One of this Fall’s most anticipated cinematic events is Marvel Studios’ETERNALS. The star-studded Superhero flick is directed and co-written by Academy Award-winning Filmmaker Chloé Zhao. ETERNALS centers on an alien race of immortals who re-surface after thousands of years to protect earth and its inhabitants from the evil Deviants.
We were incredibly-fortunate to sit-in on the global press conference for Marvel Studios’ ETERNALS and it was a star-studded affair with guests including:
Bryan Tyree Henry
In this epic panel, its stars and Creators shared a common sentiment – their great respect for Zhao in helping them find a truth about themselves in their respective characters. One interesting thing about this Film is that these Superheroes don’t look like your typical kind because in order for them to reflect humanity, they should look like humanity.
Producer Kevin Feige talks about this bold new step in direction for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Feige: “Post-Infinity Saga, we wanted to take a bold new step and say we don’t know everything about the universe, yet. And there are these ten spectacular superheroes you haven’t met who’ve been here the whole time.”.
Director/Writer ChloéZhao is asked about her first meetings with Feige and what they looked like.
Zhao: “It started with me showing him a Macro Photo of sand and quoting a Poem from William Blake and in that Poem, Blake is trying to convey that you can see the endless beauty of the cosmos, even within the smallest things you can find on earth. The vision of the Film was to set-out to capture that scale. Something as large as the creation of the sun to the whispers of lovers. Going on location and doing this kind of an immersive shoot together with the support of this amazing Cast is how we got here today.”.
Thena is the Goddess of War, played by Angelina Jolie. She is asked how she finds strength and survival in her own survivor story, in addition to what attracted her to the role?
Jolie: “I was attracted to this project for many reasons. I am a fan of the MCU, was a big fan of Chloé, and when they first talked to me about the story, it really was the Cast and the idea of what this family would be. I really just wanted to be a part of this family even before I know who I was I was going to play.”.
“Chloé‘s known for bringing-in reality to film, to somebody’s true self. So a lot of us were cast to bring out something from our own lives, something that we weren’t even aware of and then let it live and grow within the Film. She’s maybe the most fantastic thing I’ve ever played in a superhero, and yet my children thought she was the most like me they’ve ever seen. It’s hard to talk about her but her vulnerability – which she’s trying to balance -and being able to be the same woman who’s also considered very strong.. and yet she’s able to holds both, which most people do.
Sersi is played by Gemma Chan,who learns her places and embraces her strengths as the story progresses.
Chan: “Sersi is a superhero, but her powers aren’t the most obvious and flashiest. She might not be the best fighter, but what she does have is empathy and a real affinity for humankind. She’s a free spirit. I love that. That’s one of the most enjoyable things about thing Film going on this journey with the character. She learns to trust herself and grow into her own power really. That’s a really interesting thing to explore.”.
Richard Madden plays Ikaris, one of the most powerful Eternals, who is in a conflict of love (with Sersi) vs. loyalty in the Film.
Madden: “I’m used to playing lovers often. But to play someone who’s such a soldier, completely driven by love, is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. He’s actually wrestling with two characters who are very full of love and it comes out he’s actually the opposite of that. He’s trying to bury that love because it gets in the way of his duties. He’s constantly wrestling with it and that made it interesting for me.”.
Salma Hayek talks (hilariously) about finding success as a superhero at an unconventional stage in life.She plays spiritual leader, Ajak.
Hayek: “This was really humbling. I dream big. And in my big dreams I wanted to be a superhero, work with the best Directors in the world, make big Blockbuster movies and movies that are Art from a very big place. But it didn’t happen for me. You fight for it in your 20s, 30s and 40s and you go, ‘Screw them! They don’t get it! They missed out! I would’ve been a great superhero! Screw them! I’m gonna go do something out, like have a baby!’. (laughs) And then you give up! It’s very humbling when you’re in your 50s, a brilliant Director gives you the opportunity to do both! I was wrong. Everything is possible.”.
KumailNanjiani brings a ‘Bollywood Swagger’ to his role of Kingo and even does a musical number. He talks about the challenges of going outside his comfort zone.
Nanjiani: “I can’t put Chloé on the spot, and I can’t swear, so put-in a swear word here! Chloé lied to me. When we first talked about the Movie, she said there was a Bollywood dance scene and I said ‘I don’t think I can do that.’, She said ‘Okay, we’ll make it a Bollywood action scene and as soon as I got to London hehehe.. it’s a dance scene! And I was like, ‘Get me a dance teacher alright?’. And they were wonderful teaching me the Choreography, working with me for months and months because I was so outside my comfort zone.”.
