Joss Whedon on ‘The Avengers’ & Agent Coulson; Hugo Weaving Talks Blockbuster Fatigue

Published 4 years ago by , Updated April 8th, 2012 at 10:52 am,

captain america in joss whedons avengers Joss Whedon on The Avengers & Agent Coulson; Hugo Weaving Talks Blockbuster Fatigue

Since 2008, Marvel has consistently produced successful superhero films – with the possible exception of The Incredible Hulk, which was somewhat underwhelming – all of which will culminate next year in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers.

Speaking of Whedon, the Buffy/Angel/Firefly creator talked about the stressful experience of writing and developing The Avengers film – as well as the expanded role of Clark Gregg’s Agent Coulson. Also: Downtown Cleveland prepares for an epic Avengers battle. And, lastly, will Hugo Weaving return as the Red Skull?

First, courtesy of MTV Splash Page, Joss Whedon talked about Clark Gregg’s role in The Avengers as Agent Coulson:

“I’m grateful everyday to be with those guys, especially Clark Gregg. That guy, man crush! But I’m keeping it under control. It’s great, he’s been weaving his way through every movie and I really get to play with him and have [him do] a lot of stuff. […] There were things that during the writing, I was like, ‘I need something more here… Oh, Coulson!’ and he just, he comes up every time. Clark is such a wonderful guy but also such a precise actor. The whole troupe is so amazing, I’m actually surprised.”

When asked where he was in the development of the film, Whedon said:

“I have reached the top [of the development mountain], I’m going down the other side, I’ve just realized my Sherpa guide is frozen to death and several of my toes are missing. But we are on our way down.”

On the stress of making something as large as The Avengers:

“I don’t dream, I just think about coverage while sleeping, and then I wake up four hours later. It is an enormous task. It’s not daunting in the sense of any kind of responsibility except the responsibility I always have, which is ‘Will the audience respond to this? Have I given as much as I can? Have I made the actors do as much as they can? Have I made them comfortable? Does it all track as a movie?’ The complexity of this giant puzzle sort of wakes you up at 2 a.m. pretty much every night.”

Meanwhile, Joss Whedon and company are getting ready to film an epic battle in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. According to an extra who was sworn to secrecy (courtesy of Midwest Movie Maker), the battle will involve massive explosions – duh? – and take place somewhere near the end of the film.

the hulk in joss whedons avengers Joss Whedon on The Avengers & Agent Coulson; Hugo Weaving Talks Blockbuster Fatigue

We know very little about the plot of The Avengers, of course, but it’s possible that these explosions will be a result of the Hulk wrecking havoc – as he did both in the original tale of the Avengers and the modern retelling in The Ultimates – or an alien invasion (Skrulls, Kree, etc.), which has been rumored more than once.

Lastly, Hugo Weaving talked to The Baltimore Sun about his growing disinterest in making blockbuster genre films like Captain America: The First Avenger:

“I think I’ve had about enough. […] I’m not sure how many more of them I’ll make. It doesn’t feel as though they’ve been the majority of my work, though that’s probably the way it seems to most other people.”

Does this mean the Red Skull won’t be appearing in The Avengers? Weaving implies that he’s growing tired of blockbuster films in general, but that doesn’t mean he won’t reappear as the Red Skull in an Avengers film or a Captain America sequel – or even that he isn’t contracted to do so. That said, even if Weaving really wants out, there’s so much makeup required for Skull that Weaving isn’t even necessary for the character to appear.

Are you excited for The Avengers? Let us know in the comments.

The Avengers hits theaters May 4, 2012.

Sources: MTV Splash Page, Midwest Movie Maker, The Baltimore Sun

Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

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  1. “Since 2008, Marvel has consistently produced successful superhero films – with the possible exception of The Incredible Hulk, which was somewhat underwhelming”

    HIGHLY disagree with that statement. If anything it should be Iron Man 2. I found Hulk to be even more enjoyable than Thor and on par with Captain America. Maybe thats just me. Maybe thats just me, but Incredible Hulk is extremely rewatchable and highly enjoyable.

    • “even more enjoyable than Thor and on par with Captain America” What ?

    • I was talking about financial success.

