Every member of the team is important, though some certainly get more time to shine than others. This is true for all teams but was especially true for The Avengers. While Captain America, played by Chris Evans, quickly became the heart of the MCU (in my humble opinion) over the course of his two solo movies and the first team-up in the middle, Hawkeye, played by Jeremy Renner, has to date only appeared in a scene in the first Thor and was relegated to unwitting adversary for most of the first Avengers film. Both actors are acutely aware of this, and when Nerdist spoke to them, along with several other outlets at a set visit for Avengers: Age of Ultron last June, they both seemed to be very interested in how this second team-up would impact their respective heroes, both soldiers, but very different fellows.
In a movie that served characters better than anyone expected, Avengers did so at the cost of Hawkeye being brainwashed for the first two-thirds. When asked what we’ll get from Hawkeye in the sequel, Renner seemed very pleased with the size of his role this time out. “It’s a lot of the stuff that Joss [Whedon] and I talked about to doing the first one, but, it just didn’t work out that way,” he said. “So, it’s really exciting for me and Joss to kinda dive into the character a little bit more. There’s some wonderful secrets, and relationships deepen. So there’s a lot more of him to deal with versus like, you know, the hypnotized version of him.”
Hawkeye gets to spend a lot of time in the movie with the new cast members, Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson who play Wanda and Pietro, respectively. Renner was very jazzed about being the grumpy mentor figure to them. “Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are great characters, and my character and them have a lot to do together. They’re a little blurry on kind of where they stand and as far as good and bad which I appreciate, I guess, “Renner chuckled. “I think I’m policing them to see if they’re worthy or not, of being good guys or bad guys. I question them a lot.” Renner also mentioned, coyly, that we’ll find out where Hawkeye was during the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. “It’s actually a really wonderful secret reveal. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.”
Renner is also in awe of Whedon’s ability to construct such a complex narrative, and he doesn’t have a clue where it’s going. “I have no idea what’s going on,” Renner laughed. “I mean this world and, and all the things going on in this movie is, is just so vast and so many things going on. And, uh, but, um, yeah, I think the — for the most part the script is, is what it was when we started, and, you know, you make minor adjustments to here and there for clarity and like I said, it’s a big, big, big movie.”
On the complete other side of things is Chris Evans, who’s been the main character in two of his own solo films and has become the standout hero in a group of standout heroes. He told us that Captain America is having to adjust to the world following The Winter Soldier‘s fallout, and that he’s having to step up even more than before. “The team doesn’t have anyone to report to now,” Evans said. “There’s no more S.H.I.E.L.D. so we’re all kind of depending upon one another, but that gives [Cap] an opportunity to kind of take more of a leadership role I suppose, you know. Since there’s no one else giving him orders, he doesn’t have to question the chain of command or anyone’s motives, but it does mean he needs to rely on his team a lot more. So it’s just kind of added a little bit more tension to the actual dynamic of the Avengers.”
Evans also knows that with any team movie like this, it’s not going to feature any one character very heavily. “That’s just the nature of how these moves are gonna have to work,” he mused. “Do your movie and then you come to Avengers and then we all kind of gotta address a group conflict and then go back to your [solo] conflict. It’s just there’s too many plots, too many characters to try and spend too much time with your own individual conflict.”
But, this is his fourth time playing Capt. Steve Rogers, so how does the actor feel now this time around? “Very comfortable,” Evans states. “You know, the first movie you’re terrified. The second one [meaning The Avengers] you’re just intimidated because there’s so many great people but by Captain America 2 is when you really start kind of hitting your stride and feeling like you’re making some core progress with the character and you get a little more comfortable speaking up when you have opinions. And the Russos [directors of The Winter Soldier] are so great and I love that movie and it all just kind of worked out in terms of the evolution of my personal connection with the character. So, at this point I’m feeling really good and, you know, again like I said it’s hard to give too much individual attention to your own plotline in a movie like this. They still give good hurdles to jump, but it’s almost kind of… I’m very excited for Cap 3.”
Evans, like all the cast, has nothing but glowing things to say about the way Joss Whedon writes his character, being that he’s got such a deep well of comic book knowledge. “In terms of the character Joss got it right with the first Avengers and not only that he’s fan boy, you know, what I mean? He’s loved comic books so it’s not like you’re talking to someone who might not have a handle of what audiences want, or who this character is at his core.” He continues that he did have a bit of a chat about the physicality of the character following The Winter Soldier. “The only thing I kind of talked to him about was his ability consistency,” Evans said. “You know, with the second Captain America, we really pushed the envelope in terms of what this guy is capable of, which I was excited to see ‘cause, you know, the first Captain America, he’s just strong. In Avengers it was still, in my opinion, a little bit punch, punch, kick, kick. In Cap 2, he’s pin balling off of jets and doing unbelievable things.
I don’t wanna take a step back, so we gotta make sure that the scenes that he’s continuing training. His fight style needs to advance a little bit. you know, I don’t wanna go full Bruce Lee but there needs to be more than just haymakers and, you know, fun kicks. So, you know, there needs to be a style of fight. There needs to be a consistent display of strength, you know, utilize your environment in a way that’s like that’s right he can, you know, pick up a motorcycle with one hand. You know, even in Avengers, I punched a heavy bag across a room. If I hit a person, he’s not getting back up. It’s just the way it’s gonna go. So we can’t do this any other way. That’s it. Just trying to keep your finger on that pulse, and it’s tricky with all these characters.”
Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters Friday May 1st 2015.