9/25/2012

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Marvel's The Avengers is the must successful comic book movie ever. It's raked in over a billion dollars at the box office. It's been watched by millions and now that The Avengers is on Blu-Ray
it will be watched billions of times. But that doesn't mean you know the whole story.

"Hold onto your butts."

Here are the most surprising, shocking, and bewildering facts about the making of "Earth's Mightiest Heroes."

13. Nick Fury Was the Biggest Security Leak
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The Avengers script was under tight security with the code name "Group Hug." Unfortunately, the script was stolen and leaked online. Ironically, the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. was the source of the leak. Samuel L. Jackson used a printer while in Canada, and a digital copy of the script was left behind. The script was stolen thanks to Nick Fury's bungling.

12. Thank M. Night Shyamalan for Nick Fury
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When getting ready for Avengers Whedon had a specific vision of Nick Fury: Mr. Glass. Director Whedon explained that he loves Samuel L. Jackson's many acting roles from Pulp Fiction and more, but it was M. Night Shyamalan's Unbreakable that he wanted.

"Before we started shooting the film, I told Sam my biggest note to remember was 'less Shaft, more Glass (Jackson's character Elijah Price in Unbreakable).'" Whedon said, "I wanted to see a guy who could absolutely command a room with his voice that leaves no question of who is in charge of this enormous organization. I am also a huge Unbreakable fan, so I'm also very much in love with the great depth and well of sadness that he can bring to the character as well."

Thanks M. Night. We almost forgive you for Lady in the Lake. Almost.

11. The Shawarma Scene Was Inspired By the Crew's Real Friendship
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The cast of The Avengers were close off screen, as well as on. "It was like a circus crossed with a class reunion," laughed Joss Whedon on the final day of shooting. "Paparazzi and fans were everywhere and the cast was so happy to see each other, talk and catch up because they enjoyed hanging out together."  Whenever they shot a scene together as a group they would go out to eat afterwards. Just like in the post credits scene when the Avengers went out for shawarma. Except, unlike in the film, Loki went with them. Tom Hiddleston and Hemsworth were close from shooting Thor together.

10. The Hulk Was Inspired By Bill Bixby
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Mark Ruffalo's acting was inspired by the television show The Incredible Hulk. Producer Kevin Feige said, "Joss wrote the character so that audiences feel for Bruce Banner much in the way they felt for Bill Bixby. In The Avengers, Bruce Banner has a good sense of humor and he is not in a constant state of melancholy and moroseness. A lot of the laughs in the film come from the character and early on, when we saw what Mark was doing with the role, we felt we finally had an opportunity to present Bruce Banner the way we always wanted to."

Similar to the television Hulk series, Banner travels the world doing good. He settles in India because there is so much suffering there.

9. Hawkeye Could Have Taken Out the Hulk
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Originally, Hawkeye was supposed to have a number of arrows to use against The Avengers, including the Hulk. Jeremy Renner said Hawkeye didn't feel intimidated by the team. "Quite the opposite, he's the only one who can really take down the Hulk with his [tranquilizer-tipped] arrows." Renner told Entertainment Weekly. "He knows his limitations. But when it comes down to it, there has to be a sense of confidence in any superhero."

Concept art also shows an arrow that can take out Iron Man. Concept artist Fabien Lacey said, "It was really important to us that we gave him some credibility and some game changing weapons when it came to being able to battle with the other more well known Marvel heavy weights. One of the ideas we toyed with was giving him an arrow that could momentarily disable Iron Man."

Turns out, he wasn't just a guy with a cute bow and arrow.

8. There Were Real Soldiers in the Battle Scenes


The Avengers production shot battle scenes for New York City's 42nd Street in Cleveland, Ohio on East 9th Street. Army Reserve soldiers assigned to the 391s Military Police Battalion provided background action during the battle scenes. Staff Sgt. Michael T. Landis said using real soldiers made the scenes more realistic. He said, "It's easy for us to make on-the-spot corrections to tactics and uniforms, the director actually took our recommendation." Instead of watching actors pretend to fight in battles and screwing up "we used actual tactics that we know," Spc Daniel Lee said. "Instead of trying to teach civilians the same thing, we were able to accurately portray the fighting warrior."

7. The Scene With Banner And The Security Guard Was Supposed to Be Surreal

The scene where a naked Banner wakes up and talks to a security guard, while funny, was actually really important. As originally written, it was 12 pages long.

"I needed to get Banner from the horror of what he had done and almost killing Scarlett - or Natasha, I should say - in to, you know, a place where he was prepared to go back into that [Hulk] state." Whedon said. "He needs somebody who will just accept him. I sort of got him stuck in my head and I was like who is more accepting than Harry Dean Stanton? And, so I got to write this weird little scene - which when I wrote it was not little, it was about 12 pages long. I was like oh, this is great, Banner falls into a Coen Brothers movie! The fact that they even let me keep that concept and that we actually landed Harry Dean to play it was very exciting. "

Thanks to his director of photography Seamus Garvey, Whedon was able to cast Stanton.
"The idea was to put [Banner] in a slightly surreal situation with somebody who clearly had no problem with [The Hulk], just to make that little transition without milking it too much." Whedon added, "And besides, to work with Harry Dean and to quiz him about Alien and The Missouri Breaks? What a privilege!" Most of the scene was cut from the film but the extended cut is on the Blu-Ray.