      • oh fair enough :)

    • I find myself agreeing with you. I don’t think Incredible Hulk was better than Thor, but it definitely holds its own. I actually fill that Thor and Captain America suffered from a setup for Avengers, though I’m still happy with them. It’s most likely, people are putting down Incredible Hulk because Ed Norton is out, but I thought he was great! The Incredible Hulk is certainly rewatchable! I’ve seen it many times.

      • I think Cap did a very minimal job of prepping for The Avengers, most of the film was devoted to Cap in the 40′s. IMO, Cap is the best movie Marvel has done since Iron Man. I think it goes: Iron Man, Cap, The Incredible Hulk/Thor (tied), Iron Man 2. Hopefully Avengers goes to the top of the list next year!

    • I agree. It annoys me how people dis “The Incredible Hulk” and tend just to put it to the side or even completely forget about being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In my opinion, “The Incredible Hulk” is the second strongest film of the series; behind the first “Iron Man”. I have yet to see “Captain America” but I doubt I’ll enjoy it as much simply because I don’t like the whole “prejudice America” side to the film. I’m seriously looking forward to “Iron Man 3″ with Shane Black directing. Don’t have much interest in a “Thor” sequel…I thought the first film was okay.

      • “Prejudice America”?
        Prejudice against who? Red Skull?

        • Maybe he meant the whole patriotic aspect of the film. I´m german and I didn´t have any problems with it. I totally loved that movie.

          • Yeah haha my bad, that’s what I meant. I don’t really like the idea that the film forces these views on you. I’ll probably just rent this one when it comes out on Blu-ray.

            • If it bothers you that much Perhaps you’re better thinking of it was “Captain Allies”, forcing the views of the allies fight in WW2 on you. Rather than an overly American view point. After all he leads the HC’s which is a diverse racial group.

              Cap represents freedom and the fight against tyranny, as evident in the civil war saga, not just American. He was just the symbol representing the americans in the allies

            • Views? It’s a movie about a hero named Captain America. It would be weird if it didn’t have a patriotic theme…

              • But it’s cool to be anti-American, so stop being so uncool, geez… ;-)

            • Well then you’re missing out on one of the best CBM released not only this year, but ever. Cap was freaking awesome.

          • Patriotism is so uncool… *rolls eyes* lol

      • it really has little to do with america and the war and is about a special division against HYDRA, i love how just because its captain america everyone assumes we use it as some kind of propaganda….

    • @Shamose: totally agree. I think Hulk is just a fun movie, with a lot of respect for the character, and, ultimately, entertaining. Iron Man 2 flopped at the end, and Thor was just ok, imo.

      • glad im not the only one :)

        • you’re not :-)

      • Iron Man 2 was anticlimactic at the end but i still loved the story and the characters, and to be fair Jon Favreau had to juggle all the Avengers stuff Marvel forced on him so i would say he did alright…

    • Dude I like your pic would you go see a Kane or Raziel movie

    • Maybe Ben was getting The Incredible Hulk mixed up with the Ang Lee version? Because I agree the version with Ed Norton was excellent.

      I do think though that ALL of the Marvel exclusive superhero films have at least been good (yes even IM2) which is a track record not a single other studio making similar genre movies can claim.

    • Agreed…I loved The Incredible Hulk. Was saddened when I found out Ed Norton wouldn’t be returning. Hopefully the new guy will be just as good.

    • I agree with you, Incredible Hulk is right on par with Thor, if not slightly better. I have enjoyed all of the Marvel Movies so far, even Iron Man 2 even though it has its flaws. IMO the order from worst to best has to be Iron Man 2, Thor, Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man.

  2. i’m excited but Where are the female avengers in this lineup? Hmm one surely isn’t enough.

    • Ikr? The Avengers isn’t a men’s club, like the movie is making it look lol, but whatever I’m still excited as hell though.

      • Nope, it’s a “super secret boy band”. 8-)

    • Well, sadly she will be for this movie :P

      They should have stuck with the original 5 members; Bruce Banner (Hulk), Hank Pym(Ant-man), Janet van Dyne (Wasp), Thor and Tony Stark (Iron Man) and then built on that foundation. Of course, since they are obviously following the whole Ultimates tangent that changes things a bit (even though ALL of the above should sill be on the founding roster + Cap)

      Since they do seem to be using the Ultimates as a basis, why does everyone think the Skrulls are the antagonists when the comics used the Chitauri instead? Admittedly, some would argue its nothing but semantics however the Skrulls themselves denounce the Chitauri as being of the same race.

