It’s no secret that two of the major new characters introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron (which opens this Friday, May 1) are twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, better known as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Their development, starting from the brief glimpse we had of them in the mid-credits scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and continuing throughout Age of Ultron, is one of the central plots of the movie. So it was great, a few weeks ago, to sit down with a group of fellow bloggers to talk with Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen, who brought those characters to life.
Some parts of the interview can’t be shared publicly yet for fear of spoilers, but they did have a lot of other interesting information about filming the movie and how they prepared for it. Here are some of the highlights of the group interview:
First, Taylor-Johnson was asked about how the scenes where Quicksilver uses his ability to move very fast were filmed. I found it interesting, because I thought the running effect was achieved better in Age of Ultron than it was in X-Men: Days of Future Past. In the latter, with the exception of the kitchen scene, the movie pretty much just showed Quicksilver start moving, and then abruptly appearing at his destination. In Age of Ultron, however, you see him moving as a blur when you’re not shown his point of view; this is more in keeping with the comic book depiction of the character, and I thought it worked very nicely.
- You did a lot of running, and obviously some of it’s special effects, but did you have to really do a lot of running?
- That was pretty much what I did all day long. It was like: if in doubt, run. All the special effects is sped up. We’d shoot the scene, like if [Olsen] was in the scene I’d run up to her, we’d shoot that. We did the dialogue and then we’d have to do a plate afterwards where she’d step out and I’d do the run up and then they would speed that up. Even though you wouldn’t really know because it goes so quick[ly], all the running where there’s a blur it was me behind it.
Olsen was later asked about portraying Scarlet Witch’s powers considering that, unlike the Avengers and her brother, she doesn’t have to do anything very physical to use them.
- Since basically all of your powers are special effects, how was it for you to act out those parts where you’re just kind of staring?
- Well, you know what, it’s actually really fun because a lot of people have stunt doubles, and my stuff is kind of like a dance, so I can’t have a stunt double come in and do that. So… I always got to be in control over my character’s body movements, which was cool and it was fun because there’s no blueprint to how Scarlet Witch moves, [be]cause you just see these awesome finger, hand gestures and these circular red things.
And so I worked with a movement coach and she and I watched Joss’s version of Scarlet Witch, and that was really enjoyable to watch [be]cause he would do the motions and we would interpret it into our own thing. It was really fun to work with the dancer on something like that and it adds a different visual element to the fighting. And it also felt a little funny because I’m not making contact with anything, like literally zero contact. So you just kind of trust that you’re [going to] put a robot where my eyes [are focused]. There’s a lot of trust that goes in when you have special effects that I wasn’t used to, and then after seeing the movie I was like “Aha, now I’m comfortable.”
They mentioned early in the interview that the two of them had worked together previously, on last year’s Godzilla. That prompted this, later:
- You said that when you came onto the set with you guys working together before, that made it easy; but what was it like coming out to the set with the established [actors]?
- Yeah, that was kind of the initial thing: this is their fourth or fifth movie playing these characters. They’re pretty comfortable in that kind of situation and with each other, and just understand the whole kind of the mechanics of it [be]cause, you know, this movie is such a machine. It just keeps going and going and you’re a small piece to the [Rubik’s] Cube, and you’ve seen the quality of movies they’ve done before so you can have trust, but it’s just [that] you don’t quite understand.
It feels slightly daunting but it sort of very quickly becomes a kind of family environment. They’ve set up over the years, and are very comfortable with one another, so it feels… relaxed and chill and the way they are [in the interviews] is the way they were on set. It’s just a lot of fun, and once you have a laugh with that then you know it’s kind of cool, and you can kind of think about what you’re doing rather than kind of observing, like “Wow, this is pretty [expletive] cool and overwhelming and surreal.” It’s kind of crazy but yes, it was good.
With [Olsen] it’s just that our characters are kind of combined, so I can kind of rely on her and vice-versa. In those sort of situations it’s just like [our characters] feel slightly uncomfortable around the Avengers anyway, so early on we’re kind of outsiders anyway. So I think it also kind of played within it.
Those are all the highlights that won’t spoil anything for people who haven’t yet seen the movie. If you haven’t yet, please read my review of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and keep checking back on GeekDad, because there’s a lot more Avengers goodness yet to come – including, tomorrow, an interview with Joss Whedon himself! Also, this Friday, May 1 (when the movie debuts) I’ll be publishing one of GeekDad’s traditional “10 Things Parents Should Know” articles about the movie.
My press trip to L.A. was paid for by Marvel/Disney. All opinions expressed here are my own.