We’re just over 50 (fifty!) days away from the release of Marvel’s superhero epic The Avengers, and the folks at Collider (source) have compiled tons of great interview answers and quotes from director Joss Whedon after several members of the press caught up with him at SXSW this past weekend. Check out some of the highlights below!
Runtime and Home Video Director’s Cut?
According to Collider, Joss Whedon’s original cut of The Avengers was three hours long; the final cut that we will all see on May 4 has been whittled down to 2 hours and 15 minutes. So, can we expect to see all of that extra footage in a director’s cut version when the film is released on home video?
Not likely, says Mr. Whedon. “I had always intended to go over two, under two and half hours. … I believe very strongly in putting the director’s cut into the theaters.” Sounds quite a bit like Christopher Nolan and David Fincher, if you ask me. It’s likely that much of what was cut out never made it past rough effects and post-production, so most of what we would see in the form of deleted scenes and outtakes would be unfinished effects work. Not that that’s a bad thing: check out the blu-ray of Sin City, and you’ll see just how cool a special feature like that can be.
Marvel Easter Eggs
If you’ve watched films from this specific Avengers universe, you know that Jon Favreau and company have long been fans of “easter eggs”, or putting little bits of Marvel universe films into another film, such as the Captain America shield seen in Iron Man (above, under RDJ’s arm), the Tony Stark cameo in The Incredible Hulk (although not a Marvel Studios production), Thor’s hammer in Iron Man 2, and various Nick Fury cameos throughout the series of films. Whedon says he isn’t too big a fan of easter eggs and referencing other works in his films, although he did say that there are a few nods to the previous (and future) Marvel Avengers flicks.
“The score is very old-fashioned, which is why [composer Alan Silvestri] was letter perfect for this movie, because he can give you the heightened emotion, the [Hans] Zimmer school of ‘I’m just feeling a lot right now!’ But he can also be extraordinarily cue and character specific, which I love.” – Joss Whedon
I don’t know about you, but when someone tells me that the score for a movie I’m already hyped for is Zimmer-esque, I tend to get a bit more excited. And Joss Whedon did just that for me with that simple quote. If you don’t think you’re familiar with Zimmer, you actually probably are. He has scored scores (sorry, had to do it) of great films, including but not limited to Driving Miss Daisy, The Lion King, The Thin Red Line, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Inception, and more recently, he has just finished up work on The Dark Knight Rises.
Silvestri has also scored each of the Back to the Future films, Forrest Gump, and Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger.
I’m officially sold.
Avengers 2: Story and Scope
You mean The Avengers isn’t even out yet and we are already talking The Avengers 2? Did you expect anything else?
When asked how he thought he could top The Avengers with a follow-up, Whedon had this to say:
“By not trying to [go bigger]. By being smaller, more personal, more painful. By being the next thing that should happen to these characters and not just a rehash of what seemed to work the first time. By having a theme that is completely fresh and organic to itself.”
How’s that for refreshing?
In a world where sequels and threequels always make their best attempt to go bigger and more epic than the previous film, so many of these new movies fail. Look no further than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Michael Bay tried to go bigger than the first one, to outdo himself by taking the things that worked in the first film and trying to make them work better. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way.
Whedon’s quote explains why Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise has worked so well. Batman Begins was a fresh take on an already-established hero and universe. And he followed it up with The Dark Knight, which, while likely considered to be “bigger” and “more epic” than Batman Begins, is not a simple rehash of what worked in the first film. It’s the next progression in the story. And it looks as though Nolan has done the same thing with The Dark Knight Rises; he’s increased the scope, yes, but it doesn’t seem to be a rehash of The Dark Knight — despite what the addition of Rises to the title may suggest.
While we are likely a couple of years away from another Avengers film, and with Iron Man 3 and sequels to Thor and Captain America likely to come down the chute, hopefully Whedon and the rest of the Marvel Studios team can continue to make organic, refreshing films that don’t strictly rely on the successes of their previous works.
There is more information from the Whedon interviews over at Collider, including discussion of villains, an explanation of what all was removed from the first cut, so head on over to check out more on one of this year’s most anticipated releases.
The Avengers hits theaters May 4.
What are your thoughts? Are you excited for The Avengers? Planning to check it out on opening night? Let us know in the comments section below!