‘The Avengers’ assemble: Filming gets underway in New Mexico [updated]

April 26, 2011 | 6:16 a.m.
avengers1 The Avengers assemble: Filming gets underway in New Mexico [updated]

Photo from the set of "The Avengers." (Zade Rosenthal / Marvel Studios)

It’s a big day in the Marvel Universe — principal photography is now underway in Albuquerque, N.M., on “The Avengers,” the film that will bring together the superheroes from four separate film franchises and, perhaps, launch a few new ones.

Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo stepping in for the banished Edward Norton) will be joined by Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson, reprising her slinky S.H.I.E.L.D. spy role from “Iron Man 2“) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner, who makes a cameo with his bows and arrows in “Thor,” which opens May 6) as well as Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), the representatives of S.H.I.E.L.D., the secret-ops government agency that appears to be the glue holding much of the upcoming mythology in place. As expected, Tom Hiddleston from “Thor” will be the bad-guy Loki, which fits with the classic 1963 tale from the first issue of the Avengers comic book. The lineup of heroes here is different than the roster from that vintage first issue; Widow and Hawkeye weren’t on the scene yet, and two of the printed-page founding members, Wasp and Ant-Man, are (so far, at least) nowhere to be seen. [FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this post referred to Mark Ruffalo as an Oscar winner; he was a nominee this year but did not win.]

avengers prime The Avengers assemble: Filming gets underway in New Mexico [updated]
Iron Man, Thor and Steve Rogers from “Avengers Prime.” (Marvel Comics)

So director Joss Whedon, the man behind “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the woefully mistreated “Firefly,” is now at work with a large cast that will challenge even his signature affinity for group dynamic and dialogue. The biggest star on the set is the Downey, who took upstart Marvel Studios to dizzy heights with their first feature film,  “Iron Man” in 2008, and even higher with the 2010 sequel — the two films collectively brought home $1.2 billion in worldwide box office. It was that success, primarily, that has propelled Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige’s dream of delivering this unprecedented team-up film, and all eyes will be on the summer releases of “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” — if those characters don’t bring in heroic numbers on their own, the mood (and the story emphasis) on this new venture will be affected in interesting ways.

— Geoff Boucher

Here’s the Marvel press release:

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 SHIELD, finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster.

thorgallery The Avengers assemble: Filming gets underway in New Mexico [updated]

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 SHIELD, 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”).Marvel Studios most recently produced “Iron Man 2” which was released in theatres on May 7, 2010. The sequel to “Iron Man,” starring Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow as well as Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson and Mickey Rourke, took the number one spot its first weekend with a domestic box office gross of $128.1 million. To date the film has earned over $620 million in worldwide box office receipts.In the summer of 2008, Marvel produced the summer blockbuster movies, “Iron Man” and “The Incredible Hulk.” “Iron Man,” in which Robert Downey Jr. originally dons the Super Hero’s powerful armor alongside co-stars Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow, was released May 2, 2008 and was an immediate box office success. Garnering the number one position for two weeks in a row, the film brought in over $100 million its opening weekend and grossed over $571 million worldwide. On June 13, 2008, Marvel released “The Incredible Hulk” marking its second number one opener of that summer. The spectacular revival of the iconic green goliath grossed over $250 million in worldwide box office receipts.


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Portman as a female absentminded professor

GALLERY: Five decades of “Thor” covers

Kat Dennings: My character is … Scooby Doo?

Hemsworth: I got so big my costume wouldn’t fit

Branagh fires back after nasty “Thor” rumors

Anthony Hopkins on the ruthless charm of Odin

Branagh: “Thor” is a “different dance” from “Iron Man”


17 Responses to ‘The Avengers’ assemble: Filming gets underway in New Mexico [updated]

  1. Orlando Broom says:

    They should not have used Loki again and Hulk should not be used as a villain. They should include some of the following villains:
    Baron Zemo, Collector, Count Nefaria, Egghead, Grandmaster, Graviton, Grim Reaper, Immortus, Kang, Korvac, Legion of the Unliving , Lethal Legion, Master Pandemonium, Masters of Evil, Morgan le Fay, Nebula, Space Phantom. Super-Adaptoid. Supreme Intelligence, Squadron Sinister, Taskmaster, Thanos, Ultron, Zodiac

    • brettghampton says:

      Orlando – you may recall that in the comics, it was Loki's manipulation of the Hulk that led to the formation of the Avengers, who banded together to stop the Hulk.

  2. Rachel Adams says:

    The Avengers is going to be even more overstuffed and bloated with more major characters and multiple storylines than ‘Spider-Man 3’ and ‘Iron Man 2’ combined.

    Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Nick Fury, Agent Phil Coulson, Maria Hill and soon many more.

