Marvel just released its first official trailer for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, and it looks like this movie might be the biggest MCU release yet after picking up a record-breaking 230 million views in the first 24 hours it showed up online. The previous record holder was Stephen King’s It, which picked up 197 million views its first day. One of the biggest things that the trailer showed was that there will be a plethora of major stars appearing in this film. That is likely one of the reasons that the budget is an estimated $1 billion for the two-part movie.
Avengers: Infinity War pits The Avengers, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy against the arriving Thanos (Josh Brolin), and it might end up as the largest star-studded movie in cinema history. With so many A-listers appearing together in this giant film, there are also a ton of stories behind-the-scenes that might interest MCU fans. With fun stories, interesting trivia, and controversial moments, here is a look at 15 behind-the-scenes facts about the Avengers: Infinity War actors that many fans don’t know.
15 DAVE BAUTISTA WAS A SUPERNATURAL CHARACTER KNOWN AS LEVIATHAN
Sure, almost everyone knows that Dave Bautista wrestled in the WWE under the name Batista. He is a former WWE world champion and feuded with most of the major WWE superstars of his era, including John Cena, Triple H, and The Shield. However, what many mainstream fans don’t know is how Batista got his start in wrestling. Before showing up in the WWE, he wrestled in the company's developmental territory in Ohio.
However, he wasn’t known as Batista at that time. Instead, federation organizer Jim Cornette created a character for him called Leviathan and introduced the gimmick by having him arrive walking out of the ocean, a supernatural being groomed to battle Kane and The Undertaker in the future. He was successful, winning the main title in Ohio Valley before losing it to The Prototype (John Cena). He then moved up to the WWE under the name Batista, leaving the gimmick behind, and trading it in for being a "Deacon" in a "church."
14 MARVEL DIDN'T WANT ROBERT DOWNEY JR.
Marvel took a chance on a lesser known character in Iron Man when starting its production studio. Comic fans knew Tony Stark, as did kids who grew up watching cartoons in the ‘90s. However, Marvel was hitching its future to a character it needed to introduce to mainstream fans. The company needed a big name star to take on the role, and director Jon Favreau wanted Robert Downey Jr.
At the time, Downey was not a bankable name. He had a promising career when he was younger, but battled substance abuse problems, ending up in prison. When he cleaned up, a couple of directors gave him a chance in Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) and David Fincher (Zodiac), but Marvel didn’t want to risk its franchise on him. Favreau fought hard for Downey, and ended up convincing Marvel to hire the actor. He is now the face of the MCU.
13 CHRIS PRATT'S FIRST MOVIE
Chris Pratt has become one of Hollywood’s top stars, taking leading roles in both the Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World franchises. However, in the beginning, Pratt was not considering working as an actor. He was working at a Bubba Gump’s Restaurant and that is where he met a woman named Rae Dawn Chong, the daughter of the legendary Cheech and Chong actor, Tommy Chong. She saw something in Pratt and asked if he wanted to act in her directorial debut.
Pratt took the role in Cursed Part Three, a low-budget horror film. Rae Dawn Chong never directed another movie, but Pratt caught the acting bug and stuck around Hollywood. He quickly picked up a role in the TV show Everwood and the rest is history.
12 SCARLETT JOHANSSON WAS IN A PLAY WHEN SHE WAS 8
Scarlett Johansson started out her career as a child actor, her earliest major movie roles coming in The Horse Whisperer at the age of 14 and Ghost World when she was only 17. However, Johansson’s acting career started much earlier. She took tap dancing lessons as a child and tried to audition for roles before signing up at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute. She finally made it to a theater stage when she was eight-years-old.
The role was in the Ethan Hawke off-Broadway play Sophistry where she had a total of two lines. That was just the start because one year later she got into her first movie, playing John Ritter’s daughter in North. Johansson had six movie roles to her credit by the time she was 14 and starred in The Horse Whisperer.
