When Marvel's Avengers reassemble onscreen next summer, they'll have company from a pair of new superheroes, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen are playing the super-siblings in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The sequel to Marvel Studios' biggest blockbuster isn't just a reunion of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, but it also brings Taylor-Johnson and Olsen together in a very different context. In this month's Godzilla remake, the young actors play Ford and Elle Brody, a husband and wife separately attempting to survive Godzilla's wrath.
With Godzilla opening nationwide on May 16, the actors are on the promotional trail, where they're naturally being asked about next summer's mega-sequel. At the New York press day for Godzilla, IAR Managing Editor Jami Philbrick had the opportunity to speak with both Olsen and Taylor-Johnson about Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Philbrick's full conversations with the stars will be available closer to the Godzilla release. For now, though, we have new insights on the Avengers sequel. Both Taylor-Johnson and Olsen opened up a bit about how they went from one summer movie to another, the secretive production, the siblings' Eastern European accents, playing superheroic, and the first look at Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Playing a costumed comic book character isn't new for Taylor-Johnson, who previously starred as the title character in Kick-Ass and its sequel. Still, Avengers: Age of Ultron is a much more high-profile performance. Speaking with Jami, the actor revealed that he was persuaded to join by writer-director Joss Whedon.
"Just before I started Godzilla I met Joss," he explained. "He said to me, 'Do you want to be in Avengers 2? There is a super hero I’m thinking of for you.' The thing for me was for him, 'Why add any more super heroes to this thing?' He said, 'No, there are these two characters that I want to bring in to like fuck with the Avengers and not be just an add on.' He told me a little bit about the writing and I said that the only reason I would want to do it is if it is a character that can still stand out."
"You know, you’ve got five of the most awesome super heroes, ten I suppose, there are about ten Avengers now, and they are all movie stars," Taylor-Johnson continued. "You’ve got such a huge cast, what the hell difference is it going to make if I come on the scene? So it was the character and that took about a year of going back and forth about it. It took a while but I’m super happy to be in that one."
It's not often that a pair of actors go from one blockbuster remake to an even bigger blockbuster sequel together. This wasn't lost on Olsen, who said, "I mean it was such a funny coincidence. We had just finished Godzilla and then we were the two people approached for Avengers. It was kind of random. But we were like, 'That sounds awesome. Lets do it again.'"
"We have a much more closer connection in Avengers actually," she continued. "Because we play these twin brother and sister that never leave each other’s side. In Godzilla, the whole point is that we are apart. So it’s totally different, but nice to have known him and his family, and him as a person as well as an actor before doing that."
"It was like, lets try and make these characters so different," said Taylor-Johnson. "And it was cool to be playing Eastern European as well. So we are trying to embrace that."
Having revealed that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, aka Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, are Eastern European in the sequel, Taylor-Johnson was asked if he and Olsen are playing them with accents, to which he replied, "Yeah, but they might fucking ADR it out at the end, who knows?"
In March, unofficial photos from the Italian set of Avengers: Age of Ultron revealed first looks at the actors in costume, combating the villainous Ultron, an artificial intelligence played by James Spader. Marvel Studios maintains extreme secrecy on all its movies, but the interest is simply too great to avoid such set photos.
"With the secrecy stuff, it’s just that no one really pays attention when you are in Vancouver making Godzilla," said Olsen. "The actors in Godzilla, people love them and respect them, but people are not media crazy about paparazzi or whatever."
"You’re not allowed to talk about anything! Which is very funny and scary at the same time," she said.
Despite the secrecy, Olsen was able to confirm that she and Taylor-Johnson are both on board the next Avengers for the long haul, saying, "We’re shooting through summer."
The globe-trotting production continues through summer, but Taylor-Johnson revealed that fans can expect an Avengers visit at San Diego Comic-Con this July. "I’ve done Comic-Con before but going there as an Avenger is a whole new thing," he said.
Though audiences won't see Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver cutting loose onscreen until May 1, 2015, the duo have already had a cinematic introduction. Spoiler alert, but last month's Captain America: The Winter Soldier included a mid-credits tease introducing Thomas Kretschmann as the villainous Baron Von Strucker. The Hydra baddie was joined by Quicksilver, using his super speed in a confined space, and Scarlet Witch, using her chaos magic to float building blocks.
Obviously, the teaser inspired a lot of excitement and discussion among fans, but Olsen said, "I didn’t really read any of the feedback. I just have one friend that works at Bad Robot, so she is on all these blogs all the time, and she’ll send me her favorites ones. She only sends me the good stuff but I like that people were stoked about our characters, and everyone was like, 'What are they? Who are they? What’s their excuse going to be because they can’t talk about X-Men?'"
She was referring to the fact that both Marvel Studios and 20th Century Fox hold film rights to the characters, who are mutants in Marvel Comics. Because Fox owns the X-Men rights, though, Avengers: Age of Ultron cannot reference their mutant heritage or their relationship with Magneto, their father. This summer's X-Men: Days of Future Past contains an entirely different version of Quicksilver, one played by Evan Peters. That sequel previously contained a cameo from a young Scarlet Witch, but that was excised in post-production.
So Olsen will be the first actress to play the comic book character on the big screen. "It’s awesome to try and create a role that has not been portrayed in live action yet," she enthused. "It’s been cartoons, comics, and video games. It’s fun to take what we are doing, the comics, the cartoon, and the fans, and try to figure it out where you are going to play."
For the actress, best known for her searing performance in the independent drama Martha Marcy May Marlene, Avengers: Age of Ultron represents her most extensive experience with visual effects and green screen.
"Avengers has been a totally different experience with special effects because you’re not just reacting to your imagination, you’re interacting with your imagination. What you are pretending to look at, you’re not running away from you are engaging with," she explained. "So that is different. It’s like being a kid and seeing everything from … I played make believe until an inappropriate age and I still am. So it’s just going back to that child."