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Paul Bettany has been a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since its inception, but for the first seven years, we never saw his face in any of the movies. After voicing Tony Stark’s A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S. in four films, he was transformed into The Vision earlier this year in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Vision was arguably the blockbuster’s breakout character, but beyond the positive reception from fans and critics, the role was important to Bettany because it helped save his career.
During an interview with Yahoo!, Bettany stated that he was thrilled that Avengers: Age of Ultron finally allowed him to be on camera, and recounted a tale of bad news he received shortly before he was cast as Vision. According to Bettany:
I got the phone call from Joss Whedon right at at the moment that a producer, who will remain nameless, had just told me that my career was over. And I was sitting on the sidewalk on Sunset [Boulevard?] just thinking, "Wow, maybe my career’s over." And my phone rang, and I picked it up and it was was Joss Whedon. And Joss Whedon said, "Do you want to be a superhero in the next Avengers movie?" And I said, "Yes!"
Bettany threw a middle finger into that last statement, no doubt targeted at the unnamed producer, and added that karma was very quick that day. Earlier this year, Whedon mentioned that when he signed on to direct The Avengers, one of his stipulations was that the sequel would feature Ultron and Vision, and he always wanted Bettany to play the latter. So the A Beautiful Mind star was always destined to become The Vision, he just didn’t find out until three years later.
After serving Tony Stark faithfully for many years, J.A.R.V.I.S.’s world was turned upside down in Avengers: Age of Ultron when he was seemingly killed by a just-awakened Ultron. Fortunately for Tony and the rest of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the A.I. managed to survive by dispersing himself in the Internet. J.A.R.V.I.S. was subsequently downloaded into the body that was originally intended for Ultron, and after magic lightning and the Mind Stone were thrown into the mix, he was transformed into The Vision. Following Ultron’s defeat, Vision officially joined the Avengers alongside War Machine, Scarlet Witch, and Falcon.
Check out the video below to hear Bettany’s full comments, including what the process was like transforming him into the multicolored android.
Moviegoers will see Vision again next year in Captain America: Civil War as a member of Tony Stark’s pro-superhero registration team, and if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll also see him in the Avengers: Infinity War movies. In the meantime, Bettany can be seen next month in the Tom Hardy-led film Legend.