11 CHRIS HEMSWORTH: KING ARTHUR
Some might consider it typecasting and others might consider it destiny, but before Chris Hemsworth played Thor, God of Thunder, he played the legendary King Arthur. Hemsworth was one of three brothers who ended up getting into acting while growing up in Australia. While it was Liam Hemsworth who hit it big first, Chris has become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
However, before any of the Hemsworth brothers did anything in Hollywood, Chris starred in an Australian TV series called Guinevere Jones in 2002. The show was about a teenage girl named Gwen who learns she is the reincarnation of the legendary Guinevere. At the age of 19, Hemsworth played King Arthur in the little-seen series. Nine years later, he was a God in the MCU.
10 CHRIS EVANS STARRED IN 7 COMIC MOVIES (OUTSIDE OF THE MCU)
Chris Evans has starred in more comic movies than almost anyone in the industry. Most people know that he is one of two actors to move from the Fox Fantastic Four franchise to take on roles in the MCU (Michael B. Jordan is the other, as Killmonger in Black Panther). However, those films were just the start.
After making his comic debut in Fantastic Four, he then took on the voice role of Casey Jones in TMNT. Following a second Fantastic Four movie, Evans had three straight comic book films in a row with Push (2009), The Losers (2010) and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010). One year later, he took on the role as Captain America, but he wasn’t finished yet. In 2013, Evans added one more by starring in an adaptation of the Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette graphic novel Snowpiercer.
9 MARK RUFFALO HAD A BRAIN TUMOR
In the MCU, Mark Ruffalo was a slightly surprising casting choice, signed to replace Edward Norton as Bruce Banner as well as serving as the motion capture actor for his alter-ego The Hulk. Bruce Banner is a man infected with Gamma rays who becomes the strongest superhero there is when he becomes angry. In real life, Ruffalo is a very strong man as well and overcame one of the most difficult moments in any person’s life.
Ruffalo had a brain tumor, learning about the affliction when he was only 34-years-old. Ruffalo had to turn down upcoming movie roles and started to undergo treatment at the same time his wife became pregnant with their first child. Ruffalo underwent surgery to remove the brain tumor and ended up with facial paralysis that lasted for 10 months. The recovery was slow but Ruffalo is now tumor-free.
8 TOM HIDDLESTON ORIGINALLY AUDITIONED FOR THE ROLE OF THOR
When it comes to the MCU, one of the MVPs of the entire franchise is Loki, the villain played by Tom Hiddleston. While it is almost impossible to think of anyone playing Loki other than Hiddleston, the interesting thing to note is that he originally auditioned for a completely different role. When Hiddleston approached Marvel to audition, he wanted to be a hero. Hiddleston auditioned to play Thor.
While he dyed his hair black for Thor, Hiddleston naturally has blonde hair, is tall, and is a classically trained actor. As a result, director Kenneth Branagh called him in to audition for the part of the hero. However, the more muscular Chris Hemsworth won the role as Thor and Hiddleston had to settle for the role as the villain, someone who stole every scene from Hemsworth that they shared.
7 BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH SURVIVED A KIDNAPPING ATTEMPT
In the MCU, Benedict Cumberbatch plays brilliant surgeon Doctor Stephen Strange, who becomes the most powerful mystic in the world, as well as a hero. He also played Sherlock Holmes on the BBC, portraying one of the greatest detectives in fiction history. In real life, it seems Cumberbatch is someone who can work his way out of problems as well.
Cumberbatch was filming a miniseries called To the Ends of the Earth in South Africa in 2005. He and two friends had a flat tire while driving to the set. While changing the tire, a group of six men showed up with guns and demanded all their money before abducting them. Cumberbatch said he started to argue with the captors and they finally let him go, where he was finally picked up by a stranger who took him to safety.
6 JOSH BROLIN HAS STARRED AS 6 DIFFERENT COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS
Much like Chris Evans, another actor who has made it a habit to appear in movies based on comics is Josh Brolin. The man who plays Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War will also appear as Cable in Deadpool 2 next year for Fox. It is unusual for an actor to appear in two rival studio’s superhero movies at the same time, but Brolin has a lot of experience, already starring as four other comic book characters before these two roles.
