The Directing Styles of Joss Whedon and The Russo Bros. Are So Interestingly Different
As you know, Joss Whedon walked away from Marvel after he made Avengers: Age of Ultron. After he left, the Russo Bros. stepped in to take on the challenge of directing the next two Avengers films.
Thanks to actors Paul Bettany (Vision) and Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), we have some interesting information on how the directing styles between the two are so different from each other. In a way, it also explains what Joss Whedon was so wiped out after he made Age of Ultron. The guy basically did everything himself!
Paul Bettany says that "they’re really different. It’s not that one is better than the other." Olden then goes into the details, explaining:
"The biggest difference is that Joss wrote everything. When he writes them, he plays every single character in, like, a cabin and he does the fighting sequences as much as he can and then he writes it. I think the main difference is that the Russos delegate and they trust everything that they’ve delegated things to. Not saying Joss didn’t, but that’s a lot of pressure to be a director and then go home to also do rewrites for the next week.
"So I think it’s just as it gets bigger, things become more specific to different departments and I think it allows maybe even a freedom within the dialogue sometimes because there’s a space some of us have the ability to step out and not be on the page. Not saying that one’s better than the other because Joss knows these characters better than maybe each one of the individuals do because he lives it and breathes it, and the Russos at the beginning of filming are like, 'You’re in control of your character. If there are things you think we missed, please participate, please say.'"
So with Joss, he's like a one-man band trying to do it all himself, while Joe and Anthony Russo like to work with a team of people they trust can get the job done. Bettany added:
"They really want you to be a collaborator and it’s great. There’s a huge upside for that. For [the Russo Brothers], when you’re dealing with so many characters and actors to have two of them, and it’s brilliant because you can play one off against the other."
The two actors go on to explain that Marvel has a very collaborative environment that invites everyone to be involved in the creative process. Bettany says that he is surprised that Marvel is open to this collaborative environment, and Olsen says:
"People say it’s not a creative environment, you just are a pawn. They make it the most creative environment it can be within its parameters."
Bettany goes on to talk about how this open and creative environment has led to the success of their films:
"There are people with very clear vision. So they’re able to hear you and yet maintain the course of the ship. I found it really open and creative and genuinely interested in what you would like to happen and have happened with your character."
"I think the success of the Marvel films comes from the fact that they’re made by fans. They really love those characters. When I first came out dressed as Vision, Kevin Feige nearly cried. I didn’t grow up reading comics but they make you fall in love with your character. They really do. Their love for these stories is really infectious and you become really invested, and there’s a lot of invested people beyond the financials of it all. They really want to do a good job, and I think fans really trust that if they bend things that they’re in safe hands."
It's great to hear that Marvel gives creative freedom to its filmmakers and it's interesting to learn how the different filmmakers use that freedom. Whedon's method of directing seems like it's a lot more personal than what the Russo's are doing. The Russo's are more about conducting an orchestra of creative talent. Both styles have their strengths and weaknesses, but in the end, they both seem to have worked out great.
I know some people don't like Whedon's Age of Ultron, but I watched it again recently and thought it was great. What are your thoughts on what Bettany and Olsen had to say about the different style of directing?