There’s a story about how the normally jovial and kind-hearted Ian McKellen lost his cool in the first days of filming The Hobbit trilogy when he looked around the set and realized he was acting against a bunch of photos of actors attached to sticks standing in for dwarves. In case you’ve never tried it, acting with a bunch of faces on sticks isn’t easy, as acting against inanimate objects because of modern film technology is sometimes cumbersome to giving a human performance. But what if the character you’re playing isn’t human? Motion capture technology is the method that director Joss Whedon chose to bring the titular villain to life in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and according to Whedon, the outfit and the technology actually helped actor James Spader get in touch with his inner-robot.
While visiting the set of Age of Ultron, Cinema Blend and others heard from Whedon about the process of Ultron-izing Spader. Referencing the actor’s first scene with Black Widow Scarlett Johansson, Whedon outlined just what all Spader was dealing with as he played one of The Avengers’ greatest nemeses:
“The day Spader got here we put on the mo-cap pajamas, a giant thing with red dots on it for his eye line, a giant pack, and a helmet with two cameras in his face with lights to record his performance. He then did a scene with Scarlett, but could not look him in the eye because she was looking up in his eye line. And nor could he see her, because he had two lights shining in his face, and he didn’t have his glasses on. Therefore he has a certain distance from humanity too.”
I could totally see why that would invest someone with the personality of an evil robot. I hate trying to see without my glasses too. Come to think of it, I also hate having bright lights shining in my face. And wearing a heavy pack. That’s it, I’m glad I politely refused Whedon when he called and offered my the roll. Kidding aside, it might be understandable that even the most passive and friendly person might be driven to the brink of insanity, forced to where their own complex infrastructure in order to play a part in a movie. According to Whedon though, Spader took it all in stride.
“God bless him, he was wonderful and, and very game and has been the whole time. He’s very interested in the mechanics of the mechanics and finding the humanity. He and I share a genuine love of this version of Ultron, and he has an innate eccentricity in his delivery that is everything that I had hoped Ultron would be.”
But will he be everything that you hope Ultron can be? Judge for yourself when the full rendered Spader as Ultron appears in Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015.
Source: Cinema Blend