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November 02 2010

Robert Downey Jr. comments on Joss Whedon's Avengers script. He's a bit piss-takey but it's strangely endearing.

"We’re pretty sure that Downey is kidding,"

Words to live by :).
I think RDJ is too smart to say something like that if he meant it, of course he is yanking our chain!
I'm honestly having trouble remembering the last time he didn't say something serious and then crush it with a wacky addendum.
Everything about this was great.

I can't stop getting hyped about this movie, I'll think I've reached the hype limit and then NO I get even more excited!

"I can't stopped" is one of the better typos I've had lately.

[ edited by Cazador on 2010-11-02 22:34 ]
Totally squeeing over this. I'm very excited for the Avengers!
I really hope this movie is big, so we can have more Joss goodness for many, many years. It kills me that nearly all the Mutant Enemy writers are writing for hit series and branching out into movies, and Joss is being held back by nimrods in suits.
This is going to rule!!!

I've been telling my brother and sister for decades that a team superhero movie, done right, could be the biggest grossing movie in history. And if they're smart, they'll have a cameo for Spider-man. (He was an Avenger for a while and lives right in the neighborhood.)

And Simon, bonus points for using the phrase, "piss-takey."
I'm sure he's yanking fan-boy chains a bit and kidding in as much as he said it right out there, in public, before the filming's even begun.

That said, i've seen interviews where he's claimed outright for 'Iron Man' (first one) that he helped to effectively write it as they went and he seemed entirely serious those times. I've a lot of time for Downey Jr. in general but unless it's absolutely 100% verifiably true (and arguably even then), that's not necessarily that cool a thing to say IMO - writers don't get much credit as it is so for a huge film to come out, be successful and then have its star effectively claim they threw the script out would have to be pretty disappointing i'm sure.
With Iron Man 2 I know they let Mickey rewrite things - he added the pet thing, he claims - which kinda fills me with dread. I'm guessing with The Avengers, they will need to be extremely strict with regards to the script and saying the lines on set, if they want production to go smooth.
@gossi For what it's worth, I think the parrot was a weak part of Iron Man 2, but the rest of the script, story, and acting completely made up for it. I enjoyed the movie immensely, and if what RDJ said was true and he had a lot of input and writing on the first movie, The Avengers is in good hands (no matter how many hands there are). I loved Iron Man. I think this will be fantastic.
RDJ is probably kidding. I don't think I've seen an interview that he's been perfectly serious in in a long while.
so when does they start shooting?
They start shooting in Feb.It would be cool to have a Spidey cameo but that won't happen since the rights to Spidey are with Sony(Ghost Ride as well) just like the rights to all mutants are at FOX along with Fantastic Four and Daredevil.
And as long as they release a movie or spin off(no matter how crappy) every few years they get to keep the rights. Thats why Sony rushed Ghost Rider 2 into production. And Fox is going to do a Fantastic Four reboot.
Actually Saje, I think they were so giddy to have a big name actor attached to Iron Man that they were willing to concede pretty much anything, sort of like how Edward Norton was allowed to give his own polish on the Incredible Hulk screenplay and he had some sort of a secret producer credit that led to some conflict.

While I think it was Jeff Bridges that said they didn't have a script at all, I'm pretty sure most of the other bigger players have more or less admitted things along those lines that the dialogue was mostly improvised from an outline of where the script was heading. (I heard they had to do the same with a lot of other blockbusters in terms of finding excuses to transition between set pieces, particularly the second Transformers movie and the writer's strike, though I have no idea how this one actually managed to turn out pretty great.)

While Bridges assumed it was a production thing since they had the release date in place way before they had a script in place, I sort of gave them the benefit of the doubt and assumed that Favreau as the director was totally/tonally down with a more casual tone. I know that Joss reputedly tends to adhere much more strictly to the dialogue as its punctuated so I'm curious how that would work when the stars could potentially out-power him. (Was it Whedon where the director would let the actors do a few takes the way they wanted but then end up using his own stuff most of the time? Since I do do seem to remember "faster, faster would be better!" was a Fillion line...)
Joss is known for being "keen" that his words are said, he's apparently mellowed slightly but from a couple of things said in interviews for 'Dollhouse' (by both cast and Joss himself) I think it's still pretty much the case. Which will no doubt lead to friction if the same thing happens on Avengers as on e.g. 'Iron Man', particularly when, as you say, the stars arguably have more clout (and multi-picture deals) than the writer/director.