“For me, ultimately it came down to trust… usually my instinct is to have a moment of and fear, but in meeting her, I realized she’s not going to let me suck in this thing so if she wants me to do something, I’m gonna do it!”.
“She had this whole Movie, this whole universe inside her head. I didn’t understand it until I watched the Movie. I felt, ‘This isn’t something I would do, but if Chloé says do it, let’s do it!'”.
Brian Tyree Henry plays Phastos, an intelligent inventor. He talks about finding the humanity in his character, who experiences his share of despair.
Henry: “I think it really came down to trust and I really wholeheartedly trusted Chloé, to piggyback off of Kumail. What attracted me to this part was I think of all the black men out there and how we are portrayed. What I love most about Phastos is that he is an Ancestor. All of us are Ancestors, technically. So Phastos predates everything and goes through all these things which actually makes him lose faith in humanity very quickly. And I remember coming into this project, I lost faith in humanity and just looking at all the things we’ve been through and looking at images of how black men were portrayed and how power was taken away from us, the lack of power. What I love about Phastos is that him being an Eternal, knowing that he can never die, he still chose love and still decides to have a family even though he may have to watch them perish. And try to bring heart and love into everything he did. It just really resonated with me.”.
“I remember the first time they approached me to be a superhero and I asked, ‘How much weight do you want me to lose?’, and Chloé said ‘What are you talking about? We want you exactly as you are.’. And to be a black man and have someone say they want you exactly the way you are is unlike anything I’ve ever felt.”.
Kit Harrington plays Sersi’s human boyfriend Dane, who seems to handle all sorts a catastrophe with a calm cool.
Harrington: “He’s a nice guy. I felt from the beginning I had to represent something that was worth saving. I hope that Dane comes-off a nice, stand-up guy and one thing I respect about him is that a man flies out of the sky shoots lasers out of his eyes and steals his girlfriend, and he’s kinda cool with it!”.
“I come in at the start and in some ways intro the Movie, and then it goes its own wonderful direction, so I felt a bit separate, but I do think the advantage is that you do have a glimpse of the humans at the start and it tells you who these guys truly are trying to save.”.
Some Snaps from the Junket:
Marvel Studios’ ETERNALS arrives in theatres November 5, 2021.
*Please exercise caution in observing COVID-19 protocols if seeing this in-theatre*.
The buzz is feverish for Marvel Studios’ SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS! Starring Toronto’s own Simu Liu, the Action-Fantasy takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Shang-Chi (Liu) was trained at a young age to be an Assassin and after living a normal life in San Francisco, he’s draw-in to the Ten Rings organization, having to face again a part of his life he left behind. The Film is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Just Mercy) and stars a notable Cast including Tony Leung, Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina, Sir Ben Kingsley, Meng’er Zhang and Ronny Chieng.
We got to sit-in on on the global Press Conference for the Film and joining us were:
Destin Daniel Cretton – Director
Kevin Feige – Producer
Simu Liu – Shang-Chi
Awkwafina – Katy
Ben Kingsley – Trevor Slattery
Meng’er Zhang – Xialing
Ronny Chieng – Jon Jon (Moderator)
Destin Daniel Cretton is asked what drew him to take on directing SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS.
Cretton: I feel the stories I am drawn to are a combination of humour and optimism, but also not shying away from the very real darkness and pain that we all experience as humans. I think this Movie really does encapsulate a lot of the things that I believe in.
Sir Ben Kingsley talks about cultural conversation and social impact of his Oscar-winning role in Gandhi and whether Shang-Chi in terms of storytelling and societywill have similar impact.
Cretton: When you hear Destin‘s intentions behind this story, they are crystal-clear, lucid, pure motives. They are life-enhancing and not patronizing, because they do introduce in a beautiful way, memory, ancestry, loss and families torn apart, reunited and reconfigured. All of this is from Destin‘s heart, Kevin‘s heart and the Writers’ hearts. And if your motives are pure as a storyteller, the angels will come to assist you with that story.
