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SINGAPORE: “Logistically, without question, I think, the most complicated movie in history to put together”.
That is what director Joe Russo unequivocally thinks about his film Avengers: Infinity War.
“I think we shut down Hollywood for a year because we had every actor working in the business scheduled somewhere in the movie,” he said at the Asian press conference for the film.
Three of the film’s stars – Robert Downey Jr, Benedict Cumberbatch and Karen Gillan – as well as producer Trinh Tran were also in attendance at Marina Bay Sands on Sunday (Apr 15).
Infinity War – the third Avengers movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary – brings together all the characters the audience has been introduced to since the first Iron Man movie.
That list of reportedly 80 characters includes Downey Jr’s Iron Man, Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, Gillan’s Nebula, as well as Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Black Panther, Vision, Spider-man, Star-Lord, Groot …
Wait, a minute – has anyone seen Hawkeye?
Jeremy Renner, the actor behind the super-archer, has been noticeably missing from the posters and trailers of what is most definitely going to be one of the biggest superhero movies ever.
“It’s crazy! There are so many characters we’re dealing with, and we were literally halfway through when Robert said: ‘Hey, where’s Renner?’” said Russo, joking. “And I went ‘Oh my god!’”
“He’s Macaulay Culkin!” quipped Downey Jr.
To put to rest online grumbling from fans that Hawkeye might have inevitably been left “home alone”, Russo reminded us that there are two movies being made: Avengers 3 (Infinity War) and Avengers 4.
“Look, we did not forget the twice-Oscar-nominated Jeremy Renner from Infinity War!” he said, laughing. “There is a lot of story real estate ... I think last week we released 22 character posters! There are only so many people you can put in one film, and we have a really interesting story clipped out for Hawkeye. All I can say is that patience is a virtue – and it’s a long play, not a short play.”
“We did not forget Hawkeye!”
UPPING THE ANTE
Expectations are high for Infinity War, with the previous two official Avengers instalments doing massive business and earning mostly critical praise. Still, Downey Jr – brimming with his trademark effortless charm and humour – said fans will not be disappointed.
“We might be making the movies, but we are also fans and critics of our own work. And always want to try and make it better,” said the 53-year-old actor. “I think this time we might have nailed it!”
Downey Jr continued: “Without giving anything away, I think the challenge this time was how do you top, or better, or expand something without repeating something that has already been executed so well before?”
“I call it the anti-process,” he said, laughing. “Usually, if something works well, you’re just going to keep doing that. But not here!”
Downey Jr’s Iron Man was the first film to kick off the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it, back in 2008. And even though the release of these Marvel movies is considered a sure-thing at the box office today, it wasn’t the case 10 years ago.
“It was a time for DC!” said Downey Jr, referring to films featuring DC characters like Batman and Superman. “Even from my perspective, it was like, we’ll do ours and give them some counter-programming for the DC movies which were supposedly the cool ones, you know?”
Looking back, he said he doesn’t consider signing on for the project to be so much of a risk as it was a gift.
“I needed a job, bad!” he quipped.
“It’s always weird to be part of anything even mildly historical because you lose perspective on it,” continued Downey Jr. “But it has been amazing to just get caught up in it.”
Avengers: Infinity War opens in Singapore on Apr 25.