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James Spader Talks Ultron, Avengers 2, Robert Downey Jr. & Loki

Matt McGloin Posted: 10/24/2014 - 20:15 COMMENT



The latest issue of Total Film Magazine is now available, which contains the full interview with James Spader who plays the villain Ultron in The Avengers 2.

Below you can check out the quotes, which range from James Spader's process of playing Ultron to working with Joss Whedon and Robert Downey Jr., and also whether Ultron will be able to top Tom Hiddleston's Loki.

Thoughts on making Avengers 2:

I've been acting in many capacities for many years and the process of making Avengers was brand new. It was a world I'd never entered. I did [enjoy it].

Thoughts on playing Ultron:

It's all performace-capture. For someone who's so... (Spader has OCD-tendencies] detail oriented, it's fantastic because you can play with the little details a lot. I would shoot the scenes on the set with the other actors - not just for them to have someone to play across from, but capturing my performance, physicality, expressions, everything. I had dots all over my face and cameras on on me all the time. It was my full body, right down to the fingertips.

When you first meet Ultron, his physicality is very different to what he evolves to. It was in the script but we arrived at the metamorphosis of him on the set. In practice, in rehearsals. There was a motion-capture stage and a performance-capture stage, and the sets. We were able to create the physicality of the character on the motion-capture stage. It's really amazing, the technology. They would dot me up, and I was wearing a helmet that had two cameras on my face, and they could live-stream it on a monitor so we could try different things. Then I'd go in and shoot the scene with the other actors, and they're recording all of it, including my voice. Nine times out of 10, they were not just using ADR (additional dialogue recording) after the fact. Of course, we'll do work in post-production, but most of it will be live. And after doing scenes on set with the other actors, then we'd go onto the motion-capture stage, and we'd re-do the scene to fine-tune different physical things, or one actor would come in and we'd do a little bit more of something.

If you want to fine-tune something, or add something, or change something, you had the opportunity to do that. I just loved it. 


Describing Ultron, and on working with Joss Whedon:

There's a humorous aspect to him, which is something that drew me in from the very first conversation I had with Joss [Whedon]. I asked him what he wanted me to bring to it. That was really important to me. And he said, "I really want someone who can bring humor and yet gravitas to the character." Y'know, in many ways he's a child, this character, because he's a brand-new being who's just come to be. And yet, through artificial intelligence, he has an incredible capacity for knowledge. So he's a very powerful, smart child. Constantly advancing. It was great fun. And I really enjoyed Joss, from the very first conversation we had together. Besides being just a lovely person, his directions are very precise. And what he was writing was challenging.

On working with Robert Downey Jr.:

It was great fun. Y'know, we were great friends many years ago and our lives went off in different directions. I hadn't seen him in a long time. I spoke to him before we started [on Age of Ultron] and it was one of the great by-products of this film, one of the most significant fulfilling aspects of it. Restarting our friendship.

And regarding Ultron stealing Loki's thunder:

[Smiles ponders] Ultron takes abrupt turns in scenes. I said earlier that Red [in The Blacklist] isn't psychopathic but Ultron is. [Muses] Yes, he is psychopathic. He's really batshit crazy!


When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

"The Avengers: Age Of Ultron" hits May 1, 2015 directed by Joss Whedon starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver, Paul Bettany as Vision, with James Spader as Ultron.

Head on over to the Cosmic Book News Avengers movie hub for more.