This story ultimately will be healing because it’s not propaganda, it’s just a really beautiful story. I as an Actor, Trevor (reprising his Iron Man 3 character)of course is a Shakespearean actor and he finds himself transported into a completely exotic environment, but he survives. And thanks to the welcome Kevin, Destin and my beautiful colleagues gave me. I have done 17 out of Shakespeare‘s whole canon of plays, so I’m sort of a Shakespearean actor. As soon as I arrived on-set, the fact that my colleagues were of a different culture was immaterial and irrelevant. We are Actors together and we live on empathy and transformation and this is our currency. All the rest is irrelevant. If we can demonstrate that energy, ultimately it will be healing and soothing.
Meng’erZhang talks about stage acting and film acting, playing Shang-Chi‘s estranged sister, Xialing.
Zhang: Oh, it was so different because this was my very first film experience and I am so lucky to work with all of them. Sir Ben, I asked him a lot of questions on-set. As he said so beautifully, when we are on-stage, we are landscape artists and when we are in front of camera, we are portrait artists. And I felt that gave me a very clear image. I literally took notes!
Kingsley: I thought you were just correcting my spelling!
Zhang: I also remember when we were doing some stunts, it was so different from stage acting. I remember the makeup team doing the final touch-up on my fringe to make sure everything was perfect. Someone came to tell me ‘Meng’er, there’s going to be a bit of wind and water’, so I said ‘Okay!’ and I was ready. Then, 3-2-1, action! And then the wind was like… (making aggressive wind sounds). And then okay, reset! (laughing).
Awkwafina talks about physicality of her character Katy, a close friend toShang-Chi.
Awkwafina: I’d say this was slightly more physically demanding. But not physically-demanding as in like wind, but more like I was falling as a team with gravity. When I fall, my neck kinda gives out. It’s kind of a ‘me issue’ as I don’t have the will power to lift it up.
I actually went to a race track and learned how to drift, which was really fun but probably not practical in any scenario. And I learned how to shoot a bow and arrow.
Simu Liu comments on working with some of the Film’s heavy hitters.
Liu: It was like Impostor Syndrome every single day. Truly, it was such a treat. I did all I could do not to mess it up. When I was first cast, I did my final screen test with Nora (Awkwafina) and she did such a wonderful job putting me at ease. My nerves were sky-high. I was an Actor from Toronto and never had ever allowed myself to imagine being part of the MCU(Marvel Cinematic Universe). I mean, it’s the craziest dream someone could possibly dream. Nora did a great job putting me at ease. And just being in the moment with me. We had such a beautiful chemistry. This bickery, old couple chemistry right from the get-go. As I met more members of the Cast like Tony Leung, Michelle Yeoh and Sir Ben, every day it was like waking-up to another dream. And then having Meng’er come join us too when we were all in Sydney, it was fantastic. She was great. I can’t wait for people to watch the Movie because who you are in real life and in the Movie, they are really parts of you, but really so polar opposite.
Ronny, you were fine. We were shut down for four months during the pandemic.Ronny, was living a couple floors above me.
Awkwafina: Ronny, would come with me and sneak into the gym and say ‘I’ve been working out with Simu!’
Chieng: I’m trying to get that free Marvel workout. You know what? I’m going to use this pandemic to get super-ripped and I end up doing 10% of the weights Simu was doing every day!
Simu Liu talks about on his casting.Is it true he Tweeted at Marvel and got the role of Shang-Chi?
Liu: When you Tweet at Marvel, you’re thinking it’s going to some 19-year-old intern and nobody’s gonna ready that or care what I have to say! Maybe they did!
Feige: I did not see that! Unfortunately Simu, it was not your Tweeting. It was your acting ability and constant professionalism and multiple reads and meetings that you did. Now did Sarah Finn our Casting Director see that, that I don’t know! That’s a cosmic wonder!
Daniel Destin Cretton comments on the use of Mandarin-Chinese in scenes in the Film.
Cretton: The conversation behind which language they should be speaking was always rooted in the logic of the character and who would naturally be speaking what language. So that started in the Writers’ Room and once our Actors came in, it was always a dialogue. These are bilingual, trilingual, quadrilingual characters who could speak whatever made sense at the time. So we were constantly having the conversation what made sense for the scene.
Feige: One moment I particularly like is where Simu‘s character speaks to Awkwafina‘s character and says ‘Oh no, my Chinese isn’t good’ and Simu’s character says, ‘Don’t worry, I speak ABC!’.
Awkwafina: That was really a big moment. Culturally, you just never see that.
Liu: ABC means American-born Chinese but it’s the first time in a Movie where someone just calls it out!
