Robert Downey Jr. & Mark Ruffalo Talk 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'
We're still about two and a half months away from the debut of The Avengers: Age of Ultron in theaters, and across the pond, Empire Magazine has thrown the hype machine into overdrive with their latest cover issue focusing on the Marvel Studios sequel from director Joss Whedon. And since the big highlight of the teaser trailer and theatrical trailer so far has been the face-off between Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), who better to talk to then the Science Bros. themselves? Both Downey and Ruffalo talked about what's happening with their characters in the sequel, and what's in store for the future.
First up, let's focus on Robert Downey Jr., who says Age of Ultron is a beginning and an ending:
"'Age Of Ultron' feels like a beginning and an ending. In the script there’s a lot of references to that – it’s the ending of the beginning, the beginning of the ending – and honestly, what I was marvelling at in being there, back and forth to Shepperton and staying in Richmond up the road from Hemsworth and hanging out with Jimmy and getting to know Aaron Taylor-Johnson and all these new cast members, it’s just wild."
So where do we find Hulk in the sequel if he's fighting with Stark? Ruffalo explains:
“I think he’s definitely matured a little bit since the last one. He’s become more acclimated to this thing and to being part of the team. I think he feels more a part of them all. But in this particular take on it, it’s a much more character-driven version of The Avengers than the first one. It gets a little deeper into each character. S.H.I.E.L.D. is not happening anymore, so there’s not that much time spent with the S.H.I.E.L.D. stuff.”
So what's up with Hulk fighting Tony Stark in the Hulkbuster armor? The actor says:
"Hulk is the kind of wild card. He’s the loose cannon of the group. He’s more like an atom bomb. You could guess where he’s going to go but he could go either way. I think that there is, obviously, the day when everyone expects it to go wrong and that day comes. And they’re ready. And Bruce designed the contingency plan. As much as you feel Bruce has some mastery over it – certainly, with ‘I’m always angry’ and he can turn into it at will – I still feel that there’s some part of him that doesn’t completely trust it and doesn’t completely trust himself.”
It's pretty cool to hear that Banner came up with this contingency plan and relied on Stark to be the one who keeps him in check. But it sounds like the duality of Banner and Hulk may become a bigger problem in Age of Ultron. Ruffalo explains the struggle within:
"There’s a battle going on between these two opposing egos that live inside him. He’s definitely worried that the day is going to come when the Hulk gets the best of him, and maybe won’t release him, maybe won’t give him back. The Hulk knows this too. There’s a moment in here where he, begrudgingly, decides to go back to Banner. Who knows where these things will go, but as Bruce is able to impress his will on the Hulk, going into The Hulk and being inside the Hulk when he’s raging, The Hulk’s will is also growing and able to impress upon Bruce. That makes for some wild things. We’re laying the groundwork for that here. It’ll be interesting to see if that ends up being what would be the next Hulk movie."
Speaking of which, when is Hulk going to get his own movie again? After all, Marvel has plans through 2019, but still no word on when Ruffalo will get his own movie as Hulk. Well, it sounds like it's been a topic of discussion at Marvel, and Ruffalo says trying to get the right story together isn't easy with a character liker Hulk:
“It’s a tough nut to crack. Traditionally you’re watching a guy who doesn’t want to do the very thing that you want him to do. It’s hard to take for two hours. I don’t know how many times you can use that same framing for it, but now he’s maturing and there’s a cool dynamic growing between Banner and The Hulk."
But going back to Tony Stark, we already know what's in store for Robert Downey Jr.'s character since he's an integral part of Captain America: Civil War. And thankfully, Downey talked a little bit about the future of Stark. First of all, what made him get caught up in more Marvel movies after it seemed like he would be done with Iron Man soon? Downey seems to have an affinity for Cap himself, Chris Evans:
"I’m crazy about Evans. I really am. I don’t know why or how to explain this particular kinship we have. By the way, he hasn’t called me in six months. Honestly, in order for this whole thing to have worked, I did my part, Hemsworth knocked it out of the stadium and then it fell on Cap. That was the riskiest. It was the one that had the highest degree of difficulty in making it translate to a modern audience. It was the Russos and Chris who, I think, really hit the line drive and won the series. I remember glancing through it going, 'Wow, that’s a different way to go.' They said, 'If we have you, we can do this or Cap 3 has to be something else.' It’s nice to feel needed.
I also recognize that I’ll be turning 50 by the time I promote this movie. The clock is ticking down on the amount of memories and participation that I would allow myself and not embarrass the medium with. … Then there’s all this competition too. I don’t do this because I look at it as a competition, but I look at the marketplace and go, ‘Maybe if these two franchises teamed up and I can take even a lesser position in support, with people I like and directors I respect, maybe we can keep things bumping along here a little longer than they might have.'"
I'm not sure if that part where he mentions that Evans hasn't called him for six months is a personal little aside/joke or if that's something they're doing as actors to create more tension between Stark and Rogers. But at least they figured out a way to keep Downey around for more Marvel movies without him taking all the pressure for another solo Iron Man outing. So what's in store for Stark in Civil War? Downey explains what he liked about the approach to this sequel:
"The main thing to me is, and this is where I think the [Anthony and Joe Russo] are quite brilliant and where Kevin [Feige] backed the play, is what sort of incident could occur and what sort of framework could we find Tony in? The clues are in Ultron about where we might find him next. But what would it take for Tony to completely turn around everything he’s stood for, quote-unquote, because he was the right-wing guy who could still do his own thing. When the first Iron Man came out the liberals and conservatives were both like, ‘You’re our guy’. Yes! Score! But the idea of Tony being able to march into Washington and say, ‘I’ll sign up’, wouldn’t have made sense if the political climate in the real world hadn’t shifted the way it has. It’s a little bit of things following a real world continuum in, ‘What would you do?’"
So it sounds like without the presence of secret identities (though we don't know how Spider-Man will come into play after the new deal between Marvel and Sony Pictures), the struggle will be about holding these heroes responsible for the damage incurred from their battles trying to keep the planet safe. My bet is that the government wants oversight, and Stark, in his panicked state after Iron Man 3, and likely the presumed heightened destruction caused by Hulk and Ultron (something he's responsible for creating himself), is what makes Stark realize that they need to be controlled. But Rogers isn't on board.
Anyway, there's still a whole adventure with The Avengers that we haven't seen yet, and we'll have to wait patiently for a little while before The Avengers: Age of Ultron sets the stage for what will happen next in Captain America: Civil War. In addition, things are bound to get a little more complicated once Spider-Man enters the fray, which we've learned will happen in Civil War. But since the script was completed before the deal with Sony was finalized, it remains to be seen just how big of a role Spidey will have in his first official appearance in the Marvel cinematic universe. Stay tuned for more.