(this is, in fact, seemingly one of Joss' biggest issues with Donald Sutherland on the Buffy movie - he was constantly changing his lines. And Donald Sutherland is one the few people i've ever seen Joss actively diss, it's clearly stuck with him for 18 years. Though admittedly he didn't direct that so had less control over the final product)

Actually Saje, I think they were so giddy to have a big name actor attached to Iron Man that they were willing to concede pretty much anything...

Actually, I may be wrong but I doubt it was the writers that were "giddy" to have their script thrown out and re-written from scratch on set (and even less so to have the star then go around saying it in public) and since Joss is writing Avengers it's how the writers felt that i'm really interested in. If anyone's got any info on that i'd love to see it.
All I recall re: Iron Man is that there was no tangible script to reference. They phoned up the Marvel guys, found out what they were shooting that day and went for it. I think Joss will somewhat allow leeway for RDJ to be a bit improv-y - that's who this Tony Stark is. (Plus, he must have taken on the role knowing full well what went on with films like this). Joss might hold importance over certain points, but I think by the same token, he'll let there be a bit of freestylin' when its okay.

We'll see, I suppose. It's gonna be ballin', no matter what. ;P
All I recall re: Iron Man is that there was no tangible script to reference.

Excellent. I would compound this by urging Joss to film The Avengers Dogme 95 style. Rule 8 should be fun to get round.
Pfft, Dogme 95 has been totally superceded by Dogme XP, now with added additions.

(after Googling, Rule 8, no genre movies, seems like it might be a challenge to overcome - "challenge" is the new impossible ;) - but i'd be sort of morbidly curious to see it adhering to Rule 3, about using a handheld camera. 'The Avengers Ultimatum' anyone ? Or maybe more apropos, 'The Avengers Locker' ;)
Oh whups, by the vague "they" I meant the studio/Marvel people rather than the screenwriters. Generally they're just assumed to have absolutely no clout right?

I think part of the reason Ed Norton got the Marvel reputation of being difficult was some of the stuff he said about tweaking his Incredible Hulk script. Apparently like with Speed they tend to arbitrate more towards plot points rather than dialogue, and Norton supposedly fleshed out Banner's motivations and he was a bit annoyed when not all of it made it to the final cut. He also may have said some iffy things in pre-publicity? Anyway, fun fact, Zak Penn-- of the pretty good X2 story and questionable X3 actual screenplay-- apparently got the credit for Hulk. And I'm pretty sure one of his Avengers drafts must have been scrapped or used as the foundation for when Whedon came aboard...?

I just looked up on IMDB what the Iron Man situation was-- I know the sequel's sole credit was that guy who starred in one of the Charlie's Angels movies who's doing the next Zoolander but I wasn't sure if he was competely new blood.

Two of the guys did Children of Men which I really liked and the other two guys worked on one of the Punisher sequels (I don't know what that says of quality, but one of them was also a key set PA on Go which I remember digging.) I'm not really sure how that fits in with Jeff Bridge's claims though.
Yeah, credits can be hard to fathom sometimes (and the WGA's decision on 'Speed' is right up there - as if somehow "mere" dialogue can't materially change the entire nature of a film) but I guess it's possible to have 4 screenwriters credited and still have no script whatsoever (big tent-pole movies sometimes end up with a "Frankenstein" script situation where they take bits from several drafts and stitch them together - maybe it came to the stitching part and Marvel realised that none of the drafts had enough of worth to make a whole). But if there was literally no script then on what basis did they agree to do the film ? Do big name stars often sign-on to a film without having read a script beforehand (not usually i'd hazard) ? My own speculation would be there's maybe a bit of after the fact mythologising going on there both by Bridges and Downey Jr. but I wasn't there so I don't know, maybe that's exactly what happened.

With 'The Incredible Hulk' my impression from articles, interviews etc. is that there was more character stuff in the original script and that Ed Norton had taken the role partly on that basis (and then added to it) and then that stuff had been mostly cut from the final film. If that's true you can understand him feeling a bit aggrieved, even as if he'd been duped into doing something he might not have done otherwise. Again though, just nebulous "impressions", I don't know the facts.
Kinda ironic that Ed Norton has the rep of being so difficult to work with. My impression is that RDJ is by far the bigger ego (having seen both interviewed a number of times).
But then I find it really hard to tell sometimes, whether Downey is joking or dead serious.
And if anyone can handle that huge cast, egos and all, I'm sure it's Joss.

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