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And we’re off! Joss Whedon’s wildly anticipated sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron, has begun production in, of all places, Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Independent Online (via ComingSoon) reports that an Avengers crew had set up shop in Johannesburg to film "action photography sequences [that] will not include main cast members such as Scarlett Johansson or Chris Hemsworth." Sorry, South African star gazers! You’ll have to wait for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
There were rumors circulating that the South African city was going to fill in for a classic Marvel Comics location, maybe Wakanda, native home of the Black Panther. But ComicBookMovie cites the Gauteng Film Commission with saying that the city will "play" itself on screen, and that the first 10 minutes of Whedon’s movie will actually take place in Johannesburg. Representative Desmond Mthembu said:
"The great thing about this movie is that they are shooting Johannesburg as Johannesburg. Often you will find filmmakers will shoot in Johannesburg and portray the location as Los Angeles. This time around, the first 10 minutes of the film will be of Johannesburg."
What else do we know about Age of Ultron? When it comes to location shots, we have reported already that South Korea and Italy have been scouted by Whedon and crews. The latter might provide an ominous-looking castle that speculation pegs as a lair for HYDRA… but that’s a best guess.
In the meantime, Whedon has been stockpiling his cast with all sorts of actors. Forget about the original Avengers team members, including Robert Downey Jr., Hemsworth, Chris Evans and Mark Ruffalo. The sequel has added Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. And we have an array of potential villains. Of course, the robotic Ultron will be voiced by James Spader in the sequel. Thomas Kretschmann has been cast as Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. This movie better be four hours long to accommodate all of the people who will be clamoring for screen time.
So The Avengers is underway. I’m pretty sure every minute of this production will be documented, all but guaranteeing that the entire movie will be spoiled by the time it opens on May 1, 2015. And the first 10 minutes will be set in South Africa. So there’s that.