Joss Whedon is taking the plunge.
Speaking with 24 Hours Vancouver while promoting his modern-day Shakespeare adaptation "Much Ado About Nothing" in Toronto (review), the "Avengers" director said he plans to delve a little further beneath the surface in the superhero blockbuster's highly-anticipated sequel.
"The creation of the team is not the happy ending," said Whedon, referencing the first movie. "It is the beginning of something that is complex and difficult, and now I get to dig a little deeper. And maybe, while I'm digging, just twist that knife. And that's exciting for me."
Speaking of happy endings, "The Avengers"' $1.5 billion worldwide gross has resulted in Whedon becoming the go-to guy for Marvel's "Phase II," with the filmmaker tapped to be a consultant on a slew of upcoming titles including "Iron Man 3," "Thor: The Dark World" and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (not to mention the recently-announced ABC spin-off series "S.H.I.E.L.D."). That said, he's not looking to throw his weight around either.
Included in the aforementioned "Phase II" of Marvel flicks is "Guardians of the Galaxy," based on the interstellar superhero group of the same name. On board to write and direct the effort is "Slither" and "Super" helmer James Gunn, and Whedon - speaking with MTV News in a separate interview - clearly has an enormous amount of confidence in the rising filmmaker.
"James is what makes me think it will work," said Whedon. "I myself was sort of like, 'Well, I liked Rocket Raccoon as a kid, but I'm not sure how that plays [to a wider audience].' And then they said, 'Well, we're thinking about using James Gunn.' And I said, 'Oh, then no, you're fine.' He is so off the wall, and so crazy, but so smart, such a craftsman and he builds from his heart. He loves the raccoon. Needs the raccoon."
Off the wall is right: In addition to the low-budget superhero flick "Super" - which our own Drew McWeeny called, among other things, "outrageous" and "filthy" in his TIFF review from 2010 - Gunn also penned the shallowly-similar 2000 flick "The Specials," which has risen to cult status in the decade-plus since its release.
"This is the guy who wrote 'The Specials,'" continued Whedon. "People don't understand how influential that movie was about heroes, about taking heroes and making them mundane."
Of course, "The Specials" also boasted a shoestring budget, which begs the question: will Gunn's quirky, down-and-dirty sensibilities survive the transition to a big-budget studio film? Whedon doesn't seem worried.
"He has a very twisted take on it, but it all comes from a real love for the material," he said. "It's going to be hard for the humans to keep up. ...I know he's going to come from left field and I'm going to go, 'What?' And then, 'Of course, why didn't I think of that?' And then I'm going to beat him!"
"Guardians of the Galaxy" is slated for release on August 1, 2014, while "The Avengers 2" hits theaters on May 1, 2015.
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