Marvel Studios Canada release SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS Friday, September 3, 2021.
Taking place after the events of AVENGERS: ENDGAME, THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER reunites Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) over six episodes as the duo take on a ruthless anti-patriotism group, the Flag-Smashers. The new Series continues Marvel‘s foray into Television, hot off the success of WandaVision. These two Series are just the first of least ten in development right now for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the MCU.
The Series in the vein of Buddy Cop Comedies like Rush Hour/Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours, pairs Sam and Bucky together as they cope with PTSD, exploring its emotional repercussion on these characters.
We were fortunate to join the Global Press Conference for THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER today. Speaking today were:
Anthony Mackie – Sam Wilson Sebastian Stan – Bucky Barnes Kevin Feige – Producer Malcolm Spellman – Writer/Producer Kari Skogland – Director
Interesting Canadian connections, the Series stars Canada’s Emily VanCamp, reprising her role as Sharon Carter, and Director Skogland hails from Ottawa and has been behind the lens on acclaimed Series like The Handmaid’s Tale and The Loudest Voice.
Mackie and Stan are asked about getting an opportunity and more room to explore new sides to their characters on THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER.
Mackie: “It’s always a surprise when the minds get together and the information trickles down to you. When I first read the Script, I was really happy and acknowledged the fact that Sam was from Louisiana, the best state in the union and New Orleans is the best city in the world. I had one request that if he was from Louisiana that he got to eat crawfish on camera. I don’t know who said ‘no’, but somebody said ‘no’. I don’t know if it was because they were out of season, but it was too much to eat crawfish.”.
“The idea of Sam Wilson, he’s always evolved in the world of Marvel Comic Books and now he’s evolved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Because if you remember when Sam Wilson first started out, he was a hustler from Harlem and as African-American culture evolved, Stan Lee evolved him in the Comic Book to different incarnations of himself. I’m excited for everyone to see the new and improved Sam Wilson.”.
Stan: “I always learn something about myself from this character. But ten years with this character, it’s impossible not to. You grow and you evolve with the character and I was pretty freaked out. Again, I felt like we had established the character a certain way and there were certain things I knew about him that I was comfortable with tonally in the movies and we had the contrast of going into this now and asking ‘What is he like now?’.”.
“Part of this was us really honing-in on his sense of humour so to speak, into the tone of the Series, particularly with is dynamic with Sam Wilson along with my own dynamic with Anthony – kinda just marrying the two. I think that was scary and exciting and Malcolm (Head Writer/Producer) really honed-in on that. I think we’re really finally zooming-in on his quest for identity in terms of really accepting his past and re-educating himself. The world that he’s in currently, the ideas and principles he might’ve lived by and been driven by at one point, no longer serve him the same way. He’s really an interesting trajectory when we start-out the Show and that’s always exciting for an Actor.”.
Mackie and Stan talk about their working dynamic together.
Mackie: “What I enjoy so much is that you can’t find two people further opposite from each other than Sebastian and I. But there’s a mutual respect, appreciation and understanding. We listen, learn and we teach each other. We’re friends and that’s a term I don’t think either of us would use lightly. I think because of that as Mr. T would say, ‘There’s no jibber-jabber‘. We allow ourselves to be our best selves and correct ourselves when we’re not our best selves. So you always look for that other person, that second hand. And I think that’s kind of our relationship. We allow ourselves to be ourselves.”.
Stan: “I think he said it best. I always believed you were always better because of the people you surround yourself with and I feel particularly in acting, the scenes and material, it’s always about the people that bring out things in you actually. I think in this particular situation it was important because I think about the tone and it was a fine line between making sure these characters were grounded real and deal with very serious issues. There’s sorta another piece to this about having fun, connecting and I always turn to Anthony for guidance in that and it works out.”.
The Series really focuses in on its characters in the aftermath of PTSD.Its stars elaborate on this.
Mackie: “To be able to go back and dive into his back story, his family and his surroundings only betters the character for the audience. We’re in a place now where we want the audience to know and learn these new characters especially since Kevin Feige killed Iron Man! (jokingly) We have to introduce these new characters to the audience and give them that relationship, that history that they’ve built over ten years. We have six episodes to play catch-up, post-Blip. It’s always great to learn more and give more from your character and have it not feel like heavy exposition and just like a good cinematic experience.”.
