When “Age of Ultron” hit theaters last spring, director Joss Whedon was not shy about expressing his frustration with the film. Whether it was creative struggles with the script, disagreements with Marvel over what should or shouldn’t make it into the final cut, or the sheer exhaustion of working back-to-back for five years, Whedon was transparent about his feelings. Now one year later, the “Avengers” writer/director says he did a disservice to the film by making those comments.
During a Tribeca Film Festival talk series, as reported by Deadline, Mark Ruffalo sat down with Joss Whedon to talk about “Age of Ultron” and if Joss was done directing big budget films. During the conversation Whedon opened up about his “Age of Ultron” press tour comments and his first vacation in years, “I took a two-week vacation for the first time in 25 years.” After telling Ruffalo he was done with Marvel when Ruffalo said he was worried about Whedon, Whedon essentially said that post-vacation, “Yeah, I’m back.” Being back might not have anything to do with Whedon’s future at Marvel, but it’s a good sign that the vacation gave him the rest that he needed to start writing again.
Regarding the “Age of Ultron” press tour comments, Whedon said, “‘Ultron,’ I’m very proud of. There were things that did not meet my expectations of myself and then I was so beaten down by the process. Some of that was conflicting with Marvel, which is inevitable and a lot of that was about my own work and I was also exhausted, and we right away went and did publicity. I created the narrative….”
This narrative was spun right as “Ultron” was coming out in theaters, which Whedon admits “Did a disservice to the movie, and to the studio and to myself. Ultimately, it wasn’t the right way to be because I’m very proud about it.” While these comments may not have affected the box office numbers for “Ultron” — the film took in $1.4 billion worldwide — the film is definitely not as admired by fans as the first “Avengers” movie.
Whedon also had some positive things to say about “Ultron,” “I got to make an absurdly personal movie about humanity and what it means in a very esoteric and bizarre ways for hundreds of millions of dollars. The fact that Marvel gave me that opportunity twice is so bonkers and beautiful and the fact that I come off as a miserable failure is also bonkers, but not in a cute way.”
At this point Whedon isn’t lined up to do any future Marvel movies, including the next two Avengers films “Avengers Infinity War: Part One” and “Avengers Infinity War: Part Two.” Both of those films are being written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo. It’s no wonder that Whedon got burned out, considering he was doing work that essentially now four people are doing.
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