MM: Now, you said you talked to everybody sort of about their character, was there sort of an aspect or facet of Tony Stark that Robert brought up that you hadn’t considered before?
JW: I think the conversations were largely about “Where is Tony now?” Like, “Who is he now? Where is he [going] from ‘Iron Man 2′ towards ‘Iron Man 3’?” He is such a well-delineated character, so it was really a question of, “What do we want to stress and what do we want to say? We have said that, we have done that, so let’s not go there.”
He felt a sort of isolated man who is — even though there is an element of that, just because that’s sort of what any team movie is about. He didn’t want to be the sort of just, “I am totally wrapped up in one thing and I am not thinking about everybody else.” He didn’t want to be the tortured lonely man, which I totally get. And it was easy to make him as delightful and gregarious as he can be and still go, well, there is a piece missing and it’s the piece that makes him an Avenger.
MM: You have Mark Ruffalo stepping in for the first time playing the character of Bruce Banner. So did you feel more freedom to kind of create your own take on the character?
JW: Yeah, he and I did the most character work of anyone, because we really were starting fresh, but we were starting with something that had been embodied several times.
And both of us agreed upfront that the template for who we wanted this guy to be in his life was Bill Bixby, the TV [show character] who was busy helping other people. That was more interesting to us than the Banner in the first two movies who was always fixated on curing himself. We spent a lot of time talking about what makes us Hulk out, the nature of anger, how it feels.
We even fought some. I mean literally we actually got some pads out and did some tussling. Just to talk about the physicality, and also the physicality of somebody who has to control this thing, and the way he moves in space and the way he relates to the people and the objects around him. It was extremely fun. What we found was that he could be very bumbling and kind of awkward, but at the same time very graceful and in this almost transcendent control of himself.
MM: I imagine the other hard part about that is balancing a God and who can create lightning, and a guy with a bow and arrow, and giving them both the action that brings out the best in them.
JW: Yeah. Well, I feel like we pulled that off. At the end of the day, the guy with the bow and arrow is a lot easier to write gags for than the God. But we created a situation where everybody can be useful, and everybody can be in jeopardy, and they really can act as a team, even though — as we have known from the first issue of ‘The Avengers’ comic — there’s no reason for these people to be on the same team.
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