Stan: “The whole subject of PTSD and the experience they both share as soldiers and men who have served is one of the things that brings them together. There’s a bit of an honour code between and even though they come from different ideas and opinions of things, there’s a mutual respect. As everybody knows, PTSD isn’t something you’re just done with, it’s something that one has to continue to grow with to become better at dealing with. It’s a major part of our Show and grounds both of these characters in very realistic ways.”.
ProducerFeige comments on the possibility of additional seasons to come.
Feige: “It’s one we get asked a lot more in Television because people expect it to be like things they’ve known before. We really did approach it like the Movies in that we better make this great or we won’t be able to make another one! If we were able to make another one, we’ve definitely got ideas. The slight difference is like in Wandavision, they will go back and forth between the Disney+ Series and Marvel Studios movies, so where characters show up and whether it be in Season Two or a Feature, we’re just not going to say who does what right this second.”.
At the end of Avengers: Endgame, we see Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) pass-on his shield to Falcon (Sam Wilson). Mackie is asked why it is so tough for his character to accept the shield.
Mackie: “Sam Wilson went on this Avengers journey over six movies with Steve Rogers (Captain America) because of his respect and admiration for Steve. He says in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, ‘When Captain America shows up at your door, you answer.'”.
“There’s still people out there who appreciate camaraderie and friendship. Sam is one of those people. He enjoys his friend. Just like everyone else, you don’t want to see Steve Rogers go away. Because just like Captain America was your captain, he was Sam Wilson‘s captain. That’s why at the end of Avengers: Endgame, he’s holding Steve‘s shield and says, ‘It feels like someone else’s, it feels like it’s yours’, because he was a fan just like everyone else.”.
“Sam Wilson is just a regular guy who won the lottery just because Black Widow knocked on his door and needed a place to hide. And he fell in love and was hoping to have a spinoff with Black Widow.“. (he jokes again)
The stars are asked about the difference between Stunt Work for TV and Film.
Stan: “It was pretty on-par with the films and actually even more evolved and intense. Definitely for Falcon it feels like the action really intensified, even for Bucky as well. We’re always finding new ways to have them evolve with their action sequences, but it’s totally the same as the movies.”.
Mackie: “The great thing about what we were able to do with this is that nothing was watered-down. The same stunt guys we work with on the films are the same guys who choreographed and did all of our stunts on the Show. Because of that, the stunts are really amazing. Kari (Director) had a great idea of taking weaponry away, so there’s a lot more hand-to-hand combat, it’s more assertive and more utilizing our strengths instead of something else. Because of that, the stunt guys had a field day. Some of the stuff you see is us, but we had amazing Stuntmen go in to kick ass for us.”.
THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER is just one of many productions that was impacted by the Pandemic. Director Skogland explains how it worked out for the better even.
Skogland: “The story didn’t really change, though yes, we had to pivot reacting to everything that was happening in the world. What really was exciting was that once we were shut-down through COVID, we just didn’t skip a beat and went right into Post-Production. We were able to continue editing and sharpening the pencil. While the world was changing, we were really able to sharpen our focus. When we went back, we really knew what we were going for and shooting to finalize the Series.”.
This Series will contain many surprises and new characters. Mackie and Stan are asked which characters they are most excited for. Note, Stan fumbles a bit recalling the name of his favourite, which Mackie teases him about, only for Stan to snap-back and reveal that Mackie seen from waist-up only, isn’t even wearing pants.
Stan: “One character I think that sounds really, really cool is Oscar Isaac‘s Moon Knight. I heard that story and thought ‘That’s going to be amazing!’. That’s got my vote.”.
Mackie: “Okay, so you had to bring-up that I wasn’t wearing pants! I would have to say that She-Hulk is an interesting character. Kevin, I’d really like to spend some time in Blade world. I remember they were shooting Spider-Man 2 in Harlem on 25th Street and there was this restaurant where I was sitting outside having lunch with a friend, who was the manager of the restaurant. I was a huge Tobey Maguire fan and I saw Joy Bryant and she had one line and said “It’s Spider-Man!“. And I called my Agent and said, “Damn! I better have one line in one of these movies!”. So Kevin, I want to be the Joy Bryant of She-Hulk or Blade!”.
Head Writer and Producer Spellman is asked about the bigger message to take away from this Series.