He was in a DC Comics movie already, starring as the title character in the critically-panned Jonah Hex. His other three comic book roles were non-superhero flavored adaptations. Those roles included playing a young K in Men in Black 3 (Malibu Comics), Dwight in Sin City (Dark Horse Comics) and Joe in the remake of Old Boy (a Japanese manga).
5 TOM HOLLAND WENT TO THE SAME SCHOOL AS AMY WINEHOUSE AND ADELE
Tom Holland is the youngest actor to portray Peter Parker in the movies. He is 21-years-old but is young enough looking to play Peter in high school, which is more than can be said for Tobey Maguire (27 at the time of Spider-Man) and Andrew Garfield (29 at the time of Amazing Spider-Man). While Holland may have less experience than his predecessors, he has some of the best training in the world.
Holland attended the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology in England. To understand the quality of this school for the entertainment industry, other notable alumni include Amy Winehouse, Jessie J, Adele and Kate Nash. While that is a lot of music talent, Holland adds a now successful actor to that group of entertainers.
4 ELIZABETH OLSEN CHANGED HER NAME TO AVOID THE OLSEN TWINS
Some might think having sisters who are two of the biggest stars in the world could open a lot of doors, but that is not always the case. While the Olsen Twins became two of the biggest stars in the world, their younger sister Elizabeth Olsen just wanted to live a normal life. While in school, to avoid the pressure that went with being the kid sister to Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, Elizabeth actually used a different last name.
She went by the name Elizabeth Chase, which was her middle name. The younger Olsen sister also said that she almost didn’t want to go into acting because of the toll it took on her sisters’ personal lives. However, she finally relented and her first role as an adult was the 2011 movie Martha Marcy May Marlene, which won her numerous critics' awards, before joining the MCU as Scarlet Witch.
3 ZOE SALDANA AND BRADLEY COOPER USED TO DATE
There are a lot of cases in Hollywood where a couple hooks up while shooting a movie. However, with actors dating each other throughout Tinseltown, there are also uncomfortable moments where former flames end up cast in the same movie after they break up. That is the case for Guardians of the Galaxy actors Zoe Saldana and Bradley Cooper. It might have been easier for them since Cooper voiced Rocket Raccoon and was not on set as much as Saldana, who portrayed Gamora.
Saldana said in an interview with Marie Claire after breaking up with Cooper that she has no use for any ex-boyfriends who disrespect her. She said that there is a reason they are her ex and it is time to move on. Saldana and Cooper dated from 2011 until 2013 and, luckily, rumors indicate that the two had no problems working together in the MCU.
2 KAREN GILLAN STARRED ON DOCTOR WHO
If anyone in Avengers: Infinity War is unrecognizable from their actual real-life appearance, it is Karen Gillan’s Nebula. Gillan is a Scottish actress with flowing red hair in real life, while she portrays the alien-like, blue-skinned, and bald Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy. Look at her in the Jumanji remake and see if you can recognize the antihero from the MCU. That might make some fans look twice when realizing she was also a major character for three years on Doctor Who.
In 2009, Gillan took on the role of the Eleventh Doctor’s first companion Amy Pond. Gillan continued on in the sixth series in 2011 and the first five episodes of the seventh series in 2012. Gillan also had an appearance in the 2013 Christmas special.
1 PAUL RUDD BEAT OUT JEREMY RENNER FOR HIS ROLE IN CLUELESS
There are only so many roles to go around, and the cases of an actor missing out on a part only to pick up another role in the same blockbuster movie are rare. While Tom Hiddleston was lucky enough to score the role of Loki after missing out on Thor, two other MCU actors went head-to-head for a role early in their careers and one was sent home empty-handed.
In 1995, Paul Rudd was looking for his first major movie role and auditioned to play Alicia Silverstone’s brother in Clueless. Rudd won the part and happened to beat out a fellow MCU actor in the process. Jeremy Renner also read for the role of Josh and had to put off his big-screen debut for two more months, as he ended up making his debut in Senior Trip instead.