Avengers Assemble! Years in the making, the mash-up of five (or six, depending on who you ask) Marvel movies has been counting down to this moment – when the tried and true superheroes join forces against an otherworldly villain. Brilliant billionaire playboy Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) blazed (and built) the trail for The Avengers in Iron Man, and later introduced us to Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Iron Man 2. Though Edward Norton did not join the super team after The Incredible Hulk, Mark Ruffalo steps up to the plate as the brooding green monster. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) blasted to Earth and gave us a glimpse of Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), as well as snowballed a feud that crossed time and space with his devious little brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston). S.H.I.E.L.D Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) has poked his head in most of the films, but his new sidekick Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) is fresh meat to the canon. Lastly, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) woke up bewildered and lost in another era at the end of Captain America – only to be recruited by the one-eyed leader himself, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
We’ve geeked out about The Avengers’ trailers, collected a list of comic book movies for your own personal countdown, and even drawn out some tips for those of you who attended the midnight premiere. Now, we have an interview with Johansson, Renner, Ruffalo, Gregg, Smulders, Hemsworth, Evans, Hiddleston, and the man who brought them all together – writer/director Joss Whedon (The Cabin in the Woods). You’re not the only ones blown away by this superhero explosion; listen to the cast as they tell Buzzine why The Avengers truly is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Chris Hemsworth & Chris Evans
Roxanna Bina: In The Avengers, characters from Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and the Incredible Hulkfinally meet. Would you consider itthe ultimate superhero movie?
Chris Hemsworth: [There are] probably more superheroes in this movie than in any other superhero movie, so yes. Agreed.
RB: Are there any hidden Easter eggs in this film? Comic book movies are known to add extra details for the hardcore fans.
CH: In this film? Well, there is always that little surprise cameo from Stan Lee, the creator of a lot of these characters. Hidden things? I don’t know Marvel is always… doing something a little... secretive... which we can’t talk about.
Chris Evans: That’s right. Because we will be killed.
RB: The Avengers deals with unifying some strong personalities. Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and Black Widow are all used to working on their own, in entirely different circumstances. One could say the same for such a star-power ensemble cast. Were you afraid of egos clashing?
CH: Don’t look anyone in the eye, there were a few rules with Chris [Evas] especially.
CE: That’s right, never look me in the eye.
CH: Keep a perimeter around him, don’t touch him.
CE: Don’t talk to me directly.
RB: Who is your favorite superhero?
CE: I like Iron Man. I had a crush on him. I do, I just thought he was so good and so...
CH: And he’s the godfather of this whole enterprise.
CE: We owe him and if he didn’t do what he did with that role, we wouldn’t be making these movies. So I like him, but I also like Superman too. Is that like sacrilegious to say?
CH: Oh, what?!
CE: DC... bite your traitor tongue.
CH: You will be re-cast for that one right?
CE: Chris Pine will be playing Captain America in The Avengers II.
CH: And you will be playing Superman!
Roxanna Bina: Do you think The Avengers will be a superhero movie unlike anything anyone has ever seen?
Tom Hiddleston: Yes, I think its unprecedented. I don’t think anybody’s done this before. Its you know here you have.. I’m just looking at the poster next to you but you’ve got one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and if you included the shield agents, nine super heroes. All of whom are beloved by people already and they are used to being in their own movies. And they are a team, it's an absolutely extraordinary thing I think to bring these individual isolated extraordinary figurers together and make them fight on the same team.
RB: Can you reveal any of the Easter eggs hidden throughout the movie for fans?
TH: I might spoil things if I do. I mean what I love is if you are looking and if you know the details of the Marvel Universe, there are so many nuances to worlds behind the world that you are looking at. Details of where each character is from and yes.
RB: How was it working with such a strong ensemble cast?
TH: There just isn’t any ego. I must say, I mean there are, ego really has no place in acting because the best acting happens as a result of the chemistry between you. So if you are busy thinking about yourself, you’ll probably be worse in a way and the great joy of being part of this company of actors is everyone is so collaborative and so generous and so open. You know it was surprising and a complete delight and I’m sure you’ll hear all day that it was absolutely true. Like there wasn’t a single… nobody pulled their weight, nobody threw toys out of the pram.. it was amazing yes.
