To say that Joss Whedon is working on the most high-profile project of his career would be a loaded proclamation, even if that project is "The Avengers". From “Buffy” onward, Whedon’s creations have procured the kind of loyal fanhood studios dream of.
However, since the ravenous base of Whedonites pledge their allegiance to the director’s distinctive sense of humor and character work, there's some concern that with such a high-profile film aimed at mainstream audiences, fans may see the Whedon they love watered down, if only ever so slightly.
“There are definitely stipulations and restrictions,” said Whedon of potential creative concessions in the upcoming "Worlds of Whedon" special issue of SPX magazine. "But [Marvel Studios President of Production] Kevin Feige is very active as a producer and worked with me a lot on the story, but they are absolutely honouring the fact that this is my film."
In the midst of re-writing “Captain America” and kneading out continuity knots with Kevin Feige, Whedon revealed his general mindset on masterminding Marvel’s central film property.
“I’m feeling that everything that I have done before has prepared me for this, besides the fact that I’ve been reading The Avengers since I was 11," he said.
Yet those knots can be tough to work out within a cinematic crossover as mammoth as “The Avengers”, and Whedon admitted the preliminary phase of scripting the film has “been a bear.”
“I’m still doing it because it’s finding out how to introduce people to all of these people in this world. By the way, there’s a thunder god,” He joked. “You guys are cool, right? This guy is big and green and this character wears an American flag. It’s all good, right? It’s totally real world.’ Finding the tone and plots that are coherent is what I go to bed thinking about and wake up thinking about, but it’s doable.”
The director went on to praise Marvel Studios for raising the bar with ambitious casting choices.
“What I kind of think ultimately defines Marvel Studios was the first thing they did and that was cast Robert Downey Jr," he explained. "They said, ‘What if we got great actors and let them have some time to be the people they’re supposed to be instead of going through the paces of hitting this mark and that mark?’ They don’t always ?get it right, but nobody does. But if ?you look at who they already had, and who they allowed me to add to the cast, they are thinking about the integrity of the characters."
"Obviously we have to get from point A to point B, and fans really want to see this—and ideas for set pieces which I said are great," he said. "Now I’m going to make them matter and they are completely on board with the idea.”
With Marvel’s stellar casting awaits the question: will working with such seasoned thespians give Whedon a taste for Oscar-baiting feats of dramatic intensity?
“What I will struggle with, in the outline and throughout, is that I would like to put these actors in a room and just make 'Glengarry Glen Ross,'" he joked. “We’re talking about really exciting people and at the same time I have to keep the momentum of the thing going. I can’t let it turn into a lull fest. Knowing that I have enough time to do both of those things – that by the end of the movie you will feel ‘in’ with these guys – is the trick. It’s not an easy one but one that Marvel absolutely honors."
"They don’t hire [new Hulk] Mark Ruffalo to say one iconic line and strike a pose," he added. "They hire him because he has so much humanity in him. He’s the antithesis of the iconic actor. He’s so human. He was my first choice to play the part, and the fact he is playing the part is nuts! They went to great lengths to make that happen and they understood exactly why he was right for the part.”
Will dialogue in 'The Avengers' will be just as distinctively Whedon as that of his TV projects? How do you think Robert Downey Jr.'s sense of humor will gel with Whedon's? Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!