‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Stars Assemble for Press Conference

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Over the weekend, the director and cast of Avengers: Age of Ultron assembled for a press conference at Disney’s Main Theatre to discuss the highly anticipated blockbuster ahead of its world premiere in Los Angeles.

After the first installment of The Avengers grossed more than $1.5 billion worldwide, $50 million of which came from South Korea, Marvel filmmakers felt it was only right for the sequel to be filmed in different countries around the world.

“We’ve always considered the Avengers to be sort of the world’s heroes,” Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios and producer of Age of Ultron, said in a statement. “We wanted to send the Avengers to the far reaches of the globe so it’s legitimately a globe-trotting adventure.”

“South Korea is the perfect location for a movie of this magnitude because it features cutting-edge technology, beautiful landscapes and spectacular architecture,” he added.

On March 2014, Joss Whedon flew his crew to Seoul to shoot some of the sequel’s most climactic scenes. Korean fans spotted Captain America on the Mapo Bridge by the Han River and Black Widow zipping through the streets of the Sangam-dong district on her motorcycle. Of course, Scarlett Johansson, who portrays Black Widow, left the driving to her stunt double since she was pregnant during production.

“I don’t think you’re allowed to ride a motorcycle when you’re that pregnant,” Scarlett Johansson joked at the press conference. “I embarrassingly rode some sort of mechanical bull type of motorcycle, which goes nowhere and doesn’t look cool at all.”

To capture the epic action sequences in Seoul, producers enlisted the expertise of brothers Menstru Pa, the Korean National Champion in drone flying, and Park Min Keu, the Korean National Champion in remote car racing, to operate cameras attached to remote control drones and cars. Other filming locations included London, New York City, South Africa’s Johannesburg and the Aosta Valley in Italy.

While the stars of The Avengerincluding Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner—returned to don their superhero costumes for the second installment, there are a few new additions to the cast. Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson have joined the fray as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, respectively. James Spader also lent his booming voice for the villainous robot Ultron—who, by the way, does a terrifying rendition of Pinocchio “I’ve Got No Strings.”

Casting-08.03.14.Claudia Kim poses beside Marvel merchandise. (Photo via Claudia Kim’s Twitter)

South Korean actress Kim Soohyun, also known as Claudia Kim, is featured in a substantial supporting role in the film. She portrays Dr. Helen Cho, a world-renowned geneticist whose research and technology help keep the Avengers alive.

“There’s like 47 of these people,” Whedon said dryly, gesturing at the long line of cast members beside him. “I really didn’t think that through and I regret very much doing this at all.”

When asked what drew him to making an Avengers sequel, the writer-director replied that it was the “little moments” and emotional exchanges between the superheroes. He added that one of the greatest challenges in making the blockbuster sequel was balancing the multiple character arcs.

“It’s just making sure that everyone’s got their moment and everyone’s got their through-line and that it’s connected,” Whedon said. “At some point during the editing process, I could not have told you who they were, who I was, or what movie I was making, but I think it came together. It’s all about making these guys look good, which takes a long time.”

Feige agreed with the director, saying that the sequel had “crushingly overwhelming expectations.” However, the producer expressed pride in how the franchise pushed boundaries.

“It’s incredible. You look down the line and the table keeps getting bigger and bigger. It’s the greatest ensemble ever assembled in cinematic history,” he said.

For the first quarter of the press conference, Whedon and Feige answered reporters’ questions about the creative process. When Robert Downey Jr. was finally asked a question, he stood up and unleashed his Tony Stark persona.

“I must be mellowing with age, but I want to say this very clearly. The next time I’m not asked the first question, I will f—ing walk out,” the actor said, making the room to erupt in laughter.

Downey, along with his co-stars Evans and Ruffalo, will be heading to South Korea on April 16 to promote the film. In 2013, the actor made South Korea his first stop during his Iron Man 3 tour and received a very warm welcome at the Incheon International Airport from Korean fans.

Perhaps, Downey will have better luck getting asked the first question at the Korean press conference. Avengers: Age of Ultron premieres in South Korea on April 23. Meanwhile, the blockbuster is slated to release worldwide on May 1.