    Ant-Man and Wasp might be in this.
From the teaser trailer it seems that there will be several major villains in the film too and there are many possible supporting characters from each of the individual films of Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America who may appear as well.

    If you include too many noticeable characters, then they’re all going be vying for attention from the audience and then none of them would get the screentime or character development they deserve.

    This movie will have problems like ‘Spider-Man 3’ and ‘Iron Man 2’ with too many storylines, too many key characters, too little screentime for certain characters, etc.

    • Joseph says:

      I'd like to know where exactly you saw a teaser trailer for a film that just started shooting two days ago.

    • brettghampton says:

      There's been no teaser trailer other than the one with a brief speech by Samuel L. Jackson leading to a graphic with the title, "The Avengers." No mention of multiple villains. And there have been many films from a variety of genres that have had as many different characters as the Avengers promises to have that have been successful at giving all the characters some quality screen time, from "Mystery Men" and "Watchmen" to "Ocean's Eleven" and its sequels.

  3. Mark says:

    Seamus McGarvey? Nice!

  4. David says:

    I don't think it needs to feel bloated. Marvel has enough experience with these sort of things on tv and with comics. Plus they are now backed by Disney so it shouldn't be a problem. All the back stories will be out of the way and they just need to focus on the plot and the re-emergence of Captain America

  5. handymetalworks says:

    Oh heck yeah I'm jazzed about this. Use some of this guys work for some props…Check it out…very cool…_ _http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260772429131&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT

  6. Brett says:

    "Orlando," lest you forget, the Avengers were formed in the comics by Loki's manipulation of the Hulk.

    Rachel, I have not seen the "teaser trailer" to which you refer that leads you to believe there will be multiple villains. The only trailer released to date has virtually no images and a brief speech by Samuel L. Jackson.

    As for this film "suffering" from the same problems as "Spider-Man 3" and "Iron Man 2": All of the primary characters have already been introduced in other films, so time need not be wasted with the retelling of origins. Movies like "Watchmen," "Mystery Men," and the two "Fantastic Four" films had no problems addressing the storylines of multiple characterrs. (Those films may have had other flaws that fans may cite, but the inclusion of several characters did not seem to be among the complaints.)

  7. Anna says:

    How can you call yourself a journalist? C’mon now. Mark Ruffalo has never won an Oscar for anything, yet you have given him an imaginary Oscar. Your article is incorrect there. None of The Avengers are Oscar winners. Robert Downey Jr. and Jeremy Renner have the most Nominations at 2 each, Samuel Jackson and Mark Ruffalo have one Nomination each. These are the only Avengers nominated for Oscars. I like Mark Ruffalo very much, however, “the now banished Edward Norton” has been Nominated for two Oscars already. Wow, you should really fix your error. You just took Journalism down a notch.

    • Anna says:

      Thank you so much for fixing your article. I still really do like your article, I like it alot more now. Thanks again.

  8. Serge says:

    S.J. is stolen biological material, taken against will and formed to clones line 200 pieces total. Sign of dangerous criminal activity. Original Scarlett Galabekian future pediatrician doctor, pediatrician nurse license she obtained in 2008

  9. Chris says:

    Beyond the challenge of making an Avengers movie with so many characters and story lines — Spider-Man 3 shows how that can add up to a failed mess — the biggest headache for Joss Whedon will be handling the egos on the set who all want screen time. Robert Downey alone is a handful. Hopefully they will trust Whedon and his script and make the kind of entertainment that he is capable of making — clever dialog, smart storytelling with edgy plot twists and rollicking adventure driven by memorable characters. If there is anyone in Hollywood who can channel the creative juices that Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and the Marvel bullpen were able to create in the comic books of the 1960s, it is Joss Whedon.

  10. Jim says:

    Shame about the wasp and antman/goliath (giantman?)/yellowjacket – Yellowjacket was one of my favourites… the fact he winds up going mad could have been interesting cinema.
    If they do a sequel they need the Vision too.

  11. william solano says:

    espero que esta produccion tenga mucha accion y muchos efectos especiales y un buena trama en los libretos porque lo que hace a una pelicula exitosa es el guion y la forma en que se forjan las historias vean el caso de la ultima pelicula de harry photer un exito rotundo la pregunta es que la llevo a ser la pelicula mas taquillera del 2011 por algo seria espero ser soprendido con los efectos especiales de esta pelicula

  12. Aaron says:

    Honestly I think instead of having Mark Ruffalo play as the Hulk that it would have been better to bring back Eric Bana to fill in, because for starters the Ang Lee version was way better than the one Edward norton starred in, as well as more acurate to the story line, it would also probably be better to bring in a familiar face instead now having another person play the Hulk, I don't know if I'm the only one that has this complaint, but bringing in someone new just pushes my buttons.

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