Cobie Smulders & Clark Gregg
Roxanna Bina: What makes The Avengersdifferent from other superhero movies we’ve seen?
Cobie Smulders: It's the first time in the Marvel world that they’ve all come together and it's – you know what I love about this movie actually is when you pair up all these super heros that the “bad” gets to be much more “bad.” So I really enjoy watching – the last part of this movie and it's – this fight sequence, the last thirty minutes is so intense, because there are so many different things to be looking at.
Clark Gregg: Also the effects have gotten so amazing in the last, you know ten years and even the last couple of years. They are constantly outdoing each other in these movies and you get really jaded to the point where you can sit there and watch an awful lot of action. And you kind of like be just eating your popcorn and a little bored and I haven’t been this excited, just as a fan boy and audience member in a movie – I couldn’t think since maybe like The Matrixor Raiders of the Lost Ark. There is just that much action.
Roxanna Binx: From Buffy to The Cabin in the Woods, you are a writer and director who not only understands geek culture, you thrive on it. Did you hide any little details in the film for über fans?
Joss Whedon: There are a couple of little things. But for people who love the continuity of the Marvel universe but I don’t tend to concentrate on that. It’s hard enough to get the movie made and to make a movie that people who don’t know Marvel can enjoy, so I don’t spend a lot of time on Easter eggs.
RB: Is there going to be a bigger, more explosive sequel to The Avengers?
JW: I don’t know if it’s possible to do anything bigger. But I know we left a little bit of room for other things.
RB: You have some incredible stars in your cast – were you at all worried about them working well together?
JW: Well, the superheroes have enormous egos and clashed quite a bit, [but] the actors really don’t. They are all actors first and movie stars second, and they walked on that set in the service of the film. We all knew that we had one boss and that boss was the story.
Roxanna Bina: Do you think this is going to be the ultimate superhero movie?
Mark Ruffalo: I think it’s the mother of all super hero movies at this moment. It does have the biggest assembly of super heroes, outside of X-Men probably.
RB: Are there any hidden clues or references for comic book fans?
MR: A little Easter eggs? Well I mean the introduction of, I don’t want to spoil it but there’s an intro that you have to be a geek to understand who you know they bring in at the end of the movie.
RB: How was it working with your costars?
MR: You know there was always that sense of danger on the set, that at any moment, any one of those actors could have just blown their top. And because of that it was like a deterrence, everyone was really well behaved because they were so afraid of each other. No, we got along really well and had a really good time together actually.
RB: Besides, of course, The Hulk, who is your favorite superhero?
MR: I always loved Iron Man, and X-Men was probably my second favorite comic book series, Frank Miller’s X-Men and I really actually loved Wolverine quite a bit. He was probably my favorite.
RB: Do you think there will be another Avengers movie?
MR: You could only hope so -- but this [one] is good and you never know what the future’s going to bring, but I think we are all set up for another Avengers movie. It would be nice to see. I’d love to do another one with Joss, that’s for sure. I think he really captures it well.
Scarlett Johansson & Jeremy Renner
Roxanna Binx: So other than your characters, who is your favorite superhero and why?
Jeremy Renner: I always liked Spider Man when I was a kid, I always tried to come up with some to make that happen and the confetti stuff -- that’s not a web.
Scarlet Johansson: I always liked Silver Surfer, which was probably a decent comic, I don’t even know. I just thought he was rad.
RB: This film stars a large ensemble of celebrities and big name actors. How was it working together?
SJ: There are no egos on our set, then you take a bunch of actors that really started off like in theatre and independent films and we’ve all had very varied careers, we are all just happy to still be working.
JR: All of the actors got along, but none of the characters got along -- is probably the simplest way to put it.
'The Avengers' is released in the U.S. Friday, May 4th, 2012.