One of the funniest interviews I have ever done is hands down Paul Bettany who plays Vision in Captain America: Civil War. While in LA for the #CaptainAmericaEvent recently, I was lucky enough to meet with him and chat for about 20 minutes. The interview started with him walking in while singing and then immediately turning around because we didn’t cheer and clap loud enough. We tried it again and apparently passed the test because he sat down this time and was ready to talk with us. He asked us what he could do for us in a perfect J.A.R.V.I.S. voice and the fangirling started.
From J.A.R.V.I.S. to Vision
As an avid Marvel Comics reader and fan of the films, of course I love J.A.R.V.I.S. For those of you that don’t know, he is the AI voice in Tony Stark’s head – and he can make just about anything happen. If you saw Avengers: Age of Ultron than you know J.A.R.V.I.S. has combined with Ultron’s body and become the Vision – this means he will no longer be the voice in Tony’s head. Figuring it must be bitter sweet, someone asked Paul how he felt about Tony having a new voice in his head – and the fact that it’s a woman.
“That’s a loaded question. I don’t feel betrayed that it’s a woman at all. I definitely feel melancholic at times.” Paul answered. He went on to mention that he secretly hopes Tony gets sad about it too and asks himself where his Jarvis is. Paul did tell us that going from J.A.R.V.I.S. to Vision is a double-edge sword: “I used to show up for 45 minutes, talk a bit and they’d give me a big bag of cash. Now I gotta got to Atlanta and wear spanks. But [seriously], it’s been so much fun. I loved doing it and I look forward to it when the date is set for the next one. You meet a bunch of people that you know and it’s like coming back to a family. It’s lovely.“
The Costume Was Intense!
Speaking of spanks – the Vision costume is pretty intense! I loved all the close ups on his face during the film – he looks perfect! I was curious how much of it was makeup and how much of it was CGI and was surprised (and impressed!) with the answer.
“It’s mostly costume and makeup. Then there’s some sort of circuitry, I don’t know how to describe it. They’re lines basically, the makeup starts from under my eyes and goes all the way [up to] a bald cap that glues [on]. There’s this much of my body out in the open (a small circle around his eyes nose and mouth). What the CGI does is continue the lines and circuitry into my eyes. There were no contacts. They stopped short of that. They think, we’re punishing him enough. Poor bastard’s in spanks and a muscle suit. How about let’s give him some contact lenses!“
CGI is Part of the Costume
Knowing that it was a lot of makeup shocked me. I just assumed it was mostly CGI because it looks amazing! Paul Bettany said that the makeup does take a long time to do. At first, it took about two and a half hours, but they cut down the time to about an hour the more they did it. Then the costume took about 45 minutes to put on completely. Paul joked about the Atlanta heat saying
“You all come out of your air-conditioned trailers in your costume and makeup and everybody’s looking rather like super heroes and movie stars. And then about .5 minutes later in 105 Atlanta weather, you look a lot less like a movie star.“
He also told us that you have to plan on how you are hydrating because it is a 45 minute reset when you have to remove the costume to….well, you know.
Intense Fight Scenes
Hearing how how it is in Atlanta during filming made me feel really bad for these actors. Once you see the movie, you will know what I mean. There are some pretty intense fight scenes – and one of the Russo brothers (the directors) even let us know that Paul was in full Vision costume and suspended on wires during filming. At one point he moved his arm and sweat literally squirted out of his sleeve! Poor guy! Paul did let us in on a little secret though, himself and Chadwick Boseman (who plays Black Panther) were lucky enough to have a special suit underneath their costumes that pumped ice cold water.
“Close your eyes and imagine being inside a gin and tonic. It feels exactly like that.“
A Personal Quest
I love Vision in this movie. He is a great comic book character – and one of my favorites! He is super powerful and we asked Paul about his journey in Captain America: Civil War.
“I think you find Vision on a personal quest. In the previous movie you see him born. Which I don’t expect ever to do on camera again in my career. He is naïve and yet omnipotent and struggling with learning about the world. I think in this movie you find him trying to be more human. [We see him wearing] human clothes, albeit from the 1950s, but human clothes. He’s interested in working out how loyalty works. I think that loyalty probably works through love – logic doesn’t really afford for loyalty because if new information comes to light, he might well flip and be on Captain America’s side, right? Love is the water that makes soil hold roots, right? So I in order to protect humanity, he needs to understand what love is.“
Do His Kids Like Vision?
One of the cutest and saddest stories that Paul told us was about his daughter. He was asked how his kids feel about having a superhero in the house, and he answered
“My daughter met me as the Vision for the first time and I think she was just three – or maybe just even about to turn three. She just ran up to me and gave me a hug. She knew entirely who it was. I had been very worried about what her response would be. Then at the end of the day when I took it all off she had her first ever meltdown. She went, I WANT PURPLE DADDY! Which was a little depressing.“
Being a mom, that really tugged at my heartstrings – and I could totally picture one of my girls doing that to my husband!
Acting versus Directing
Paul directed Shelter, and so we asked him if directing is different than being on the other side of the camera, and how.
“Yes. I think more actors should do it. It really gives you much more of a respect for the directors that you work with. I really enjoyed my own period of being an actor and just enjoying my responsibility because you’re obviously taking care of a much larger picture as the director. You’re day is filled with a thousand questions – 99% of which are what color do you want the red shoes to be? It’s been amazing. I loved doing it and will do it again. I’ll do a comedy next time.“
Paul Bettany is an absolute pleasure to talk with. At one point during the interview, he joked about us being mummy bloggers instead of mommy bloggers and started to act like he was an ancient Egyptian corpse who had come to life – full bit with his arms straight out and everything. He is hilarious! Be sure to check out Captain America: Civil War THIS WEEKEND!
Captain America: Civil War hits theaters on May 6th, 2016
Be sure to see it (at least once) opening weekend – I will be!
About Captain America: Civil War
Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps—one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.
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