TCA: ‘Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Teases Film Links & Returning Characters, Unveils Official Poster
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
UPDATE 10:30 PM: The official poster for Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.l.E.L.D. has just been revealed.
PREVIOUS 7 PM: There are no stats available on whether heavy secrecy, heavy branding or heavy hype has any correlations with TV quality. But all have raised anticipation for ABC’s new superhero drama with the unwieldy title, Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.l.E.L.D. AT TCA, TV journalists were not given the usual screeners or previews of Marvel’s first TV series (from Joss Whedon and the creative team of Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, with additional EP’s Jeph Loeb and Jeffrey Bell, all on today’s panel). Instead, reporters were only allowed to watch the pilot on big screens during lunch hour before the late afternoon panel. And earlier at ABC’s TCA day, entertainment president Paul Lee had joked that secrecy surrounding the show is such that TV writers could expect to be asked to submit “a sample of your grandmother’s urine or the Marvel guys won’t let you in.”
On the panel, producers and cast insisted the secrecy is not a promotional gimmick but necessary. Loeb said that the show’s first day of shooting took place on a military base, with both military security and Marvel security personnel. Still, the producer said someone snapped a picture of a vehicle on the road on its way to the set and the shot went viral. He complained about the 24-7 news cycle. “What we are trying to do with this show is bring back some of the urgency of television,” Loeb said. The idea, he added, is to get back to a place where people watch the show in real time before every element has been “shared and re-shared and spoiled and revealed and un-revealed”…
Whedon was asked to reveal what kind of notes the producing team is getting from ABC. “We’ve gotten trust, which is different than freedom,” said Joss, who is also at work on the Marvel movie The Avengers: Age of Ultron. “They are making sure it’s what they want for their company and their network, but they are supportive of our vision. We are all really trying to make the same show. We are on the same page, which occasionally has not happened to me.”
In the final moments of Marvel’s rousing panel at Hall H, Marvel chief Kevin Feige brought out Joss Whedon, who showed a very early teaser of the sequel The Avengers and revealed that the film will be called Age Of Ultron with a May 1, 2015 release date. Marvel Comics aficionados might know that the title and the baddie Ultron are the subject of 10-issue limited series comic book crossover storyline published by Marvel Comics that involves the return of Ultron and his conquest of the earth. Ultron and his Sentinels should prove a worthy antagonist for the Avengers and it looked like all will be back though there was no mention of Vin Diesel, who is rumored to be in line to play The Vision. The comic series was published between March and June 2013 and features a storyline by Brian Michael Bendis. Artist Bryan Hitch provided the art for issues one through five, and Brandon Peterson for issues six through eight. Other artists who contributed to the series include Carlos Pacheco and Joe Quesada, the latter of whom drew part of the final issue.
After DC’s announcement earlier today that the sequel to Man of Steel would be a Superman/Batman team up, the pressure was on for Marvel to top that bombshell during their own Hall H Comic Con panel. Marvel delivered with the announcement of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it wasn’t just Avengers news that electrified the assembled throngs of fanboys and fangirls. Marvel put on a highly theatrical presentation that featured never before seen footage of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as some of the most elaborate fan service seen at this year’s Comic Con courtesy of Loki actor Tom Hiddleston.
After a brief introduction from panel moderator Chris Hardwick and Feige, Hiddleston came onstage dressed in character as Loki to present new footage from Thor: The Dark World. “Silence, you mewling quims,” a scenery chewing Hiddleston said, referencing The Avengers‘ most notorious line of dialogue. Delivering a speech based heavily on his lines from the blockbuster, Hiddleston exhorted the crowd to shout his name. The Thor footage included scenes previously seen in the recent teaser, but mainly offered a much expanded look at the film’s larger scope. It was small on actual plot details but demonstrated that Marvel intends to keep doing what has worked for them for the last 5 years.
The irony wasn’t lost on Joss Whedon as he lobbied for more original content in Hollywood in his anything-goes Comic-Con Q&A Friday evening. The director behind both Marvel’s The Avengers and indie Shakespeare pic Much Ado About Nothing acknowledged his own recent successes with adaptations big and small between answering Whedonverse queries from fans. “I do feel like we are in desperate need of new content,” he said. “Pop culture is eating itself at a rate that is going to be dangerous. Too many narratives are built on the resonance of recognition. That’s going to become really problematic. Even though it’s enormous fun to work on something I read as a child, I think it’s important for us to step back from that and create new universes, new messages, and new icons … so that 10 years from now we can reboot those.”
Whedon said he’d like to do more with Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, the indie web series he directed, co-wrote, and produced during the WGA strike. He drew loud cheers with the dream project idea of getting the crew of Serenity back together, but he expressed no interest in returning to other projects he was formerly attached to, like his Wonder Woman script for Warner Bros. and DC. “I don’t like to go back to things,” he said, “and I also feel there’s plenty of room for a new iconic female heroine. So let’s look to the future.”
