5:28pm PT by Todd Gilchrist
5 Things We Learned from Joss Whedon's 'Avengers' Twitter Chat
The Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon hosted a global Twitter chat Thursday with Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston and Clark Gregg. In advance of the unveiling of a TV spot that will run Sunday during the Super Bowl, fans interacted with the stars of the upcoming Marvel Studios tentpole and asked them to compare and contrast their experiences on Whedon’s film with previous comic book adaptations they’ve done.
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Check out a few of the revelations from this week’s chat:
1. Joss Whedon was an Avengers expert – enough to combine the supergroup’s multiple mythologies, as well as enough to miss a few characters he couldn’t fit into the film.
When asked how much preparation he had to do to familiarize himself with Avengers mythology, Whedon revealed, "I had already read them all." In terms of creating a story that paid tribute to the original conception of the group and was still recognizable to current fans, Whedon described his interpretation of the material as “a combo platter: classic, Ultimate, plus a little ‘Richie Rich’ & “Mastering the Art of French Cooking’.” Meanwhile, he indicated that there was a character he was disappointed not to be able to put into the film. "I'm a fan of the Wasp,” he said. “She's goofy and sting-y."
2. Samuel Jackson more or less lives in character as Nick Fury, even if can’t always fit into his costume.
Samuel L. Jackson, who played S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Nick Fury in the Iron Man films, Captain America and Thor, was already the spitting image of his character before he stepped into the role. (He allowed comic creators Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Allred to use his likeness when they reinvented the character in 2001.) When asked how he balances his personality with the conception of the character on the printed page, Jackson said, “there's a lot of Nick Fury in me already.” That said, he revealed that there might be too a little bit too much of him to inhabit Fury’s costume on film: “the biggest challenge in playing Fury was losing the weight to fit my costume and keep it off.” Finally, when asked which Avenger was his favorite, Jackson said, “Black Widow is my pick!” (He didn't clarify whether he meant his co-star, Scarlett Johansson, or the actual comic book character.)
3. Tom Hiddleston continues to develop himself as an actor as he discovers an identity for his confused character.
Prior to Thor, Tom Hiddleston was the Marvel Universe’s unknown quantity, since he would be playing one of its most formidable villains and yet he’d done relatively little that comics fans would know or have seen. But fan excitement was palpable as they asked him questions about the work he’s doing on The Avengers to develop the character further. “[He’s] More mischievous. More evil. More hubristic. More delusional. More damaged. More badass.” Revealing the character’s journey in the film, Hiddleston said, “He doesn't want revenge so much as identity. Belonging. Purpose. Self-esteem. Through delusional dreams.”
4. In The Avengers, Hiddleston balances the cerebral aspects of his Thor turn with more physical one as he faces off against the film’s heroes.
Although the actor joined in the action on Thor, his character Loki triumphed primarily because of his ability to outwit his adversaries. But he claims that Avengers demanded significantly more out of him physically, starting with even just his preparation for the film. "More stunts. More training. Day in, day out. Running, jumping, flying, twisting. We worked like athletes. It was really fun," he said, before indicating that the acting muscles were the toughest for him to flex.
"The biggest challenge was magnifying his menace without losing touch of his emotional truth. Keeping his chaos honest!"
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5. Clark Gregg joins Hiddleston as another Marvel movie vet who finds himself down in the trenches with his spandex-clad superhero charges.
As Agent Coulson, Clark Gregg has served an important if understated role in the Marvel Universe, providing a more bureaucratic counterpart to Jackson’s Nick Fury. But the character actor said that he finally gets to see, well, if not as much action as the actual superheroes, then at least more than he’s enjoyed in earlier Marvel movies. “Everybody sees more action in The Avengers,” Gregg said. “Hell, the audience even has to fight bad guys.” Additionally, he said that the film offered a much different portrait of the character and his place in the superhero world than in films past. “Very diff dynamic in [Iron Man], Thor and Avengers. Diff heroes, more layers to Coulson's world/powers revealed,” he tweeted.
As the chat wrapped, Gregg offered a decidedly unspecific answer to a question about what he likes most about playing Agent Coulson. “Every single part of it,” he said. One has to assume that extends to the extracurricular opportunities he’s enjoyed as he’s made the rounds at a variety of press interviews and public appearances.
“I may have signed some large boobs at NYCC,” Gregg bragged.