  3. “I think I’ve had about enough. […] I’m not sure how many more of them I’ll make. It doesn’t feel as though they’ve been the majority of my work, though that’s probably the way it seems to most other people.”

    I like Hugo Weavings roles and feel hes done an incredible job but its this kind of BS that actors sometimes spew that burns me. Its like actors live in another world where they don’t have to work and earn a living like the rest of us. I used to work at a company where I had a highly successful run of presentation I would do on site for corporate clients. It wasn’t entertainment although I did make it entertaining whcih is why it was so successful, and at no point did I ever take the attitude that I’m tired of being known for this when my over all job with the company did consist of more then what this on site presentation involved.

    Had I taken the arrogant attitude that Hollywood types do I would have quickly been out of a job. Weaving may not like being known by his blockbuster roles but those are the jobs that pay for his lifestyle so he better well remember that much.

    Actors. To bad the ones who would appreciate the fans are too often not the ones that seem to getthe shots at big time.

    • I think what Weaving is implying is that he wants to garner some more art house work, independant stuff or some roles that will gain him more recognition for dramatic roles. Maybe he wants an Academy Award? I feel what he was saying but maybe he should have worded it different where it wouldn’t have come off as pompous and arrogant. I don’t think he’s that type of guy, I think he just needed to say he’s really interested in doing more dramatic (artsty fartsy) roles or doing theater work without implying he was disinterested in blockbuster films.

      • Fanboys who think Weaving sounds “arrogant” on the basis of a couple of sentences taken out of context should read the full Baltimore Sun article and educate themselves about his career in general. I’m sick of people mischaracterizing his work based on a handful of his roles– you literally seem to think all he wants to do is play increasingly derivative roles in “blockbusters” with endless sequels. Weaving wants to act and have a diverse career that challenges him in ways beyond how many hours he’ll have to spend getting silly prosthetics larded on his face. The desire not to be typecast is common among serious actors, and is admirable. You morons seem to want him on the Boris Karloff career track. Also, he’s one of the more gentle, intelligent actors working. If you’d ever read full interviews, you’d know that. You might even read comments of his Captain America costars and crew. Or anyone else who’s ever worked with him.

        He’s not remotely a Hollywood type and in fact avoids working in Hollywood. No one faults great actors like Cate Blanchett or Geoffrey Rush for wanting balanced careers not dependent on genre films, but fanboys seem particularly invested in making Weaving a one-dimensional “badass”.

        He’s not in The Avengers (he’s signed to costar in three diffferent projects during its filming, including Cloud Atlas this fall– didn’t you know about that? Also, didn’t you notice most of the Baltimore Sun piece is about Weaving’s role in a play currently being staged in Washington DC? He can’t be in two places at once.) He only signed a contract for one Captain America film. You guys didn’t get all riled up when Jeff Bridges, Tim Roth and Mickey Rourke only did one film for their franchises… this is no different. Also, he’s not trying to get Oscars. Most of his indie films haven’t been properly theatrically released in the US, He’s also on record saying he feels uncomfortable competing against other actors he admires. He’s trying very hard NOT to be a celebrity whose image eclipses his work. He’s only said he prefers working in small, independent films about a hundred times over the course of his career. Guess no one was paying attention.

        • Else,

          Well said.

        • @Else, I agree with that. I never felt he was trying to be arrogant. It just that what he said was taken out of context. I think keeping a well diverse acting career keeps an actor fresh and shows they truly love what they do mainly for the art of it, not mainly for the fame and money. I totally understand him not wanting to be typecast also.

    • Lots of people lower paying jobs to do what they love though. I don’t see anything wrong with his statement. He tried it, it isn’t for him, so he’s done with them.

  4. Am I excited? HELL YEAH! I live in Cleveland and I work just a couple of blocks away where they are filming. I’m so f’n jazzed over it!

    • lucky <.<

  5. Definitely excited for The Avengers. I have faith Joss will do a fantastic job bringing the story to life and adding that trademark wit of his to the characters. As far as Incredible Hulk is concerned I thought that the reboot with Edward Norton was quite well done. It wasn’t the most exciting of the films but definitely laid down some good groundwork for the character in general. It was FAR better than that Ang Lee train wreck from years earlier.

  6. i wonder how all their sequel will do,not having to be connected to avengers 2,since they’ve being connecting all this movies for next summmers avenger….?

