How Avengers 2 Made Quicksilver Look So Fast

Following in the footsteps of X-Men: Days of Future Past, Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron has its work cut out for it when it comes to crafting interesting Quicksilver sequences. After all, the Bryan Singer movie did a hell of a job with its super speedy mutant, and he wound up being at the center of one of the year’s best action sequences. So how will The Avengers 2 stack up? It’s hard to say at this point, but one thing that’s for sure is that the Marvel production went in some interesting directions to try and portray the fast character in a new and dynamic way – specifically by having him run along long stretches and be filmed with specialized cameras.

It was while we were on the set of The Avengers: Age of Ultron with a small group of other journalists last summer that we learned a bit about how the new blockbuster went about creating the effect of Quicksilver running at superhuman speed. The secrets were unveiled by Aaron Taylor-Johnson himself, who detailed the setup that was used to make at least one accelerated sequence in the movie. He described sprinting alongside a truck for 100 meters while being filmed with cameras operating at 120 frames per second. Doing this not only had the effect of making the character look like he was running at super speed, but the actor also noted that all of his little movements are accentuated and become more significant as a result.

This method sounds like it worked out rather well, but Aaron Taylor-Johnson also noted that the first approach that Joss Whedon and his crew took didn’t actually provide them with the look for which they were hoping.

The first time we did a running test, I was on what's essentially like a running machine. But it was a huge Lorry sized rig, and it was something that they sped up. They had me in a harness on a green screen, and they put it sort of [on] an incline, and I ran on that. But what it did, it didn't really give a sense of anything ... really traveling. So when you played it back, it was just like everything actually looked too clean and neat. So it didn't really look real.

We have already seen some ways in which the representation of Quicksilver in The Avengers: Age of Ultron visually will differ from the one in X-Men: Days of Future Past, as the Marvel Studios version notably leaves a white-bluish blur/outline as he sprints from place to place. But when May 1 rolls around, it will be interesting to see how the two performances stack up next to one another. At the time that we talked with Aaron Taylor-Johnson on set, he hadn’t yet seen the most recent X-Men movie, but it will surely be on the forefront of many minds when the blockbuster hits theaters.

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.