6. The Avengers and X-Men Movies Are Connected 
 
Director Joss Whedon wrote a script treatment, and was one of the directors considered for X-Men. His script wasn't used, but two lines remained from his script. The first was the exchange between Cyclops and Wolverine: "It's me." "Prove it." "You're a d***k."

Whedon also wrote the worst joke in the film. Storm's line, "Do you know what happens to a toad when it's struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else." Also, Whedon's X-Men comic "Gifted" inspired the plot of X Men: The Last Stand.

5. Agent Coulson's Uniform is an Expensive Suit

Agent Phil Coulson isn't a superhero. He has no powers. But he still wore a uniform. The character of Agent Coulson was created for Iron Man as the face of S.H.I.E.L.D, and actor Clark Gregg said the suit made him feel like a super hero.

"His costume is actually part of his disguise." Gregg said. "By the time I was doing some combat in the Marvel One Shots - wearing my black Dolce & Gabbana suit, which is actually really flexible and breathable - my costume really started to feel like my uniform. Its not the same as the Mark V Iron Man suit or Hawkeye’s amazing S.H.I.E.L.D gear, but it really is Coulson’s uniform. And when I put on that suit and shirt and tie, and sometimes my sunglasses, I kind of feel like I’m back home again. When I put on my costume and walked on set of The Avengers, and walked into a room on the Helicarrier with everybody else in their uniforms, I felt like one of the super heroes who is part of The Avengers - and my uniform just happens to be very expensive black material.”

Dolce & Gabbana suits can cost almost $3,000 dollars.

4. The Concept Artists Redesigned the Heli-Carrier Because of One Scene Change

Originally, the opening of The Avengers would have Captain America stumble outside and discover he was on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Heli-Carrier floating in the sky over New York City. Script writer, and director, Joss Whedon decided that it would be more dramatic to do the takeoff from the water. The concept artists designed the wings of the carrier flush at the flight deck level. Which meant you would see them as soon as you see the carrier. Whedon wanted the wings hidden under the water.

"When that decision was made we went into sort of a panic mode." concept artist Nathan Schroeder said. "How do we get the wings out of the shot and still make it look [right?] It has kind of a nice aggressive posture when the wings are up higher and if you bring the wings down it's not as interesting."

"So, we had to come up with some way that the wings could actually move. They kind of climb up and down on the side of the ship. So they start underwater, and if you pay really lose attention, they kind of elevate upwards and lock into a final position. If you see the original, when its in the water you can see there is bit of folded pieces where the wing is. And if you look at the underside of the Helicarrier you'll see that I put in some tracks on the front wings and back wings to suggest that's how it rides up and down."

3. Whedon Likes Black Widow's Feet

One of director Joss Whedon's trademarks is bare feet. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) fights off her interrogators wearing stockings and there's a closeup of her feet when she bends over to pick up her high heels. In all Pepper Pott's scenes, set at the apartment in Stark Tower, she is barefoot.

2. Mark Ruffalo Looks Like the Hulk...Without Makeup

A large brow. Thick lips. Small nose and deep set eyes. These are all the features of Mark Ruffalo. They are, coincidentally, the face of the Hulk. Joss Whedon wanted to use Mark Ruffalo's face, movements and voice for the Hulk. Something that had never been done by other live-action Hulks. The concept artists were instructed to take Ruffalo's face to make the Hulk.

Marvel concept artist Ryan Meinderding said, "Joss really pushed us to take some of the cues from those early Hulks and combine them with Mark Ruffalo's features. At first, we couldn't see how that would work - but he was dead-on in that direction. Mark's face really lends itself to hulking out, and we affectionately called the design 'Hulkalo'."

Not exactly the world's most handsome man.

1. The Movie Takes The Plot of the First Avengers Comic

In the first issue of The Avengers #1 (Sept. 1963), created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist/co-plotter Jack Kirby, it was Thor's brother Loki that caused the team to come together. In the movie, Loki again creates a threat too big for one hero to save the world.

References:
Updated 9/30/2012
What was the most surprising bit of Avengers trivia?

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24 comments:

M Pax said...

These were fun to read. I look forward to seeing this movie. We'll probably save it until the holidays.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Ooops. Thanks Darthstich. I originally had 13 and cut it to 11. I added them back in.

darthstich said...

I can't help but notice that the article is called "The 13 Most Surprising 'Avengers' Facts of All Time" and there is only 11

Alex J. Cavanaugha said...

Hasn't had a hit since Signs. Sad.

Tony Laplume said...

#10 could be reworked a little. (First of all, M. Night is awesome and always will be.) The title of it is misleading in that Jackson originally got the role because the Ultimates version had already famously recast the white Nick Fury as Samuel L. Jackson. But on the whole, liked how Whedon gave that direction for the performance. Best part of the movie.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Pat, duly noted! Should I act surprised when I win?

Maurice Mitchell said...

Alex, M. Night had so much promise. Maybe he'll come back with After Earth.

Pat Dilloway said...

Keep #1 in mind for the November trivia question on my blog and you could easily win the $5. I'm just saying.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Number seven made me laugh! And Whedon has a foot fetish?
Fury is the only thing we can thank Shyamalan for as of late. Unless he's giving up directing. Shame he lost his touch.

jeremy [retro-zombie] said...

oh, i have a footsee thing i think... i watched the film last night and still found myself jumping and screaming at the tv...

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