With great thanks to Molly and particularly Brian Clark for this great translation, here’s a fluent, very enjoyable English version of a recent interview Joss Whedon gave to Gizmodo in Japan.
It’s Gizmodo’s piece so please at least give their original story a click. All Bleeding Cool (and by we, I mean the Clarks) have done is made it into The English, and we only did that because Gizmodo did such a great job in the first place.
So, read on for fascinating stuff on The Avengers, The Avengers 2 and all that other Marvel business in between, newly in a language that I understand.
Gizmodo (G): The Avengers is the most watched movie in the world at this time, congratulations. During its making did you ever think that it would succeed this much?
Joss Whedon (W): Thank you. To be honest, no one thought that it would be as big of a success as it has been. When making a movie I always tell myself “Everything’s going fine, this is going to be amazing” to get rid of my worries, but Avengers was a hit that really exceeded everyone’s expectations.
G: What did you want to show to the Japanese audience, who isn’t very familiar with these heroes?
W: The first thing I’d like to say is that this movie is very big in scale. But to me there are things about it that are also very small. This is a movie that features its characters at the center after all. The heroes were created by Marvel Comics, and I loved them back when they appeared in comics long ago. But I made this movie for people who aren’t familiar with those heroes and haven’t seen past Marvel Comics movies. At first they really conflict with each other, but in the end it’s a tale of them having to work together.
The thing that I was the most happy with was the chemistry that occurred between the actors on this stage of the Marvel Comics world. So I made this movie with the feeling of inviting in those who weren’t fans of Marvel Comics and these heroes.
G: This is just an assumption, but might you like to set one of your future movies to Japan as well?
W: Yes, it would be very cool if I could! I’d love to have a story set in Cleveland but do the filming in Japan.
G: When you thought about the concerns of society in recent years, did you feel a movie with heroes like the Avengers in it should exist?
W: Of course there’s a part of me that is tired of this world in which people are so conflicted with each other. Superhero comics and movies have implied the bad points of reality in a tough and satirical way. Messages like “Heroes don’t save anything”.
But I wanted to say “No, it’s heroic if everyone combines their strength and works together” through aesthetics in response to these old messages. That sort of thing may not be enough for today’s world, at least not in America. For some reason or another unity itself is treated somewhat like a joke. I think that’s the sort of thing everyone’s looking for.
G: Were you aware of these sorts of things when you were making this movie?
W: Of course I thought about it, but it’s difficult to incorporate current events into the scenarios of a movie that’s going to be shown to the public in 2 years. What I wanted to create was an old fashioned movie like the ones I saw when I was a kid. It’s not that I think things were much better back then, but I do think there are some things that are lost in modern movies. As things that have such a strong cultural identity, they’ve become very inhuman things that are explosion after explosion.
But by looking back into the past, I wanted to grasp hold of more than just nostalgia, but the essence of the values that existed when I was a kid. I think that’s something that’s universal.
G: You reference movies that you saw when you were a kid, but what sorts of movies are you referring to?
W: Movies that gave birth to the ideas behind blockbusters like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Jaws. They took time to make and were full of unforgettable characters. Movies that are made today are very different. I yearn for those times.
G: A lot of different heroes appear in Avengers, but the spotlight the spotlight really did shine on all of them. Was writing the scenarios particularly difficult?
W: Yeah, writing the scenarios for this movie was nothing but difficult. It was like homework. I didn’t want to include characters that don’t do anything in the movie, because casting these actors and not allowing them to do anything would just be absurd. So thinking about the structure was really like a mathematical puzzle.
But once I figured out everyone’s place, coming up with the characters’ appropriate speech and behaviors was really very easy. I really love these characters too.
G: What type of research did you do in order to make this movie?
W: I did an incredibly large amount of scientific research. I told the staff “Find me words that sound science-y”. I was an English major in college, so I approach movies from a very emotional perspective. At first I was literally writing “Science, science, science” in the dialogue and going back and to fill in the proper wording later. It was purely by good luck that there wasn’t anything in the movie that wasn’t based in realistic practice or theory.
G: The Avengers was filmed in 2D and made 3D in post-production. Why did you choose to do things this way?
W: There are always extra scenes in the credits of all Marvel Comics movies, but actually I directed the one in Thor. At that point it was filmed in 3D but the equipment broke, it took a lot of time, and it was a really big deal.
But current 3D conversion technology is really amazing, and Marvel is very picky. Having a sense for things in a 3D space and filming while feeling that space was a very easy thing for me. I’m just tired of seeing just things flying toward the camera. So I had to make things look good for 3D in 2D. My eyes and senses work that way, so the conversion from 2D was no problem.
G: It was recently announced that you’ll be directing The Avengers 2, but should we be expecting bigger events, a bigger team and a bigger villain for the next movie?
W: It would seem so. Normally you would think a sequel would be bigger, but I was thinking I’d like to do the opposite and go smaller. When I presented that idea I was asked in return “So you’re going to turn down the volume on the movie?”, but that’s not what I meant at all.
Of course new characters will be added. But having just met this wonderful cast, even I’ve just begun groping for a demonstration of what kind of synergy they have together. I’ve said that it’s important to put in not only necessarily always a large scale, but a lot of love. Movies can be on a grand scale but also more personal. I’ve already touched on that, so I don’t really need to go into it again. The issue is really just how deep can I delve in.
G: It seems as though you’ll be collaborating on filming some Marvel Comics TV series as well.
W: That’s right. I can’t talk about that right now, but if I could say one thing it would be that Marvel has brought new meaning to the entertainment industry with The Avengers. It’s not merely pride, but a particular way of thinking. It’s a very exciting thing.
G: How much will you be involved with future Marvel movies?
W: I’ll be very deeply involved. My contract is not simply to make The Avengers 2, but to consult on the entire Marvel world view. So that’s why I’m involved in TV series as well. I’m talking with Kevin [Feige] about all of the future movies that will be released. They’ll all be great movies and we’re cooperating so that they all tie into The Avengers 2.
G: So they’ll all be unified them.
W: Yes. But since they should all have their own unique franchise identities, they can’t all be the same. So we’re continually careful to not have them fall into the same pattern, and we definitely have to meet expectations. Naturally they all have to have ties back to Avengers. It’s very fun creating an integrated world, but at the same time they are each unique. When they’re all together they’ll definitely be exciting.
W: Well…[he points to the Avengers poster] they’ll all definitely be in it. Apart from that, the character conflicts will be fresh and their problems will be unique and realistic.
I know where the characters stand within each of their stories, but at the same time the Avengers series has to exist in a different place from those. People who see The Avengers should be able to see The Avengers 2 without seeing the other movies.
As for putting something from all of the other works into my movie, it would not only be inconsistent with my own plans but would also be conceited of me. No matter what the movie, you only have once chance to approach the audience with those characters.
G: Thank you for spending your precious time with us today.
Thank you Joss, Gizmodo and The Clarks.