The Avengers are going to England.
Screen Daily is reporting that writer-director Joss Whedon will film his highly anticipated sequel to “The Avengers” at the country’s venerable Pinewood-Shepperton facility, the same soundstages that played host to Marvel’s upcoming “Thor: The Dark World,” set for release later this year.
Released in May of last year, “The Avengers” was a success of massive proportions, earning more than $1.5 billion worldwide and becoming the highest-grossing movie at the box office, while managing to please critics at the same time.
“Even if you’re frustrated by the relentless calculation of Marvel Studios’ plan for world cinema domination, fed up by the shameless way the studio used several of its earlier, at times pro forma superhero movies to promote this one, even if you don’t particularly like comic-book adaptations, this film just might make a believer of you,” Kenneth Turan wrote in his review for The Times.
While “Avengers” looms large in Whedon’s future, of late he’s been hitting the road, traveling to the South by Southwest Film Festival and WonderCon in Anaheim to tout his upcoming Shakespearean adaptation “Much Ado About Nothing.”
For the project, Whedon turned to veterans such as Clark Gregg and Nathan Fillion (as Leonato and Dogberry, respectively). Fran Kranz plays Claudio, while Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof play Beatrice and Benedick. Sean Maher is Don John. There’s also a smattering of newcomers, including Jillian Morgese as Hero.
Whedon and at least one other “Avengers” alumnus reunited earlier this year to shoot a pilot for “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” an ABC television series based on the government’s international intelligence agency in the Marvel comics. Set sometime after the events of “The Avengers,” the series is rumored to revolve around Gregg’s Agent Phil Coulson, though the how of his return after his tragic “Avengers” ending has yet to be revealed.
Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner / the Hulk): "[Working with Whedon] was amazing. He's such a great collaborator. He knows this genre so well. He's so expansive in his understanding of a very, very complex story. We worked very closely on this version of Bruce Banner, and it was just -- I just love the guy. Had a great time with him. He's so smart. He's hilarious. He's got a great sense of humor. He writes in his completely own style. And he balances humor and action and real drama and mythology -- he's perfect for this." (Marvel; Getty Images)Link
Cobie Smulders (S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill): "Joss is such a comedy fan, and he's so good at doing that, so it was nice to see that he infused comedy throughout the film.... I have been jealous of ["How I Met Your Mother"] costars Alyson [Hannigan], of Alexis [Denisof], of all of his crew for a long time. And I've been friends with him for a while.... I was so excited that I got to work with him on it.... I was quite nervous, and I was very grateful and extremely happy to have him there and in my corner. He was very kind to me and very much put me at ease, and he was great. He's a genius. He pulled it off. This must have been the hardest movie to ever make, and he did it." (Marvel; Getty Images)Link
Samuel L. Jackson (S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury): "I really enjoyed being with Joss and talking with him before this even started, because Joss has this relationship with comics that I think I have with them. He’s always read ‘em. And he understands the genre and how it works from the inside, and how these guys talk, and what the relationships between superheroes would be if they had relationships. And how each one would test the other in a certain way to find out who’s stronger, who’s better, who’s this, who’s that. He used me as the sort of glue to bring these guys together for one common cause, to make them understand that yeah, you’re all great individually, but think of how much greater you’d be as a unit." (Marvel; Getty Images)Link
Chris Hemsworth (Thor): "Joss wrote the story as well as directed, so he had a very descriptive version of why things were written the way they were.... His through-line was educated because he put it to paper." (Marvel; Getty Images)Link
Tom Hiddleston (Loki): "The thing about Joss is he happens to have done 'Buffy' and 'Angel' and 'Firefly' and 'Serenity' and all of those kind of what would be called genre stuff. But he's a Shakespearean, like he's a closet Shakespeare geek. The first time I ever met Joss, he came to see me in London in a production of 'Othello' on stage. So the reason that I'm in this film is because he saw me doing Shakespeare." (Marvel; Getty Images)Link
Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man): "Joss Whedon has really taken us to new depths of discovery for our characters. There are new things in the air and they each feel more real. The guy's my hero. He should be yours." (Marvel; Getty Images)Link
Meanwhile, one of the lead Avengers, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, will be back on the screen in a matter of weeks in the upcoming “Iron Man 3,” which sees the billionaire playboy do battle with the lethal Mandarin (Ben Kingsley).
Click through the gallery above for a look at what Downey Jr. and other members of the “Avengers” cast had to say about working with Whedon.
– Gina McIntyre | @LATHeroComplex
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