Spellman: “I think what worked out really nicely was that where Endgame leaves-off, Thanos has really created a situation where the entire world is dealing with one single issue, which is very familiar to what’s going on today. Everything is born from that. The villains in the Series are responding to that. In fact, every villain in the Series would tell you he/she is a hero. The hero is always responding to that in their personal lives and a story plot is born from one single organic thing in this continuum from what happens after Endgame. That sorta galvanizes and affects everyone on the planet at the same time and creates a nice cohesion and direct lineage to the MCU.”.
Marvel make their official foray into the Television Sitcom realm with WANDAVISION. The Series infuses classic television together with their Cinematic Universe, which over three phases since 2008 have brought us acclaimed films like TheAvengers, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Black Panther franchises and more.
Two characters found in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) have their moment in WANDAVISION, a nine-episode series set after the events of Avengers: Endgame. These two superheroes find themselves living in the suburbs when very soon they begin seeing that things aren’t as ideal as they seem. At the same time, they must conceal their identities. Over the course of the Series and its mock commercials, Marvel fans can begin to draw its clever connection of the Series to the rest of the MCU.
See the Trailer:
We had the opportunity to attend an international virtual Press Junket for WANDAVISION and in attendance were:
Elizabeth Olsen …Wanda
Paul Bettany …Vision
Teyonah Parris …Monica Rambeau
Kathryn Hahn …Agnes
Matt Shakman …Director/Producer Jac Schaeffer …Writer/Producer Kevin Feige …Producer
Star Jaleel White (Family Matters) who has been good friends with Shakman since childhood, was invited to moderate the panel. Shakman goes onto explain how they met.
Shakman: “We were unceremoniously fired on this show called Good Morning Miss Bliss with Hayley Mills that got reconceived from middle school to high school as Saved by the Bell! I was supposed to be Mario Lopez! We both went on to better things!”.
We learned the first episode of WANDAVISION was shot before a live studio audience. Elizabeth Olsen comments on how this impacted her performance.
Olsen: “It was the first thing we shot. It was so nerve-wrecking and there was a lot of adrenaline, quick changes and it totally confused my brain. It really messed with my brain, the idea of now playing to an audience, feeding off an audience and having a camera. And I was really grateful when we added a Fourth Wall first!”.
Olsen who delivers a standout performance as Wanda is asked where she pulled her inspiration fromin this role.
Olsen: “I felt like it was an amalgamation of Mary Tyler Moore and Elizabeth Montgomery and I think I accidentally threw-in some Lucy (Lucille Ball) in the ’70s because there was so much Physical Comedy.”.
She comments also on exploring Wanda‘s power in a Sitcom form.
Olsen: “Well, I can’t wiggle my nose, so we had to figure out something that was period-appropriate. This was our translation and to our watch our Special Effects team that usually blows things up, sets things on fire, create wind, create smoke – these guys become puppeteers of things floating in the sky, like magnets to make things spin a certain way. It was so special seeing the them adapt to the era in ways to create these practical effects or research what they did on Bewitched. I’d have to do something like hold still, trying to do a quick change and remembering the way my body was for the camera. There was just a lot of silly things we got to do that I’m normally used to it all coming together through CGI. It was really fun to have the practical effects there.”.
What is it about Vision that holds true regardless his surroundings?
Bettany: “I was worried initially this feels so different as I read the Script and I realized he’s always been becoming something else. He’s J.A.R.V.I.S., part-Ultron, he’s part Tony Stark and he’s omnipotent. But he’s also this naive ingenue and I thought maybe I’ll throw in just a little Dick Van Dyke in there and a little bit of Hugh Laurie. As long he remains decent and honourable and exists for Wanda, then you’re safe.”.
What does Vision need to blend into his community?
Bettany: “Oh, a lot of wigs!”
Teyonah Parris(Dear White People, The Photograph) tells us a bit about her involvement with WANDAVISION and also the Captain Marvel franchise.
Parris: “We met her in Captain Marvel as a little girl and in WANDAVISION we see who she now is as a grown woman. Through the course of the show, we find out where she’s been, what’s happened to her between that gap and how she’s evolved – or not – and we just follow her along.”.
“She will be joining along Carol Danvers and Miss Marvel in Captain Marvel2 in November 2022.”.
With WANDAVISION being set within the idealistic Sitcom world, Director Shakman tells us about this “Sitcom Bootcamp” he helped create with the Cast and Crew.