EXCLUSIVE: With buzz heating up at Comic-Con over network shows and new series, indie documentary Showrunners is primed to capture the zeitgeist. Director Des Doyle nabbed interviews with some of TV’s biggest and brightest creators, including JJ Abrams (Lost), Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer), Bill Prady (The Big Bang Theory), Hart Hanson (Bones), and Jane Espenson (Once Upon A Time). Submarine Entertainment snatched up US distribution and worldwide sales rights on the Black Sheep Productions pic, which held its own panel today at the pop culture confab. “We are very excited to be working with Des Doyle and the team on their amazing behind the scenes documentary Showrunners, which reveals the seductive, yet terrifying, world of being in charge of running a television show,” said Submarine’s Co-President Dan Braun announcing the deal. “The unprecedented access and attention to detail they achieved in this film is impressive and unique.” Showrunners takes a behind the scenes look at the writing, development, and production side of television from the captain’s chair. Project got its start with backing from the Irish Film Board and a Kickstarter campaign that grew fan interest online. Among the TV heads featured in the film: Matthew Carnahan (House Of Lies), Steven S. DeKnight (Spartacus: War Of The Damned), Chris Downey (Leverage), Mike Kelley (Revenge), Robert and Michelle King (The Good Wife), Ali LeRoi (Everybody Hates Chris), Damon Lindelof (Lost), Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica), Jeff Melvoin (Army Wives), Jeff Pinkner (Fringe), John Rogers (Leverage), Mike Royce (Men Of A Certain Age), Shawn Ryan (The Shield), David Shore (House M.D.), Janet Tamaro (Rizzoli & Isles), Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire), and J.H. Wyman (Fringe).
The news was announced a few minutes ago on Marvel.com. Robert Downey Jr reprises his role as Tony Stark in a 2-picture agreement for …
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Joss Whedon‘s Much Ado About Nothing clearly ruled the Specialty Box Office this weekend. Opening in 5 theaters, the Roadside/Lionsgate release gave the 4-century-old play some 21st century adulation, grossing over $183K in 5 theaters for a $36,680 average. Whedon broke box office records last year with The Avengers and will likely do so again with his second round with the franchise, but the versatile filmmaker has clearly shown his filmmaking chops outside the big summer tentpole. Sundance Selects debuted its timely Dirty Wars in 4 runs, also opening solid. The distributor said it played sold out shows in all venues and called the launch a “promising start.” This weekend’s limited release newcomers were plentiful, though most others opened soft at best. Oz pic Wish You Were Here bowed in 11 theaters, averaging $2,338, while Kino Lorber’s You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet opened in two locations, averaging $3,500. Cinedigm’s Violet & Daisy, meanwhile, debuted in 17 locations, with a very slight $602 average, taking in over $10K. The film will move into the top ten markets next weekend.
Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, ‘Dirty Wars’, ‘Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie’, ‘Violet & Daisy’, ‘Wish You Were Here’, ‘Hey Bartender’, ‘Hello Herman’, ‘Tiger Eyes’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
It may be blockbuster season, but the Specialties are parading a number of new titles into theaters this weekend. After ruling the box office last year, Joss Whedon‘s modern take on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing will open in limited release. Similar to many of this weekend’s new offerings, the title does not have high-named stars. Sundance and Tribeca docs Dirty Wars and Évocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie join the fray Friday along with Precious writer Geoffrey Fletcher’s Violet & Daisy. Joel Edgerton stars in Australian film, Wish You Were Here, opening Stateside via eOne, while Freestyle Releasing will bow two features, Hello Herman and Tiger Eyes. And SXSW doc competition film Hey Bartender will also straddle up for a shot at the box office.
Much Ado About Nothing
Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: William Shakespeare (play), Joss Whedon (screenplay)
Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Fran Kranz, Clark Gregg, Reed Diamond
Distributor: Roadside Attractions/Lionsgate
Roadside’s Howard Cohen is returning to a Shakespeare he knows well, having been involved with Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 version two decades ago. The latest, which debuted at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival is a black and white re-telling of the story with a modern edge. “It has a great combination of upscale art house appeal and fun modern, hipster vibe,” noted Cohen. “The actors are Americans doing Shakespeare. Joss breathes a fresh air into Shakespeare. People love Shakespeare, but you have to breathe new air to re-invent 400-year-old plays.” Shot over 12 days at Whedon’s Santa Monica home while taking a short break filming The Avengers, the undertaking was something of a passion project for Whedon who used actors that have participated in Shakespeare readings at his home. “There’s a real purist aspect to it. It’s not like he randomly decided to do a prestige movie. It’s aspirational because it’s Shakespeare, but it’s with actors he works with,” added Cohen.
On Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Friday, Joss Whedon confirmed that Marvel characters Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver would be in The Avengers 2. “I found their powers to be very visually interesting,” Whedon explained. “In the last film a lot of the characters had very ‘punchy powers’ where they were always punchy …
THURSDAY PM: Joss Whedon is making a much anticipated appearance at SXSW to present his indie modern retelling of the Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing. That’s the microbudgeted pic he shot in 12 days in secret under his Bellwether Pictures banner while working on Marvel‘s The Avengers. Picked up after its Toronto debut, the film screens in Austin with a panel on Saturday in front of his rabid fanbase – then hits theaters June 7 via Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions. (The film releases June 14 in the UK via Kaleidoscope, which is also handling international sales.)
Whedon recently wrapped his pilot for Marvel’s S.H.I.E.L.D. series and is set to work on The Avengers 2 for a 2015 release. He’s also contracted for three years as a creative consultant to Marvel, helping studio head Kevin Feige develop the sprawling superhero universe. Whedon admits the Marvel commitments may not leave time anymore for passion projects like Much Ado because he’s “in constant danger of burning out”. He also talks to Deadline’s Jen Yamato and contributor Joe Utichi about what could have been – Wonder Woman, Star Wars – and what might still be for The Hulk:
DEADLINE: Most directors helming a giant summer blockbuster wouldn’t choose to use their 2-week break to make a small Shakespeare film.
WHEDON: Making The Avengers was very important to me, but it was also extremely arduous. I missed my friends and I missed my home, so I decided to throw them all on camera which is the only way I seem to know to relate to people. But I was blissfully happy when we were shooting Much Ado About Nothing – and it was actually one week and three weekends – and then I went back to cutting Avengers much better. I was in the very early process – my first assembly was very long. When I came back from Much Ado, without any rancor or confusion, I was able to cut the film down to length and readily focus on the things that mattered. I think I would have come to that one way or another, but Much Ado sped it up. Here I was making absolute giddy ridiculous art with no expectations, and nothing but joy – and wishing that my neighbors’ dogs would shut up.
SXSW Adds Joss Whedon, Harmony Korine, Danny Boyle Chats & ‘Trance’ Preview; ‘The East’ Closing Night Film
Avengers 2 helmer Joss Whedon and actors Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, and Clark Gregg will host a discussion at SXSW following the U.S. premiere of their Much Ado About Nothing, the fest revealed today. Also joining previously announced panelists Carlton Cuse (presenting a look at A&E’s Bates Motel) and Matthew McConaughey in the Film Conference sidebar are Harmony Korine and the Spring Breakers cast; Danny Boyle, who will tease his April release Trance; and Rob Zombie (Lords Of Salem). Fox Searchlight’s anarchist drama The East, from Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling, will close the fest which runs March 8-16 in Austin. Fifteen additional features have been added to the line-up including Stevie Nicks’ self-directed (with the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart) documentary In Your Dreams – Stevie Nicks, James Ponsoldt’s Sundance favorite The Spectacular Now, and the iPhone short A Year In The Life Of Wayne’s Phone directed by The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne. Here are new Film Conference and Film Festival additions unveiled today:
SXSW 2013: Line-Up Includes Joss Whedon’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ U.S. Premiere & ‘Bates Motel’ Pilot Preview
It’s not The Avengers 2 but Joss Whedon’s other new movie is making its stateside premiere at this year’s SXSW Film Festival. Much Ado About Nothing, which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival last year, joins 108 other feature films at the March 8-16 fest in Austin, SXSW announced today. Along with the previously announced world premieres of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, starring Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi and Jim Carrey, and the reimagined Evil Dead, this year’s SXSW has an on-stage interview with sometimes Austin resident Matthew McConaughey, new films from John Sayles and Nick Cassavetes, a preview of A&E’s Bates Motel pilot, a documentary about home movies from the Nixon White House and, Austin being Music City, a lot of music movies. Here are SXSW’s descriptions of the movies, panels and other events unveiled today:
High profile narrative features receiving their World, North American or U.S. Premieres at SXSW.
Much Ado About Nothing
Director: Joss Whedon
Shakespeare’s classic comedy is given a contemporary spin in Joss Whedon’s film, Much Ado About Nothing. Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese (U.S. Premiere)
EXCLUSIVE: Joss Whedon, who late last spring set the blockbuster tone for summer with the May release of The Avengers, will venture further into the warm weather season with his next film — this time aiming for the counter-programming buck. Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate have set a June 7 opening for Much Ado About Nothing, Whedon’s contemporized adaptation of the William Shakespeare play. The film will open that day in five markets and then broaden out June 21.