While Ben Affleck being cast as Batman has dominated the news cycle for most of the last week, today is all about James Spader. Earlier today we learned that the Sex, Lies and Videotape star has been cast as the villain in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, taking on the role of the role of the terrifying, seemingly-unbeatable titular robot. And I am definitely excited.
Anyone who has ever heard Spader speaks should immediately recognize why he is an awesome choice for what is surely going to be a CGI character. Much like how you would expect a sentient robot to act, Spader has an incredible evenness and calmness to the way he speaks, powerful to put the listener in a trance that makes them focus on every single word he says. But with just a snap that calm can immediately become insanely threatening, and because of the authority that he expresses you believe every word he says. Just watch these two clips from Secretary and The Office and you’ll know exactly what I mean:
All that said, what I’m really hoping is that Spader’s performance in The Avengers won’t be limited to voiceover work alone. Great as his voice is, one of the most amazing things about watching Spader work is seeing his body language and watching his slight mannerisms that tell us everything we need to know about his character and his state of mind in a scene. Obviously I’m not hoping that Whedon makes him don a full-on robot suit, but I can think of few better, more appropriate uses of motion capture technology.
At this stage in the game it’s also hard to question any of the decisions that Marvel Studios has made when it comes to casting their antagonists. Everybody loves Tom Hiddleston’s performances as Loki in both Thor and The Avengers, but let’s not forget that they have also previously enlisted amazing talent like Hugo Weaving, Jeff Bridges, Sam Rockwell, Tim Roth, Guy Pearce and Sir Ben Kingsley. Marvel has a knack for getting top tier talent to play the supervillains in their films and getting Spader to play Ultron is certainly a continuation of that trend.
Perhaps the most interesting result of Spader’s casting, however, is the way in which it throws a wrench in the gears of all fan speculation regarding the film’s plot. Because Whedon has confirmed that The Avengers: Age of Ultron won’t be including Hank Pym (the character in the comics who created Ultron), many have assumed that the plot would see Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark create the robotic villain using the same technology he used to develop Jarvis, his digital butler. If this were the case presumably Paul Bettany – who voiced Jarvis in all three Iron Man movies and the first Avengers – would be chosen to play Ultron, but that’s not the case.
What do you think of James Spader being cast as Ultron? Do you think he’s a good fit? Do you also hope that they will use motion capture to create the character? How do you think the character will be introduced into the story? Hit the comments section and tell us what you think!