'The Avengers' Begins Production

From Marvel Studios’ Press Release:


Empty Chaires, meant for Heroes
Empty Chaires, meant for Heroes

Production has commenced today in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Marvel Studios’ highly anticipated movie “Marvel’s The Avengers,” directed by Joss Whedon (“Serenity”) from a screenplay by Whedon. The film will continue principal photography in Cleveland, Ohio and New York City.
Robert Downey, Jr. (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”) returns as the iconic Tony Stark/Iron Man along with Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) as Thor, Chris Evans (“Captain America: The First Avenger”) as Captain America, Jeremy Renner (“Thor,” “The Hurt Locker”) as Hawkeye, Mark Ruffalo (“The Kids Are Alright”) as Hulk, Scarlett Johansson (“Iron Man 2”) as Black Widow, Clark Gregg (“Iron Man,” “Thor”) as Agent Phil Coulson, and Samuel L. Jackson (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”) as Nick Fury.
Set for release in the US on May 4, 2012, “Marvel’s The Avengers” is the first feature to be fully owned, marketed and distributed by Disney, which acquired Marvel in 2009.
Continuing the epic big-screen adventures started in “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Iron Man 2,” “Thor,” and “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “Marvel’s The Avengers” is the super hero team up of a lifetime. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster.
Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1963, “Marvel’s The Avengers” brings together the mightiest super hero characters as they all assemble together on screen for the first time.
The star studded cast of super heroes will be joined by Cobie Smulders (“How I Met Your Mother) as Agent Maria Hill of S.H.I.E.L.D., as well as Tom Hiddleston (“Wallander”) and Stellan Skarsgård (“Angels & Demons,” “Mamma Mia!”) who will both reprise their respective roles as Loki and Professor Erik Selvig from the upcoming Marvel Studios’ feature “Thor.”
“Marvel’s The Avengers” is being produced by Marvel Studios’ President, Kevin Feige, and executive produced by Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Louis D’Esposito, Patty Whitcher, and Jon Favreau. Marvel Studios’ Jeremy Latcham and Victoria Alonso will co-produce.
The creative production team also includes Oscar nominated director of photography Seamus McGarvey (“Atonement”), production designer James Chinlund (“25th Hour”), Oscar winning costume designer Alexandra Byrne (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”), Oscar winning visual effects supervisor Janek Sirrs (“Iron Man 2,” “The Matrix”), visual effects producer Susan Pickett (“Iron Man,” “Iron Man 2”), stunt coordinator R.A. Rondell (“Superman Returns”), and four-time Oscar nominated special effects supervisor Dan Sudick (“Iron Man,” “War of the Worlds”). The editors include Oscar nominated Paul Rubell (“Collateral”) and Jeffrey Ford (“Crazy Heart”).

Zack Penn on 'Avengers' & 'Alphas'

AVENGERS_4_WSuperherohype posted an interesting interview with Zack Penn on his work for Marvel’s THE AVENGERS and SyFy’s ALPHAS.

“I grew up reading X-Men. When I first got to Hollywood when I sold my first script, the first thing I said was, “Can I write the ‘X-Men’ movie?” At the time Marvel was… I don’t know if I remember if they were owned by foreign nationals or what was going on, but I’ve always been into comic books, and I’ve always really been into science fiction. But I grew up on  Cameron and Spielberg and a very naturalistic sense of science fiction, and even the comic books I liked were the ones that were the most real. You know, the ones that bled over into reality the most, so that’s kind of where my heart lies.
I always point out to people AVENGERS is the first superhero movie I’ve ever written, because XMEN, THE INCREDILBE HULK,  even ELEKTRA— none of those are really superhero characters. They’re all either science fiction premise, or something like the Hulk is not a superhero at all, and Elektra is an assassin. So THE AVENGERS is the first legitimate superhero movie I ever wrote, ironically.”

On his “real-world” superhero series for SyFy, Penn say he’s working from a “different paradigm”.

