Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay for The Avengers, so we know damn well that anytime two or more characters are talking, Marvel's ginormous ensemble is going to click like clockwork. Whedon has proven time and again that he can write endlessly playful dialogue, but Marvel and Disney can't exactly sell The Avengers as the superhero movie to end all superhero movies based principally on its dialogue; appealing to a broad audience is about action, right? That's why two new official stills from the film show members of Marvel's premier superteam getting their action on with aplomb. The first features the most cinematically well-established hero of the bunch, Iron Man, tooting around over the streets of Manhattan, while the second has Chris Evans as Captain America and Chris Hemsworth as Thor doing what they do.
The good news: A new international trailer for next summer's The Avengers has made its way online, and it contains some all new, previously unseen footage of the superteam in action. The bad news: It's all in German. As far as bad news goes, though, that's not so bad, since it's actually sort of really fun to hear Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark speaking Deutsch. Same goes for the rest of the team. And it's not that hard to get the basic idea, since the trailer follows the exact structure of the domestic teaser, but liberally sprinkles the new stuff throughout. Sharp-eared listeners with a passing knowledge of German will caught some Stark dialogue straight from the D23 Expo footage, and fans of Captain America will get to see Chris Evans hurling a shield and leaping from a plane.
Marvel Studios has unveiled two new international banners for The Avengers featuring all the major players in the film that we're aware of, all striking their heroic poses in two separate line ups. In fact, with two not terribly notable exceptions, they're all striking the same poses that they adopted in the two almost identical banners released a month ago. This time though, Marvel has removed the big "A" symbols from over everyone's image. So skip on down to see Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, and Tom Hiddleston as Avengers, agents of SHIELD, and a bad guy deity.
A decade of ubiquitous superhero movies have made the following sentence possible: Captain America has replaced Harry Osborn in a hitman movie starring the new General Zod. Following the departure of James Franco, Chris Evans has joined the cast of The Iceman, which stars Michael Shannon as the title character, real life professional murderer Richard Kuklinski. To clarify, Evans plays Captain America in Captain America: The First Avenger and the upcoming The Avengers, while Franco played Harry Osborn in all three Spider-Man films, and Shannon is currently filming his role as the villain in the Superman reboot Man of Steel. Moving on.*
So The Avengers is in the middle of post-production, meaning you can no longer rely on set photos and the like to provide your fix of Marvel crossover smack. Today, though, we have an info nugget that will not only give a little dose of The Avengers news, but will also delight fans of Iron Man and Iron Man 2. Specifically, fans of Tony Stark's snarky artificial intelligence program J.A.R.V.I.S. Apparently the auditory sidekick and convenient deliverer of exposition will not only have a part in Marvel's big ensemble, but Paul Bettany confirms that he will again be voicing the character.
Marvel's big cinematic crossover The Avengers, is a big spectacle by default, since never before has a studio attempted to roll several iconic heroes with their own established franchises into one mega-movie. The logistical challenges of putting together Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Incredible Hulk into one film are many, and as such, Joss Whedon is not, to many people, the most obvious choice to deliver a blockbuster worthy of those heroes, as he's only previously directed one feature film, Serenity.
But with his television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dollhouse, amongst other work, Whedon has demonstrated a deft had for character, particularly for the dynamics of large, contentious ensembles, making him sort of perfect for the material. In a surprisingly extensive new interview, the always-loquacious Whedon discusses several of the major characters and the process of bringing them all together.
Yesterday Marvel Studios made it known that composer Alan Silvestri is definitely providing the score for The Avengers, and today Marvel and Disney followed that auditory news up with two visual treats. A newly-released banner promoting the film is basically four character posters all lined up and ready for action, with Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., and Chris Hemsworth all striking their poses as Captain America, Bruce Banner aka The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, and Thor. Everyone looks pretty much just as superheroic as you'd expect, but the otherwise ordinary-looking Banner is given a bit of old-school green light and pupil action to let the average joe that he is, in fact, the Hulk. The overlaying of the classic Avengers A symbol is a nice touch, and it's incorporation into the release date is pretty cute.
After three years of elaborate buildup that began with Iron Man in 2008, the culmination of Marvel Studios' elaborate crossover plans is almost upon us, and even in an age of ubiquitous cinematic superheroes, excitement for The Avengers is damn near palpable. With principal photography long completed, writer-director Joss Whedon is busy with post-production, and he's apparently joined by Alan Silvestri, who is officially providing the film's musical accompaniment as composer on his second Marvel movie.
Actor Neal McDonough is absolutely no stranger to playing a superhero. The actor’s first comic book connection came in the mid-‘90s when he voiced the Marvel villain Firebrand on the Iron Man cartoon. This eventually led to a larger Marvel role as the voice of Dr. Bruce Banner on The Incredible Hulk cartoon series in 1996. McDonough jumped the Marvel ship in 2010 and went over to the other side with his brilliant portrayal of DC Comics’ emerald archer, in the short film DC Showcase: Green Arrow. But the actor has now comeback to the “House of Ideas” for his first ever live-action role as a comic book hero in Captain America: The First Avenger, which is available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning October 25th.
In the film, McDonough plays the beloved Marvel character Dum Dum Dugan who was a valuable member of the Howling Commandoes, an elite group of soldiers who aided Captain America in his fight against Hitler, the Nazis, HDYRA and the Red Skull during World War II. Dugan is a former circus strongman, and best recognized by comic book fans for his trademark bowler hat and handlebar mustache. When Captain America (Chris Evans) must recruit a team of soldier’s to help him defeat the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) he chooses the Howling Commandoes, which consists of Dugan, Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Gabe Jones (Derek Luke), Jim Morita (Kenneth Choi), James “Union Jack” Montgomery (J.J. Feild), and Jacques Dernier (Bruno Ricci). Under Captain America’s leadership they are able to defeat their enemies together and bring an end to WWII.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with actor Neal McDonough about his work on Captain America: The First Avenger, as well as a few of his other projects. In part two of our conversation, McDonough discusses the research he did in order to play Dum Dum Dugan, growing the character’s signature mustache, shooting his favorite sequence in the film, bonding on location with his fellow actors, and returning to the role for Cap 2, Nick Fury, and beyond.
The Avengers trailer has already been watched a whole lot of times by a whole lot of people, what with it being our best look thus far at Marvel Studios' unprecedented team-up of superheroes from no less than four different franchises. Last week, though, it got watched even harder, as the film's Oscar-nominated director of photography Seamus McGarvey was quoted in an interview saying that not only did he use his iPhone to capture shots for this $200 million superhero movie, but that those shots are actually in The Avengers trailer. The story went all kinds of viral and naturally, geeks the world over went through the trailer with a fine-toothed comb, looking for any indication of which shots it might be. Trouble is, McGarvey was misquoted, and did not, in fact, use an iPhone 4 to shoot any of The Avengers.