They say it’s never better than the first time, and it turns out that that’s kind of true for Joss Whedon and his foray into blockbuster filmmaking. Not for the first time, Whedon is talking about the difficulties in making Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the difficulties in trying to top himself while improving himself after the smash hit that was 2012’s The Avengers. With then one movie under his belt, Whedon became the second most successful director in terms of box office take of a single movie of all time. For his encore, he took on the hotly anticipated sequel to the superhero movie, which wasn’t just facing the crush of expectation left over from The Avengers, but of the other four Marvel Studios movies released in-between Avengers adventures too. In that case, it’s pretty understandable then that in Whedon’s case, two was enough.
In an honest and insightful new interview with Hero Complex, Whedon candidly talked about the things he struggled with on-set and off while making Age of Ultron, and it’s predecessor. “It’s weird because the first one was very, very, very, hard,” he said. “This one was much harder. It a little bit broke me.”
I wanted this film to be its own movie. I wanted it to be better, if possible, than the first one — not that the first one was the best movie ever made, but I wanted to do better, just be better at shooting. I wanted to work harder on the script. I wanted to spend more time just really working every aspect of it, because why go again if you’re not doing something new? And I shot it very differently, and all of that became sort of a burden where I was like, “I want to make something great!” And then I heard that voice in my head every time, “But is this a great idea?” And suddenly I had doubt that I don’t usually suffer from. And meanwhile, the studio’s gonna have some too, because everything’s riding on this all of a sudden. And it became a problem in a way that nothing else has.
Sounds like there’s some parallels there between Tony Stark’s character arc in Age of Ultron, Whedon was so desperate to make something good that his own creation ended up eating him, metaphorically-speaking. But aside from Whedon’s own anxieties were his much discussed back-and-forth with the studio about what parts of the movie should stay in and what parts of the movie should be cut.
Some of it was a fight, and some of it wasn’t, because they said, “OK, you know what? We’re terrified, but you know, you’ve earned this.” There are battles I lost, there are battles I won, but most of it was you know, was us just going, “We’re just going to keep working this, just keep working the problem and making it better.” And I had Jeff [Ford] and Lisa [Lassek], my editors for the first one, who are just mavericks and are very responsible for the stories making any sense at all. Those two, they saved my life so many times. They’re storytellers. It’s a beautiful thing to behold.
Many fans would agree that Whedon managed to strike a “best of both worlds” scenario with the finished cut, but the struggle also affected Whedon in other ways than his desire to make yet another Avengers film. (As I’m sure you know, Anthony and Joe Russo will be making Avengers: Infinity War Pt 1 and 2.) Whedon famously made his indie Shakespeare movie Much Ado About Nothing between principal photography and post-production on the first Avengers, but while making the sequel, it was all Ultron, all the time.
And at some point, Kevin [Feige] and Jeremy [Latcham] jokingly kind of said, “Oh, it’s a long weekend, are you sure you don’t want to maybe make a Shakespeare movie?” That’s how burnt I was. They were like begging me to make a Shakespeare movie because they were like, “It makes him happy, he might calm down.”
But as the Bard said, all’s well that ends well.
I worked really hard. I’m proud of everybody in the movie, I’m proud of everyone who worked on the movie. … This child may be insane, but it’s mine. It’s like Ultron. It may try to kill you all. But I love it.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is currently in theaters everywhere.
Source: Geek Tyrant