Alphas-Syfy“… The show is probably closer to THE MENTALIST or THE X-FILES in its pitch. Seriously, that’s where we started from. And then I kind of got in some of the stuff I always wanted to do in superhero genre. I managed to find the real world equivalent of it.
So as opposed to HEROES, which is completely serialized—I haven’t watched the whole series, but it is a lot like X-MEN. We purposely started from the totally other direction in terms of what the show is actually like. In the same way that LAW & ORDER is nothing like HEAT. They’re two opposite ends of the genre. ”
I think for me I was less worried about that than I was about other procedural type shows that had some overlap with us. But luckily they all got cancelled.”

Read the entire interview at the link above.

Shane Black on 'Iron Man 3'

iron-man-2According to Ain’t It Cool News reader/contributor “Krullboy”, at the Omaha Film Festival  Shane Black confirmed he will be both writing and directing IRON MAN 3.
Reportedly, he said that he will be meeting this week with Robert Downey Jr, to confer on the storyline.  He and Downey worked together previously 0n the action-comedy KISS KISS BANG BANG, which Black wrote, based on a novel by Brent Halliday (Bodies Are Where You Find Them).
After the larger-than-life team outing with THE AVENGERS , the next IRON MAN film apparently will focus more on Tony Stark/Iron Man dealing with “real world” villains, without any extra guest heroes. It’s said that Shane Black compared his planned story to a  “Tom Clancy thriller”.
No other info supporting this item, but it sounds reasonable and interesting.

Rumor Mill: 'Avengers' Villains?

THOR_HIddelAccording to Latino Review,  the villains THE AVENGERS will be facing in the Joss Whedon scripted/directed Marvel team-up film will be THOR’s big bad Loki and the Skrulls.
There’s some plausibity to this claim; back in 2009 Marvel Entertainment honcho Kevin Feige told the site:

“In my opinion, The Skrulls are really the only viable threat that would require so many super heroes to fight as a team. Sure, you could have The Hulk as a villain in the beginning, but then they have to come together for an even bigger threat. Something hinted about in IM2, Thor and Cap by Nick Fury’s presence.
Plus Fox doesn’t have the rights to The Skrulls, only the Super Skrull. But this is just my inner geek thinking out loud and hoping.”skrull_large

Un-named sources claim that Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s evil “brother” is the main villain, and he uses the Cosmic Cube, which will be seen in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER  and THOR to summon the alien Skrulls to Earth.
Of course, we’re all leery of “unidentifed insiders”, so treat this as rumor.  However, other pevious news stories have given this particular item some weight.

Ruffalo on Hulk Motion Capture

mark_ruffaloInterviewing Mark Ruffalo at the Oscars, the UK’s Daily Telegram learned a bit about the motion capture process that the actor and writer/director Joss Whedon will use in the upcoming Marvel team-up movie, THE AVENGERS.
Although he’s relatively slight in build, Ruffalo will be able to actually enact the role of his massive alter ego. Apparently the digital system being  allows the actor to see the results in real time as he’s performing.

“There’s this algorithm that digitally puts 2,000lbs of muscle onto my body. It’s weird. I wear this skinny little suit with reflective balls all over it.
When we shot the stuff, I was actually standing in a warehouse with a couple of cardboard boxes and some foam mats. But when I looked at the monitor there I was as the Hulk in this landscape with cars and boulders and hills.”

I’m assuming the “stuff” Mark Ruffalo was talking about was test footage or perhaps some advance FX work.
THE AVENGERS begins filming in New Mexico in May, with work also to be done in New York and some other large city. The production recently pulled out of Detroit, unable to come to terms with the city regarding taax breaks and other incentives.

