The robot revolution has begun and Captain America is without his trusty shield.
Ultron, the unreasonably angry artificial intelligence program, has taken over the form of some battered autonomous Iron Man suits and is using them to blast apart a late-night Avengers party in Stark Tower. Just before a few carefully placed blasts hit the all-American super-soldier, he kicks up a heel, knocks a marble table into the air and uses it to block the attack.
In real life, on the Shepperton Studios set outside London, Chris Evans looks like he’s playing an invisible game of hacky sack. The massive stone table will be digitally added later. (Even though the actor is in great shape, no human foot could casually flip such an object into the air.)
Avengers: Age of Ultron filmmaker Joss Whedon is advising the other heroes to scatter, while Cobie Smulders, playing former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill, dives to the floor just below Cap. Whedon is puzzling over the choreography here.
He jokes that the next shot in the movie will be Hill rising up with all the plates, food, and napkins from the tabletop stuck to her body.
While they sort it out so she doesn’t enter the firefight looking like she just finished a food fight, Evans has some time to talk …
Entertainment Weekly: In the first Avengers film, Cap was the outsider still trying to figure out where he belonged. This time, he’s the leader.
Chris Evans: I think he’s trying to be. I don’t think he’s aggressively barking orders at people, but I think when you have all these powers and abilities, someone needs to steer the ship. So I think that is what he’s trying to do.
The Winter Soldier really upended things for him. His old friend is still alive, maybe still out there, maybe he’s good, maybe not. Is he still grappling with all that?
That’s the tricky part about these movies. You have to kind of suspend those plotlines temporarily and find reasons to say ‘Okay, we’ll get to that in just one movie. We’ll get right back to that.’ It’s hard to kind of say with too much logic why he’s kind of putting that on the back burner. But he’s addressing the matter at hand, and right now that’s Ultron.
A hero has to multitask.
Well that’s just it. You need to give a little bit of a nod to it because if you ignore it, it’s insulting the audience’s intelligence. But at the same time, the audience almost has to respect movies: ‘Look, do you guys want this? If you want The Avengers, we have to accept the fact that there’s going to be splinters in our plotlines.’
I feel like Cap is the noblest of all the characters. He’s the only one who knows what it’s like to be powerless. To be on the other side of fear.
He does have a healthy understanding of what it feels like to be powerless, to be the victim. But he also has a healthy understanding of what it is to be a soldier. I think anytime you meet anyone that’s been in the military, when you fight alongside someone they become a brother. I think in a weird way he looks at his Avengers as his family at this point.
Is family what he wants? A bond with a fellow fighter?
It’s certainly what he wants, but Cap puts what he wants last. That’s his M.O. And I think for so long he just refuses to bleed on people. So it’s hard to explore a guy who doesn’t want to make waves with his own personal conflict. He’s always trying to help the greater good.
Does that ever change?
That’s why it’s kind of exciting to look forward to Cap 3. I think we really scratched the surface on something great and I think there’s just so much to explore. Not just with the evolution of myself and [Anthony] Mackie’s character, but the reconnection with Bucky, and ultimately a relationship with a woman.
A love interest?
It’s funny when you think about it – he’s probably a virgin. [Laughs.] He’s probably a virgin! I don’t know when it would’ve happened.
Well, he was on those USO tours in the first Captain America!
He was on tour. That’s true. Maybe one of those [dancing] girls blew his mind. [Laughs] He’s probably just a good guy. He was probably holding out for Peggy Carter and he’s a little more old-fashioned in that sense. These are a lot of things that I think are giant conflicts, but they’re also very personal conflicts. He’s a very human guy. That’s why I like him.
In the comic books, there’s like this traditional antagonism between Iron Man and Cap, is that still there? [The next movie, Captain America: Civil War, features the two heroes on opposite sides of a superhero throwdown.]
There certainly is a mutual respect. Like I said, once you’ve been in battle with someone – we each almost died together, so I think that alone is gonna set a tone for a mutual respect. We still bust each other’s chops. We’re still different people. If we didn’t have to save the world, we might not be the closest of friends. But as a result, we need each other and we rely on each other and I think we each, like I said, there’s a respect now. We butted heads in the beginning, but I think now we both kind of understand what we’re each about. We still kind of throw some jabs here and there.
How about Ultron? The goal is to make him a monster with a point, not just somebody who is cacklingly evil.
Completely, because it’s Joss Whedon. He’s very clever on a lot of levels. There are a lot of times that Spader gets some really beautiful lines. Ultron [sees] the problem with humanity and his disgust for what humanity has become as a whole. He shines a light on a lot of our shortcomings that could ultimately be our undoing.
So even though he’s wrong, he’s kind of right?
He is kinda. …I think most awful people have a point. They find something they really feel strongly about, and they’re usually wildly intelligent people. They go about things the wrong way usually. That’s what Ultron has. A lot of times when Ultron starts talking, it’s beautiful. It’s really intelligent stuff. And it’s really impressive. It’s not just like, ‘He’s out to hurt everyone because he’s evil.’ He’s really disgusted. You could actually probably sit down with Ultron and have a really intelligent conversation. He could probably blow your mind with his opinions and his views.
And then blow it apart for real.
And then kill you. [Laughs]
It’s Age of Ultron week at EW.com. Check back for more exclusive Q&As from the set of the new Avengers movie.