Also at Disney’s D23 over the weekend was a sizeable chunk of the cast of Avengers: Infinity War, including Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Sebastian Stan (those three, by the way, got the biggest ovations from the crowd), Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, and Robert Downey, Jr., and that’s still not everyone who turned up. A conspicuous absence was Chris Evans, but he’s currently filming a movie so he’s off the hook. Also not present but without excuse: Scarlett Johansson. (Next time you wonder where the Black Widow movie is, consider that ScarJo doesn’t WANT to carry one of these things.)
The dynamics of this cast fascinates me. Mostly it’s fun and games—Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan kept up their tradition of picking on Tom Holland—but I wonder about stuff like how the Guardians of the Galaxy interact with the Avengers. No one would be here if The Avengers didn’t work in 2012, but Guardians is a hugely successful franchise in its own right, and not just on screen. An Avengers-themed hotel is coming to Disney parks—Lainey, we need to go there—but the Guardians got there first with a ride at Disneyland. Actors can be petty as f*ck, and I want to know, on that day when everyone was on set, how those teams squared off.
Have you ever been to summer camp? I went for eight years as a kid, and filmmaking has always reminded me of summer camp. It’s a few weeks, you get really tight, but you might not ever hear from those people again when it’s over. The drama and the antics can be very similar, with the inevitable camp/set relationship, and prank wars. And there’s always some intra-camp rivalry that’s generally pretty chill until capture the flag, then all bets are off. What I want to know is, who’s the senior cabin on the Avengers set? You want to say, “The Avengers, duh,” but the Guardians can come back that they don’t need RDJ to prop them up. What I’m saying is I want to see the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy play capture the flag.
Continuing the camp metaphor, the dynamic between Tom Holland and the other Avengers is “counselors giving star camper a hard time”. Benedict Cumberbatch was paired with Holland for interviews—they’re a big pairing in Infinity War, too—and Cumberbatch was trying to be gracious and professional, which just shows how new he is to this world. Anthony Mackie, though, was having none of that “do your job like a grown-up” sh*t.
And it’s not just self-appointed class clown Mackie, either. Don Cheadle giving Mark Ruffalo the gears during a press line interview is my favorite highlight from Marvel’s turnout. (By default since they elected not to release the Infinity War teaser and thus bestow Captain America’s luxurious beard on us all.)
First of all, let’s talk about HOW GOOD Ruffalo is looking—he’s clearly gotten on Paul Rudd’s unicorn blood regimen. Second of all, Cheadle is also looking good, and actually bothered to dress for the occasion. Ruffalo sh*ts on everyone’s standalone Hulk movie dreams, and Cheadle sh*ts on Ruffalo for pretty much everything else. This has been the strength of the Avengers from day one—they’re a f*cking GOLD MINE doing press together (except, you know, when Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans decide to sex-shame Black Widow). They go to the most exclusive summer camp in the world, and make the rest of us want to go with them.