Nick Fury In 'Capt. America', 'Thor' -Video

On Jimmy Fallon Live last night (Wed, Feb. 2) Samuel L. Jackson confirmed that he will be in both CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER  and THOR.
The appearances will be be one-day cameo shoots wherein he invites the characters to join the Avengers.
He’s also going to be screen testing with five women tomorrow to play his ‘side-kick’ in THE AVENGERS, in which he’ll have a more substantial role.
No word on who this female character might be, speculation on the web and other media has suggested everyone from Janet Van Dyne (The Wasp) to Sharon Carter, agent of SHIELD, and a love interest of Steve Rogers’ Captain America.
via Moviefone

Black Panther, War Machine in Development

BlackPanther_Marvel KnightsAccording to The Hollywood Reporter, Marvel Studios is activley developing a BLACK PANTHER movie.
The’ve signed Mark Bailey, thus far a documentary filmmaker to write a script for the character, who first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 in 1966. The Black Panther has the unusal background of being the ruler of a ountry; he is King  T’Challa of Wakanda, and mythical African nation.
It’s about time the character made it to the screen. The Panther has languished in development hell since the 1990’s with projects at Columbia Pictures and Artisan Entertainment going nowhere. Wesley Snipes (BLADE) was attached to the intended production at both studios.
Interesting for me to note in searching for art that The Black Panther is back to wearing a cape, as he did in his intial appearance.
don_cheadle_IM2MTV reports from Sundance that IRON MAN 2 star Don Cheadle revealed that Marvel is also developing a WAR MACHINE solo film.

… I think they’ve hired a writer, so we’ll see how it goes. It would be a lot of fun.”

Cheadle is quoted as saying that he does not expect War Machine to appear in THE AVENGERS, noting the at the film is already chock full of Marvel character, and that he felt Rhodey (James Rhodes) was “kind of a lone wolf” in any event.
Don’t see the point of a solo War Machine film myself, as he’s basically just a different guy in Iron Man armor. IRON MAN 3 is supposed to be coming in the relatively near future.
However, if they come up with an interesting plot, WAR MACHINE could be good action film—particularly if he’s not just used as a err… war machine.

'The Avengers' in Kree-Skrull War?

 KreeSkrullWarAintItCool reports that according to to New Mexico newspaper The Albuquerque Journal:

“THE AVENGERS script will blend IRON MAN, THOR, and CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER storylines as the Avengers battle two alien races, the Skrulls and the Kree.”

THE AVENGERS will film on location in New Mexico, although previous items suggested they will also film at sound stages at the Grumman facilities on Long Island, New York.  

None of this is as yet confirmed.

 UPDATE: SuperHero Hype says its confirmed that the article’s information didn’t come Marvel Studios, and may simply be an error on the part of the newspaper. The Kree-Skrull war would be a pretty big story for a mutli-hero team origin film.  Perhaps we’ll see some hints of the major conflict to come. Some form of the Cosmic Cube will apparently be seen in CAPTAIN AMERICA.

Via Ain't It Cool News
Via Ain't It Cool News

Mark Ruffalo On Bruce Banner – Clip

According to Digital Spy, Mark Ruffalo is thinking that he’d like to make Bruce Banner a little more like Bill Bixby’s likeable underdog from his television version of THE INCREDIBLE HULK.
Describing what he and AVENGERS director Joss Whedon and he are hoping to achieve, he said the following.

“We want him to be an kind of an everyman, not so dour. A little more charming or accessible. We’re still sort of working it out with the script… I’m not exactly sure what it’ll end up being, but we’ve talked quite a bit about the Bill Bixby version of the Hulk.”

Hear the rest of his comments in the clip, including his expectation that  working with Robert Downey Jr. will inject some humor into the situation.

'The Avengers' Moves to New York

AVENGERS_4_WAccording to LongIslandBusinessNews, Marvel Studios will be bringing THE AVENGERS production to Long Island, New York.
The former Grumman Aircraft plant in Bethpage, now Grumman Studios, expects the comic book adaptation to begin set construction next month.
Grumman Studios President Parviz Farahzad said: “THE AVENGERS is a huge movie. They’re taking all seven stages.”
The studio features the largest un-columned soundstage in NY, the 310’ x 120’ Stage 3.
Interestingly, the site is where the Grumman Avenger planes were built in WWII, and the plant is also where the Lunar Modules for the Apollo program were put together.
Farahzad expects the production to be at the facility for several months. The only other major feature film made at the new facility was Columbia’s SALT, starring Angelina Jolie.

Grumman Studios' Stage 3
Grumman Studios' Stage 3