Marvel’s latest frontier? In ‘Vandavision’, it’s a suburb

In the time they have spent playing Marvel heroes together, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany have worked with each other very seamlessly. Not even a slightly incorrectly found mucus during the making of its new Disney + series, “WandaVision” – an event he lovingly described as “snotgate” – provoked him for a long time.

This occurred when their characters – a woman boosted with psychic powers named Wanda Maximoff (Olsen) and shared a kiss – especially in cold weather – called Android (Synthetic Vision). And some disagreements remain about how it is about the nuances of transparency.

In a video interview with Bettany last month, Olsen said, “Paul didn’t joke about me.” “It was the first time I saw him being really defensive about anything.”

Here, Bettany responded by leaning into her camera, Soto said: “It was his Snot. otherwise also. “

They agreed that their differences were quickly settled, and now they can laugh about it. “It was over as quickly as possible,” Bettany said.

Playing the role of a troubled woman and a sophisticated robot are people who have fallen in love with each other – the character who first met in the 2015 Marvel blockbuster “Avengers: Age of Ultron” returned for several sequels and now He got a chance to carry them. Her own television series Jab “Vandavision” makes its debut on 15 January.

Like its main characters, “Vandavision” is, well, weird. It’s not an action-packed spectacle in the way of hit films like “Avengers: Endgame” – it’s a hybrid of drama and comedy that pays faithful homage to vintage sitcoms “Dick Van Dyke Show,” “enamoured” And “family relations.”

Now, “WandaVision” will have to carry even more weight, through circumstances beyond one’s control. When Pandemic prompted Marvel to tweak its release calendar, “WandaVision” became the studio’s first effort, bringing the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero soap opera to an original Disney + series, in the hope that it would Will do for his comic-book characters. “Mandalorian” Another Disney-owned fantasy franchise for “Star Wars”.

These are unexpectedly high bets, but like the misfits of love they play, the stars of “Vandavision” see them as having more understanding, reason, and all of each other.

As Olsen explained: “It is hard to pick up movie-theater characters and bring them to the small screen. There are a lot of firsts that are a bit scary as an actor. “

Betani agreed. “We need to feel safe with each other,” he said.

Both actors entered the Marvel family in unusual ways. A star of films like Betani “a beautiful Mind” And “margin Call,” Tony Stark’s artificial intelligence system, the first MCU film to play the voice of JARVI, was cast in “Iron Man”

“Betty said,” I’ll turn up for a day’s work and solve everyone’s problems. “I could go, ‘Bad guys are coming, sir!’ And then they would give me a bag of money, and I would go home. That was lovely. “

Was daughter Upgraded to an onscreen role for “Edge of Ultron” Which also introduced Olsen (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”) As Wanda. At the time, Olsen said: “I was getting typecast as emotionally struggling young women in short-style films. They were like, let’s put her into a big-genre film and make her mentally unwell struggling. Made a hero. “

Although the spotlight shone on co-stars such as Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr., Bettany and Olsen bonded over the strangeness of their venture, as if in one scene they debated whether the vision should be android genitalia. (Mercifully, the answer was no.)

As they moved towards films “Captain America Civil War,” He found that he was praised for the diligence and preparation, even on a busy Marvel set.

At one point in that film, Olsen said, “I asked Paul if he wanted to play lines with me next week.” that His lines were recalled for the following week. I was like, this is a great working relationship.

But the vision was Seemingly killed in “Avengers: Infinity War” And the following year, “Endgame” concluded the stories of leading heroes such as Iron Man and Captain America.

Marvel was searching for a story line for its next wave of films when Disney launched its Disney + streaming service, with the hope that Marvel would also provide original content for it.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige stated that a Disney + series offered an opportunity to erase the relationship between Wanda and Vision, which were only hinted at in the films.

“The entirety of the love story between Wanda and Vision was Originally a shot in ‘Edge of Ultron’ Where he swoops in to save her, they make eye contact and fly away, ”said Feige. “Then a little more in ‘Civil War’, a little more in ‘Infinity War’, but it all spoils very quickly in that film.”

In comics of many decades, Vision and Wanda share a romance that was much more complex: they dated, married, had two sons, broke up and reconciled. (Also and here is where it gets messed up – Wanda discovers that her sons were actually the missing pieces of a demonic villain who retrieved them; then she is lost and the memory of her missing children again. Acquired it, and then he regained his powers; write the reality himself.)

With “WandaVision”, Feige stated that he wanted to honor the complexity of the title characters and the reality-fighting potential of Wanda, but also to pay homage to the story with sitcom history.