  7. Just saw Captain America last night and I don’t think Hugo Weaving was that great anyways. Definetly not bad but i won’t miss him if he is replaced. Just a skull now anyways looks wise. This is just my opinion.

  8. I cannot wait for The Avengers ! I’m drooling! Next year can’t come fast enough..! My only regret is that I cannot be a part if it.. I soooo want to be an extra running from disaster! But all these extra gigs are so far away… I tthink Whedon will do an awesome job! The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America were Great! I will agree that IM2 wasn’t as good as the 1st, And I will also agree that as good as Thor and Cap were.. They too suffered a bit only because they were essentially a set-up for The Avengers! But I’m still looking forward to Thor 2 and Capt 2.. Chis H, and Chris E. did justice to their characters and I can’t wait to see them reprise their roles in their own films..

  9. Hugo… Are you pulling our legs? Do you want us to believe that you wont be in the upcoming avengers/captain america movie but BOOM you appear? Like William Defoe did in boondocks saints two?

    I might have just jinxed it… :(

  10. Hey if Hugo dont want to play the Red Skull I will be happy to take his place since he is tired of making blockbusters.

    • Sorry but you can’t work for Marvel, you are obligated to work for Fox. :-D

  11. For some reason I really like Agent Coulson. With all the Unfrozen Super soldiers, Alien Gods, Drunken billionares, and doomsday events, its good to have one guy who can execute a nice “W-T-F, is this really happening.” Thats honestly, all I would be saying the midst of the destruction and Black Widow undressing.

    Side Note. My favorite Marvel Cinematic movies are.

    The Incredible Hulk
    Captain America
    Ironman 2

    • @Ignur Rant: I also love the Coulson character, but I doubt he’s the type of guy that will say something like (as you mentioned it): “W-T-F, is this really happening.” … Coulson is always calm, collected and funny (lets not forget funny ;)).

  12. Why would Weaving come back if **SPOILER ALERT!*** Red Skull is already dead?!

    • DIdn’t look like he died to me.

    • He didn’t die, he was transported to one of the other 9 realms.

    • As others have said, he got ripped apart (kind of reminded me of the way inter-dimensional travel looked in “The One”) and teleported into the cosmos. Now where exactly he went, well that’s the REAL question. Imagine what would happen if he was found by Thanos?! Once RS spills his guts about the Cosmic Cube I’m sure Thanos would make his way to Earth asap.

  13. Death is never final in the Marvel universe…c’mon now go read a comic book for christ sakes…

  14. Hugo’s a good actor, but villain-wise for future installments of The Avengers, etc., I’d like to see Iron Man fight The Mandarin, and The Avengers fight The Skrulls, of course, but also Kang The Conqueror & Ultron.
    Red Skull is great, of course, but let’s not over-use him as Fantastic Four does Dr. Doom, as Loki may become over-used, as Magneto & Wolverine become over-used characters, etc. There are plenty of villains out there in the Marvel Universe that need an outing.

  15. I hope Joss uses another villain besides Loki (Thanos imo) and didn’t they shoot on a trainyard set ergo the Hulk in Avengers #1 so why would they fight hulk later in the film, but I trust Joss will make an amazing film.

  16. Just rewatched Ironman 2 and noticed something I didn’t notice before. When Ivan Vanko set the self destruct button on the all the drones and his suit Tony and warmachine took off to save them selves and Pepper. It was never confirmed if Vanko died in the explosion. He had time to escape as he was still laughing manically as IM and WM took off. what I’m saying is, there is another potential villain for future movies Ironman or Avengers.

    • Oh please be wrong! :(
      Mickey Roureke was the guy who screwed up IM2! If he comes back (at any point) I will barf and loose faith in humanity.

  17. i dont like hugo weaving in my blockbusters anyway

  18. I think that the original iron man was anticlimactic, Iron man 2 was worse, but I would say that the Hulk was on par with Thor, meaning that they were ok but there was room for improvement.

  19. Hugo Weaving’s accent in cap america doesnt sound like russian accent at all

    • not sure if serious…

    • Well that would be a good thing considering the Red Skull is GERMAN and has a GERMAN accent ;)

      (Read up on your history buddy)

  20. Bt really lookin forward to him in THE HOBBIT :))))))))))

    • as long has Hugo plays Elrond I am good

  21. I loved the battle in the animated Ultimate Movie so I’m very happy at the thought of an epic Hulk battle

    • Come on the Incredible Hulk was awsome movie and yes that battle was awsome. Im hopeing for Hulk buster Iron-man armor.

