. Inside the middle of the desert, we're inside an abandoned train yard. It's probably 95 degrees outside. Inside this rusting metal hotbox, it's significantly hotter. Inside Jeremy Renner's leather Hawkeye costume it's….well, probably really uncomfortable. So you'll forgive the salty language.

"Shit! Goddamn it."

As it turns out, filming the biggest superhero movie of all-time is no cake walk.

Renner isn't the only one feeling the heat. With him, it's proverbial but for director Joss Whedon, it's literal.

"There was a time," Whedon says, "a couple weeks after I had taken the job when I suddenly went ARGHH." Of the endless work on the project, he adds jokingly, "I hope to finish it sometime before the DVD release." But Whedon says he reached clarity on the project when his wife reminded him it's "just another story" and he began to attack it like just another one of his internet videos.

"For me I do think of this as a classical movie, not something bombastic."

Whedon's work could have been made more difficult by star Robert Downey, Jr. - the longest tenured of The Avengers and an actor prone to crumpling up script pages and throwing them in the garbage on his way to set. But the notoriously finicky Downey says he found himself completely at ease with Whedon's work.

"It wasn't broke, so we didn't have to fix things," Downey says of Whedon's script. "It's actually been a relief. It's nice when the car kinda drives all by itself."

It may have helped that Whedon sat down with each of his cast members prior to filming. The director said it was "incredibly useful" to listen to his actors' feedback, answer their questions and see what requests they had for the film. Actors will be actors thought and when asked if there was anything he did or did not want to do in the film, Samuel L. Jackson told Whedon, "I don't want to run."

(As you'll see in the film, Jackson does indeed have to run. Whedon told him on set that day, "Just this one time…")

Renner isn't the only one have some difficulty on set. While Mark Ruffalo doesn't have a tight, black leather outfit, he does wear a green unitard fitting with ping-pong balls and white dots all over his face.

"My first day here…that was a miserable day. It was smoky, and I felt very uncomfortable," Ruffalo explains. "I was a miserable bastard. A trained actor reduced to the state of a Chinese checkerboard. And then once I got over everyone laughing at me …"

But Ruffalo says he was able to use this help motivate his character, who is something of an outsider with the rest of the Avengers. "I think that really works for Banner in this particular story."

So we have Ruffalo and Renner and Whedon all feeling the heat. Is anyone comfortable?

"Everybody looks incredibly uncomfortable until the cameras are rolling and then we all look fucking badass," says Scarlett Johansson, who most of the actors say had it the toughest. "Then 'Cut!' and we’re all like 'Aarrrgh… God, this thing, get it off me, it’s awful!'"

Before you get the idea that there are a bunch of prima donnas behind your toughest superheroes, Chris Evans puts it into context. "The first day you came to this set and Hemsworth's in his cape and Downey's got the armor on and…it's just been great! This has been the most geeked out I've felt on a movie set. I literally come sometimes and get truly, truly excited about coming to work."

If it hasn't been made clear yet, THE AVENGERS will be like any Marvel movie before it. There are four characters who have each had their own movie up to this point and an additional three characters on top of that. they all need to co-exist so there was clearly a lot that could've gone into the movie. But as Downey, Jr. explains, they wanted to stay away from that.

"It was not so much what to put in it but what to omit. Not necessarily so we can do it later but I think that some of the biggest and smartest choices were things that weren't included."

Loki has unleashed holy hell on Earth (New York City seems to be taking the brunt of it, if the trailers are any suggestion) and there's no time for Tony Stark to think about Pepper Potts or Thor to reunite with Jane.

It was Johansson who perhaps put it best: "There’s no time for romance. We have shit to avenge."


Source: JoBlo.com



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