“I think I’ve justified all the time spent playing with action figures in my backyard,” he said. “Whenever I spent watching Nick on Nick and the old TV show, I haven’t justified it yet. This show is helping me do it.”

The series finds Wanda and Vision – now somehow alive – dwelling in suburban bliss, not entirely sure why they are cycling through different eras of television history and like Kat Dennig The Giants are facing the Marvel cast (as their “Thor” character, Darcy Lewis) and Randall Park (Jimmy Wu’s own “Ant-Man and the Wasp” role) as well as new additions to the roster, such as Teyon Paris. (As Monica Rambue) and Katherine Hahn (playing the role of an antagonistic nose neighbor named Agnes).

As with many of the Marvel films, there is also a central mystery running through “Vandavision,” asking viewers to point out the ever-changing reality that covers its romantic leads.

The lead author of the series, Jack Schaeffer, said the show’s comic exterior was intended to entice viewers into the front layers of its intrigue.

Schaefer, who also worked on “Captain Marvel” and “Black Widow”, said, “You enter a sitcom episode with the understanding that it’s going to make you feel good and it’s all right.”

The “Vandavision” that adds to this formula, he said, is an element of “bastardism” – the idea of ​​shattering that security in a calculation. “

Matt Walkman, who directed all nine episodes of “Vandavision”, said the series eventually “tells the story of grief and trauma and how we hold onto our hope.”

“Wanda is probably a person Who has suffered the most in MCU., “He added.” And so the show is always based in that. Even if what you’re watching is a remake of a television show, it’s a lot that meets the eye. “

Shakman has previously directed shows like “Game of Thrones,” Succession “and” It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia “and was himself a former child actor on TV sitcoms like” Defiant Strokes “and” Just Ten of Us “. Directing “Vandavision”, he said it was a “brilliantly schizophrenic job” that required orchestrating action sequences on a green-screen set for a few days, and some days involved shooting in the same sitcom stages where a The bar worked.

For these TV Tribe sequences, Shakman and his team worked meticulously to reproduce the wardrobe and production design of shows such as “I Dream of Jean” and “The Partridge Family”, using old lighting and camera lenses Done and filming in front of a live studio audience.

Although the “Vandavision” actors were given a two-week sitcom boot camp before filming began, they didn’t require much training to get in the spirit of things.

Olsen is, of course, the younger sister of the former “Full House” Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen; She appeared in some of her later projects and became a fan of the show like “Laverne and Shirley” Love more movies “A very Brady sequel.”

Bettany said that classic American shows were a regular part of his TV diet when he was growing up in England. He speculated that some of the religious explorations his family had undertaken during his childhood were “probably because my mother was watching ‘little House on the Prairie’ – We were there for a penny, for a pound. “

Events occurred According to Marvel’s earlier plansThe debut of “WandaVision” led to the theatrical release of films such as “Black Widow,” “Eternals” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” as well as the premiere. “Falcon and Winter Soldier,” An action-oriented Disney + series in a more familiar, “Avengers” -like mode.

Pandemic needed Marvel to reorganize this rollout, but Feige said the studio’s carefully planned master narrative, spanning its films and TV shows, was not significantly affected.

“Had we run in 2018 and 2019, it would have been disrupted in this way, for the ‘endgame’ in the buildup, it would have been a big headache,” he said. “With these projects, it worked well,” he went on, adding that the start dates for the TV show had been shifted to “just a matter of weeks”.

The creation of “Vandavision” was also affected by the epidemic; Its artists left an environment where they could mingle freely with co-workers and return to one several months later, where “you finish your scene and you end up in these marginally sealed bubbles Whispers, ”Bettany said.

“I had a hard time with that,” Olsen said, his voice hardening in exaggerated anger. “I was like: ‘But I’m talking to the crew! It’s for moral support!'”

In that sense, the actors said, perhaps it was fitting that “Vandavision” should reach the audience at a time when both its narrative message and its process reflect a human desire to keep going, no matter how unfamiliar the world is. .

“We’re all experiencing this extreme version of life right now,” Olsen said. But for a time, when he and his colleagues finished their work on the series, “We created this microcosm of humanity, where we can communicate together and solve problems,” he said. “There was a lot about coming to work and experiencing.”

Betwell said that what Marvel has consistently done for its characters, its cast and its audience is to “build a house for people who don’t necessarily meet each other,” Betney said.

In the special case of “Vandavision”, he said, “It’s about a group of people looking for each other – people who are really getting their craze on – in a situation where it’s really different Right. “

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