“The Avengers” Assemble With the Press

The room, filled with around 200 reporters, was alight with sheer anticipation. The experience of attending “The Avengers” world premiere and watching the long-awaited superhero film the night before still had everyone reeling, and yet they were ready for more.

And so it was at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills on April 12 that stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg and Cobie Smulders, along with writer/director Joss Whedon and president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige, assembled once again to chat about the film and answer questions.

Feige was ecstatic about finally bringing the Avengers together on the big screen. “I’ve been a nerd my whole life and wanted to see this movie made.”

He realized that fulfilling this dream was possible during the production of 2008’s “Iron Man,” particularly with the film’s after-credits scene. “[Samuel L. Jackson] was gracious enough to spend three hours on a Saturday to come and break into Tony Stark’s house wearing an eye patch and tell him […] you’re part of bigger universe […] And when that movie succeeded is when we realized, wait a minute, we actually have the opportunity to do it.”

New to Marvel is Ruffalo, who plays Dr. Bruce Banner and his alter ego, the Hulk. In preparation for his role, he watched the television series starring Bill Bixby with his son, who noted how misunderstood the character was. “I basically based my character entirely on my 10-year-old boy, who has all of the force of nature like, screaming out of his body while at the same time having everyone around him telling him to fucking control himself.”

When asked if he would switch characters, Evans went for the one with the biggest sense of humor and wit. “I want to say Iron Man […] I loved those movies, but who can do it better? […] The shoes would be too big to fill.” The same question came to Jackson, who nonchalantly said, “I want to be Scarlett [Johansson]. I just want to be that cute for like 15 minutes.”

As they recollected memorable moments both on and off the screen and joked around with each other, it became apparent that the same chemistry which united the likes of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk and other superheroes in the comic book series was present within this real-life talented group of individuals.

“Chris [Evans] sent us a text and said ‘Avengers assemble at such and such bar at nine o’clock on a Saturday night.’ […] That was good group effort. We paid for it at work the next couple days,” said Hemsworth, laughing.

“Sure did,” confirmed Evans.

“You should see that group hug,” piped in Ruffalo, referring to how the code name for the film was “Group Hug.”

“Ruffalo, weren’t you the one throwing the roof parties?” asked Downey Jr.

“Yeah, that was me.”

“So you were the group instigator of many hugs.”

“I was the group hugger!” laughs Ruffalo. Then, taking advantage of Johansson’s absence, he slyly said, “I just remember coming into someone’s place with a group of half-naked stunt men in a hot tub, and Scarlett Johansson standing over them with a giant ladle, making boy soup.”

“Whose house was that?” asked Hemsworth.

Ruffalo wasn’t able to give a response, as Feige stepped in. “You wanted your story, I think you got it now. Good work,” he said to the reporter who originally asked about such moments, eliciting laughter.

The eventual unity of these superheroes with such differing personalities left impressions with most of the cast, including Renner. “It’s when everyone was together. That’s the most memorable [along with] getting to play with Thor’s hammer while he stroked my bow.”

They also showed glimpses of their personal lives when discussing video games.

“‘Half-Life.’ That got me hooked on gaming,” said Renner.

“Yeah, ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops,’ ‘Mass Effect.’ I will rock some ‘Asteroids,’” Gregg said. “‘Dance Dance Revolution,’” he also admitted.

As it turns out, they played plenty of “Dance Dance Revolution” at Renner’s place.

“Scarlett and I will always have ‘Billie Jean,’” remarked Hiddleston in his silky British accent.

“Nobody lambadas like Loki!” Renner quipped.

“The last video game I played […] was ‘Super Mario Kart’ on the Super Nintendo, so I’m like from the dark ages,” Hiddleston said.

“I’m classic too. I like ‘Super Mario Brothers,’ the very first one with the mushrooms and the [sound effects]. That was my favorite one,” Smulders declared.

Video games aren’t for Whedon, however. “I have friends, so I don’t do that […] I don’t own any video games because if I start playing one, that will be it. Yeah, I’ll be gone and I won’t be able to do this.”

Finally, there had to be some discussion concerning Marvel’s direct rivals, DC Comics. Whedon was asked what advice he would give to Warner Brothers to get their Justice League movie going.

“Call me,” he said in a deadpan voice before breaking into a small smile.