Shakman: “We wanted to be as authentic as possible, so everything from Production Design to Cinematography to Costume Design, everything was about going on this deep dive. The Actors all wanted to do the same thing. So we watched a ton of old television episodes and talked about how Comedy changes because the approach to Comedy is really different in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. Doing it in front of a live studio audience was weird quasi-Theatre/TV. It really adds to it and you can feel that energy of a theatrical performance working with an audience. When you get to ’60s, shows like Bewitched and I Dream of Jeanie, all the sudden there is the Fourth Wall and it’s more like doing a movie these days and that laugh track is canned and that changes the energy, the approach, the style, everything.”.
“We also worked with a fabulous dialect coach to work on how the people would sound in the era and move. We did everything we could to make it as authentic as possible.”.
At the heart of WANDAVISION is a love story. Writer/Producer Jac Schaeffer tells us more.
Schaeffer: “I think Wanda and Vision are tragic and also kind of warm and intimate. We’ve seen them in these really beautiful stolen moments in the Marvel universe. It’s actually been a small amount of screen time, but very powerful and very soulful. With WANDAVISION, we open up the space and the stage for them in this domestic sphere and we get to see them doing dishes in the kitchen and being cute. And all this homebody stuff that you’d never get to see a superhero participate in.”.
“We really go from enormous, dramatic moments in the MCU and in WANDAVISION, it’s a lot of cute-cute… until it’s not!”.
Kevin Feige has really found an incredible amount of success with the MCU in recent years, guiding Black Panther to an Oscar nomination – a first ever for a superhero movie. He also produced AVENGERS: ENDGAME, which became the highest grossing film of all time. He talks to this being Marvel‘s first crack at the Sitcom genre, which has been aided by the arrival of streaming service Disney+.
Feige: “This was our test run, Marvel’s first foray with a cast of characters we’ve seen in movies coming onto Television. The idea always was to do something that could not be done as a feature. There were a lot of meetings before people understood what it is we were trying to go for. We were able to turn a whacky idea into a spectacular show. I’m really happy that this worked out as it did for a debut on Disney+ for the MCU.”.
As the Series travels through different eras, Bettany, Olsen and Hahn, who plays intrusive neighbour Agnes, are asked how they adjust their physicality around this.
Bettany: “I think it’s a better question for Elizabeth, Teyonah and Kathyrn. I think there’s a lot more Slapstick Comedy early on, but by the ’90s they’ve made me look so ridiculous that I don’t have to work so hard for the laughs.”.
Olsen: “I think the way women move throughout the decades changes so much with what society wants from them. So Jac did write-in quite a few nods to how women evolved as we get to the ’60s. Wanda gets to wear some pants and that would adjust how someone moves through their space. Manners were a big part of it where we talk to vocal work, speech and cadence, and manners were a huge part of every decade and we would get this book of manners for the time as well. We’re not depicting an honest reality of the ’60s and ’70s, we’re depicting a Sitcom Reality, which has its own set of rules. “.
Hahn: “The Sitcom has always represented an aspirational view, a comfortable ideal. The trick was not only were we trying to live within each decade, but try to present this comfortable ideal. The structure of Sitcom – the set-up, misunderstanding and resolution is such a comfortable little structure. That’s something we had baked-in as kids of the ’80s. The trick is not to satirize it but get inside of each one. I think tonally this was such a trick to pull off.”.
WANDAVISION will kick-off Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, although this wasn’t always the original plan prior to the Pandemic.
Feige: “Disney+ has allowed us to expand creatively what we do. The Falcon and the Winter Solider was supposed to debut first, followed soon behind by WANDAVISION, so creatively, it didn’t reshuffle. Part of having a long-range plan was having the ability to shuffle as the need arises. I’m not saying we were prepped for global pandemic because we were not, but we’ve always over the past 12-15 years at Marvel Studios been able to shuffle around. This required no shuffling around in terms of the creative. The unexpected has always served Marvel Studios well and it has served us well. I love how bold this is and as I said before, it is something you could only see on Disney+.”.
Feige is asked about his inspiration behind WANDAVISION.
Feige: “My grandfather worked for Procter & Gamble, which was a sponsor and producer behind mainly soap operas. In the early ’50s and ’60s, they did some primetime. So he was in the one of the companies behind The Dick Van Dyke Show. That might’ve been a little of it but it more is that I watched too much TV as a kid and I found a lot of comfort in television families. This is not a Parody or direct Satire. We love them and they meant a lot to us. As dated and silly as they might seem, there is a comfort factor there.”.
The first two episodes of WandaVision arrive on Disney+ Friday, January 15, 2021 with new episodes to come weekly.