Once upon a time, fans eager for the first glimpse of a long-awaited movie would have to actually sit in a theater to see a preview. Now, of course, the Internet has made the release of a new trailer a drop-everything event. Our first good look at The Avengers: Age of Ultron arguably ushered in the next wave of blockbuster anticipation, with trailers for hotly anticipated releases like Jurassic World and Star War 7 quickly following.
We’ll be seeing Age of Ultron first, which will include the villainous Ultron, an increase in hero shots, and more of the Hulk. As an added bonus, performance capture maestro Andy Serkis is in the movie as well, and while his official live-action role is speculated to be long-time Black Panther villain Ulysses Klaw, Serkis has also been drafted to assist current Bruce Banner/Hulk Mark Ruffalo in bringing everyone’s favorite enormous green rage-monster to life via motion capture technology.
Serkis is a very busy man these days; he’ll be directing The Jungle Book: Origins for Warner Bros. and we finally have confirmation that he’s the voice of the new Star Wars trailer. Meanwhile, Serkis spoke with Empire (via Collider) about the “creative laboratory” that is his digital effects domain The Imaginarium, and provided details about the creation of the two major mo-cap characters from Age of Ultron, the Hulk and the titular villain himself.
We’ve heard from star James Spader about both the psychology and evolution of Ultron, but Serkis speaks here about what it took to figure out the physical mechanics of the evil AI-turned-robot villain, saying:
“We did some work on Ultron, on the development of Ultron before James Spader came on board. In terms of movement styles: was he gonna be human-like? Was he going to be robot-like? So we worked with a bunch of different people, from body-popping experts to dancers, to this guy called Neil who’s nearly eight feet tall…”
We’ve already seen from the available trailers how Ultron’s physicality will evolve as the film progresses, but the added value of Serkis’ input – whose mo-cap Gollum in The Lord of the Rings is still perhaps the benchmark for what the medium is capable of – no doubt provided an added dimension to both Spader’s performance the animators’ efforts.
As for the Hulk, Serkis reports that the filmmakers gave Mark Ruffalo physical manifestations of Bruce Banner’s alter ego, saying:
“We gave Mark weights, we had voice projections so he could do his Hulk roar. On screen we could have a virtual representation of the low-res avatar of The Hulk, so he could come out and feel that sense of scale.”
With The Avengers 2 supposedly featuring even more of the Hulk’s rage-fits than its predecessor – and that long-teased and that hotly-anticipated Iron Man vs. Hulk battle in store – the evidence that the motion capture technology has taken some amazing leaps forward in just these past few years is heartening to fans who were already blown away by the 2012 version of the Hulk.
We’ve heard from Mark Ruffalo himself on how liberating the current state of mo-cap can be, with heavy references to Serkis and his way of “honoring the actor,” all of which really ramps up our expectations for the mo-cap specialist’s version of The Jungle Book.
What do you think, Screen Ranters? Are you looking forward to seeing The Hulk and Ultron on the big screen?
The Avengers: Age of Ultron releases in theaters on May 1, 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4, 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on July 28, 2017, Black Panther on November 3 2017, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 on May 4 2018, Captain Marvel on July 6 2018, Inhumans on November 2 2018 and Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on May 3 2019.