Marvel fans will be hearing a familiar voice coming from a new face in “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Paul Bettany, who has been voicing Jarvis since the first “Iron Man,” will be transformed into the Vision in the upcoming ensemble project.
If “Age of Ultron” follows the broad strokes of the Marvel Comics stories, Vision will be an android created by villain Ultron (who in turn is created by Tony Stark) to defeat the Avengers. Though Bettany did research into the role, he tells Zap2it
during a group interview at San Diego Comic-Con 2014 that “however much research I could do, I would never know as much about Vision and the world as Kevin Feige and Joss Whedon.”
Bettany has nothing but kind things to say about both creative partners, though he jokes that “now they want me to work for my money” versus the days he would “turn up for 45 minutes in a darkened studio and [act] Jarvis” scenes.
Originally Bettany was told he would never be able to play another Marvel movie character because he voices Jarvis. “Joss Whedon and I get along very well, and he looked for a way to make that happen, and he found one,” Bettany says. “I’m very happy.”
Now Bettany has the chance to interact with actors in real life who his character interacted with in the previous Marvel films he was in. On his first day, Bettany got to shoot with the rest of the “Avengers 2″ cast, and he recalls they were “incredibly welcoming and really prepared.”
“That sounds really stupid, but I can’t tell you the amount of times you turn up on a set with huge, famous, overpaid actors and they haven’t done any work,” he admits. “But this situation, there’s so many characters to cover for a filmmaker that everybody’s getting two or three takes, and everybody’s really on point and really focused and really creative in a really lovely atmosphere.”
Bettany won’t start the movie as Vision — “minutes have passed,” is all he will tease of the time it takes for him to make the transformation — but viewers will get to see Vision evolve from creation to adulthood as a character in the film.
“The thing that appealed to me was this nascent creature being born, and being both omnipotent and totally naive, and the danger of that and the sort of complex nature of a thing being born that is that powerfully and fully created in a second,” Bettany says.
“The choices he makes morally are, I think, really complex and interesting. They’ve really managed to maintain all of that,” he continues. “The famous image of him crying, I think, is really expressed kind of beautifully in this ‘Avengers.'”
Bettany has given Vision a distinct voice from Jarvis, and his own identity. “He is not Jarvis, and he is not a child of Ultron,” Bettany teases. “He is the Vision, and that weirdly happened on its own. He is Jarvis, but yoked.”
Vision will, however, eventually have some of the same ironic sensibilities as Jarvis, with the added bonus of superpowers like the ability to change his density and being “very good at punching.” Bettany says Vision feels “paternal” to a number of characters, like Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), and “protective” of Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), who his character married in the Marvel comics.
In terms of working with “The Blacklist”
star James Spader, who plays Ultron, Bettany recalls, “We have a scene, and it was the first scene that we shot together toward the end of the movie, and it was just — even though you’re talking with these very far-fetched ideas, he managed to find something that was very human in the relationship that was happening between his character and my character. It was really amazing.”
He also makes it sound like Vision ultimately will become an ally of the Avengers instead of an enemy of them. “Initially in the plot as it were there’s a lot of distrust, and that has to be navigated by the Vision, and he does it in a quite extraordinarily shocking [way],” Bettany says. “When he gains their trust, it’s a real roof-raiser of a moment. Everybody will flip.”
“The Avengers: Age of Ultron” hits theaters on May 1, 2015.