Superhero fans, mark your calendars for May 4, 2012. That’s when Marvel Studios will bring together many of its most popular crusaders as “The Avengers“ swoops onto the silver screen. The film only recently wrapped principal photography and will spend the next few months having its special effects tweaked for maximum impact.
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Forming the core of the superheroic supergroup will be Iron Man, as embodied by Robert Downey Jr. in two smash-hit films, and Norse god Thor, who got his own hit film this past summer with newcomer Chris Hemsworth in the title role.
Jeremy Renner, who will be onscreen shortly in the new “Mission: Impossible” movie, will play the archer Hawkeye, while Mark Ruffalo is the third actor—following Eric Bana and Edward Norton—to play Dr. Bruce Banner and his mighty green rage machine, the Hulk.
Samuel L. Jackson will also join the cast as Nick Fury, whose character has been making small cameos in a variety of Marvel’s films in preparation for this one. The Avengers will battle Loki, the Norse god and troublemaker who first bedeviled Thor earlier this year. Rising star Tom Hiddleston will reprise the fan-favorite role.
“I said, ‘I need to be in the opening sequence. I don’t know what you’re thinking, but Tony needs to drive this thing,’ [Whedon] was like, ‘Okay, let’s try that,’ ” recalled Downey to EW.com in September about his initial take on the film. “We tried it and it didn’t work. This is a different sort of thing, the story and the idea and the theme is the theme and everybody is just an arm of the octopus.”
Evans told EW.com that his modern-day Captain America is “a much darker, more cynical version after awakening for the first time since World War II. It’s just about him trying to come to terms with the modern world. He was a soldier, obviously, everybody he went to battle with, all of his brothers in arms, they’re all dead. He’s just lonely. I think in the beginning it’s a fish out of water scene, and it’s tough. It’s a tough pill for him to swallow. Then comes trying to find a balance with the modern world.”
“He’s the most mild-mannered guy, but he’s a total loose cannon,” said Ruffalo about Banner and his musclebound alternate identity. “No one wants to set him off except for Iron Man, who just wants to see him pop.”
Look for Paul Bettany, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgard and Cobie Smulders—plus the legendary comics creator Stan Lee, of course—in supporting roles with none other than Lou Ferrigno as the voice of the Hulk.
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