  22. I keep seeing speculation about the Skrulls being the antagonists but do we know for a fact that Marvel didn’t sign them away with the Fantastic Four to FOX? I have never seen the Silver Surfer on any of FOX’s ownership lists but yet he was in FF:RotSS so obviously Marvel turned him over at some point. Was that possibly for one picture only? IDK

    Also not sure about others like the Kree or Glactus since both are also popular fixtures in the FF comics along with the Skrulls. Maybe that’s why Glactus was a silly ball of gas in FF:RotSS…FOX didn’t have the rights to use him other than by name only.

    Man I really hate that all of these different studios have control of Marvel’s property. Just sell the rights back to Marvel already FOX! ><

    As to Hugo Weaving……you know, he has the right to do whatever the hell he wants. He's a great actor, which is why he's in such high demand, but in the end it is his choice. If that means he is only making movies like "V for Vendetta", then I all for it because that was a brilliant movie.

  23. I hope Joss Whedon does a great job on The Avengers.

    Agent Coulson is a awesome character and Clark Clegg is a great actor, I think they should make more short films thag would lead to The Avengers.

    I think Hugo Weaving was great as Red Skull, I understand that Hugo is tired of being a typecast but maybe in Captain America 2, Red Skull might return and finally be defeated by Captain America so I hope he returns for the sequel.

    Thor, X-Men: First Class and Captain America: TFA are the best comic book movies of the year.


  24. Hugo Weaving can play in anything he wants, and I still enjoy his ability to entertain.

    • Fixed::
      ‘, and I will still enjoy his ability to entertain.

      • Totally agree Marcus. He’s an awesome actor who makes the films he’s in that much better. It’d be a shame if he didn’t reprise his role as The Red Skull, IMO.

  25. I think the only place the ball has been dropped majorly in this moving is not dishing out whatever is needed for consistent casting, no Ed Norton, and in a lesser degree, no Terrance Howard in IM2 were both very avoidable.

    • Dude, Ed Norton DIDN’T WANT TO DO IT. They’ve said its because he doesn’t work well as part of a team with little/to no control over the movie.

      • @Cap: Might as well stop trying to explain it *sigh*… I’ve been trying to explain the whole “Ed Norton doesn’t work well in a team” thing to some of these guys for months… it doesn’t work ;) ()

  26. What do they mean”except for the incredible hulk”? That was a great movie, although liv tyler’s character came off as a complete idiot. it had the right mix of story and action.

    • What that means is The Incredible Hulk wasn’t that successful. Financially speaking.

  27. I hope the final epic battle is between Hulk and the other Avengers, or perhaps that will be saved for the sequel where they’ll have Ant-man

  28. How DARE YOU say that Hugo Weaving could be easily replaced because of the make-up he wears as the Red Skull!!!! What a tremendously ignorant fool you are… That man is one of the finest actors living today and added quite a substantial level of quality to the Captain America film and I have no doubt that HE ALONE is the reason the Red Skull was such an enjoyable villian to watch in the first place!!! If I were permitted to use foul language on this website, I would do so for the first time, right now.

    • I think he’s excellent and I think he did a great job, but there wasn’t enough going on with the character that no other actor could replace him. He’s not, for example, Heath Ledger’s Joker. Take a chill pill, man. You can disagree with that, but I doubt Hugo Weaving would put forth his Skull portrayal as the pinnacle of his career.

  29. one question that has to make you stop and wonder. what ever happen to samuel sterns aka The Leader from the hulk movie? he was created in the hulk film when hulks blood dripped into his wound on his head and he becomes super smart and greenish grey. so is marvel going to use him in their avengers film or do they still plan a hulk sequel, or are they just going to forget he was ever thier and dissapoint us fans of that character?

    • If they ever make a sequel to the Incredible Hulk (which is doubt – probably 48% chance), then I’m sure Samuel Sterns/The Leader will make his return… I doubt he’ll be a villain in the Avengers (or any of the sequels) though, because he wasn’t really one of the Avengers’s main villains (unlike Ultron, Kang, Skrulls, Korvac, etc.)