Joss Whedon on finding Fury, fighting Hulk and forging Avengers

In one of the few long-form interviews the Buffy and Firefly creator has done since the Avengers trailer debuted, Whedon takes us on a tour inside his process—and the lengths he's gone to to make this climactic Marvel movie as badass as possible.

One of Whedon's initial challenges was earning the trust of a cast full of movie stars, most of whom already found the core of the heroes they're playing:

"I sat down with every one of them to talk about my ideas and their desires before I wrote the script ... So they knew from the ground-up that they were collaborating on it. And the things that didn't make sense to them or didn't work to them, they were like, 'Well, I don't want to stress that part of my character. We have done that before.' All of that stuff I could honor.

"And then it's a question of making them heard, and then ultimately making them understand that there are things you are not going to budge on that are your vision. And once they know they are part of it, but you actually have a vision, and you are not just trying to tell them what they want to hear—that it's all working towards one purpose, one story, one idea."

But the unique hurdle of working with Mark Ruffalo was finding what this Bruce Banner would be like, especially in the wake of two recent incarnations:

"Both of us agreed upfront that the template for who we wanted this guy to be in his life was Bill Bixby, the TV [show character] who was busy helping other people. That was more interesting to us than the Banner in the first two movies who was always fixated on curing himself. We spent a lot of time talking about what makes us Hulk out, the nature of anger, how it feels.

"We even fought some. I mean literally we actually got some pads out and did some tussling. Just to talk about the physicality, and also the physicality of somebody who has to control this thing, and the way he moves in space and the way he relates to the people and the objects around him."

As for Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, he was a character that moviegoers were familiar with, even if they knew next to nothing about him:

"I felt that in the other movies, they had been cameos and he had been called upon to come in and be Sam Jackson and bluster a little bit. And I told Sam upfront that my big agenda was to see the weight on someone who is supposed to be in control of the most powerful beings on the planet. The weight on somebody who has to run the organization and the gravity of it. Not that we don't have any fun with Nick, but he definitely—it's, I feel, like a much more textured performance and at times really moving."

For much, much more, head over to Yahoo to read the whole interview.

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