Chadwick Boseman And Paul Bettany Share Their Trick For Handling Their Torturous Marvel Costumes

Being a superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a pretty amazing thing for an actor, but some of them have to go through a process that is quite torturous. Paul Bettany and Chadwick Boseman certainly qualify in this area, as they not only have to wear Vision and Black Panther costumes and make-up that cover them from head-to-toe, but they also had to film the recent Captain America: Civil War during a hot summer in Atlanta, Georgia. This experience would be rough on any human, but both performers found a method to get through it: deep meditation and trying to achieve a Zen-like state.

Paul Bettany and Chadwick Boseman were paired for on-camera interviews earlier this month during the Captain America: Civil War press day in Los Angeles, and when I had the chance to talk with them, one thing we discussed at length was simply how their survived their costumes. While Bettany had the experience making The Avengers: Age of Ultron under his belt, Boseman was new to the comic book movie world, and was surprised as more and more layers were added to the amazing Black Panther get-up. Said the star,

It was a gradual process seeing the different parts of it put together here [in Los Angeles], and when they finished it there. And every time they’d add a part I’d be like, ‘You mean it’s going to cut off my air supply?’ Oh, okay, let me figure out how to breathe like that. It was just a process of getting your mind right. I would talk to the stunt coordinator, some of the stunt guys, and they’d be like, ‘Now you’re in there. You have to go to this Zen space.’

Paul Bettany not only enthusiastically concurred with his co-star, but even put a clock on exactly when it was that wearing the Vision costume in Captain America: Civil War became unbearable. Apparently it took just under a week for him to feel completely exhausted by the costume, prosthetics, and heavy make-up. Said Bettany,

It’s not the first day that’s a problem. It’s not really the second day that’s a problem. It’s not the third day. And then you’re waking up on the fourth day… By the time it’s the fifth day of being in it, for 12 hours or whatever, you’re waking up in the morning, and you’ve put your head on the pillow the night before, and you wake up and it’s the morning. ‘I gotta get back in the suit!’

It was this mania that led Paul Bettany to just try and zone out and forget the world while on-set as Vision. Interestingly, one thought that also helped him keep his inner-peace was the knowledge that hundreds if not thousands of actors exist in the world who would probably do unspeakable things to play his role within the Marvel Cinematic Universe:

You really have to meditate. You have to meditate, and, frankly, I meditate on the long line of actors that would love to be in my position right now. You really remember how fortunate you are. But there is no getting away from the fact that it’s uncomfortable and challenging, in terms of keeping your inner peace.

You can watch Paul Bettany and Chadwick Boseman elaborate on their experience watching the video below:

Captain America: Civil War will be in theaters on May 6th, but it’s far from the end of Paul Bettany and Chadwick Boseman’s time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The latter will reprise his role as Prince T’challa/Black Panther in his own Ryan Coogler-directed solo film in 2018, and Bettany’s Vision will likely be back that same year in Joe and Anthony Russo’s The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 (in which it’s expected Black Panther will also appear). We expect that their arduous experiences will continue to be worth it.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.