WandaVision: Marvel Studios: Assembled / The Making of WandaVision
March 13, 2021 10:41 PM - Season 1 (Specials) - Subscribe

Not a new WandaVision episode! Join Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany and more, to go behind the scenes of the groundbreaking series 'WandaVision'.

This is a workaround for listing an episode of "Marvel Studios: Assembled", a new series, which hasn't shown up on IMDB in a way that Metafilter recognizes.
posted by Pronoiac (32 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
So good! Super interesting.
posted by ellieBOA at 8:00 AM on March 14


Well, it's a Marvel production, so you're not gonna see super juicy stuff like Olsen's addiction to cupcakes or Bettany's temper tantrums over the expresso machine, but it's still interesting!

Highlights:
-They shot the early eras before a live audience
-The black and white set for the '50s was actually a beautiful light blue
-There's a longer take of Hahn cackling
-The head special effects guy actually came up working under the guys who did bewitched, so he was familiar with doing wire work for special effects
-One set was used for all the eras, they'd just rebuild it for each one
-The creators consulted with Dick Van Dyck on how they filmed that show
-The Dick Van Dyck show was shot like theater, where they'd film the entire episode start to finish
-The creators did a lot of recreation of those earlier shows, down to the Director of Photography figuring out the type of lenses to use
-Bettany was wearing a fake butt to help with his posture for early 50-60s scenes
- Debra Jo Rupp (the wife in the early 50s scene) was thrilled to do a big spectacle thing and was bragging about getting a body scan, then winked at the camera saying "Don't worry Marvel, I'll never share them with anyone"
- There seemed to be a lot of women working behind the scenes, which is cool of course
- Olsen and Hahn floating on wires was a lot of fun to see, looked like they had a lot of fun
- During filming it's just Bettany's head that's painted, all the extra stuff on Vision's head is added in post.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:40 AM on March 14 [4 favorites]


Bettany was wearing a fake butt to help with his posture for early 50-60s scenes.

Could you expand on this a little, please? What was different about 50s-60s posture compared to today's and how does a fake butt help achieve it?
posted by Paul Slade at 12:46 PM on March 14


I think what's actually going on is that Paul Bettany is pretty much always wearing moulded padding to accentuate and emphasize his Perfectly Proportioned Synthesoid™ physique, and in the clip we see here, he's simply talking about his fake butt. This is purely conjecture on my part.
posted by wabbittwax at 1:03 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


I was a bit disappointed there was no mention of the commercials.

I was hugely impressed to discover the silver sections of Vision’s head were CG, and not prosthetics.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:34 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Olsen was in blue in the 50s, but I was surprised they dressed her in red in the 60s episode even though it was in black and white. The costuming on this show is so precise it's amazing.

I sort of love Teyonah Parris didn't know she was going to play Monica when she was first up for the part. The show could've treated the character better but her genuine excitement is delightful.

I did notice it was mostly the same set/house layout through the various eras.

I also like the discussion of the theme songs' composition. I still want to know the exact circumstances that Kathleen Hanna got involved, though (mostly because I think "Rebel Girl" was actually supposed to be used in Captain Marvel & it was vetoed for "Just a Girl").

This was fun.
posted by edencosmic at 2:16 PM on March 14


This show was the first time I ever watched a black and white production and I literally could not tell if it was shot digitally, or on film.

Usually, when something is shot on digital, and then converted to black and white in post, you end up with something dank, with a lot of crushed blacks, like what happened when the rereleased Logan in B&W.

But here, they planned on black and white from the start, and paid attention to the lighting and the gradients, and the results were gorgeous.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 3:14 PM on March 14 [3 favorites]


THAT WAS NOT PAUL BETTANY'S REAL BUTT ? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Pendragon at 3:32 PM on March 14


Olsen was in blue in the 50s, but I was surprised they dressed her in red in the 60s episode even though it was in black and white.

The 60s episode changes to colour by the end, though. So it was red... all along.

I was stunned at the extra level of immersion they went to for the audience filming - all the production crew in period suits, and all the audience were in period costume as well! That night must have felt like watching the Dick Van Dyke show being filmed.
posted by crossoverman at 3:53 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


I also wonder what kind of complicated non-disclosure agreement those audience members had to sign. (Unless they were mostly friends/family/employees -- I am curious about that.)
posted by edencosmic at 3:57 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Usually, when something is shot on digital, and then converted to black and white in post, you end up with something dank, with a lot of crushed blacks, like what happened when the rereleased Logan yt in B&W.

It was just an auto convert with no hands on correction? How terrible.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:07 PM on March 14


I also wonder what kind of complicated non-disclosure agreement those audience members had to sign.

I assumed they were the background extras used throughout the series.
posted by Pendragon at 4:15 PM on March 14


There was something about Mary Livanos, executive producer, talking in a shadowy house, that felt like a source passing along confidential information in a parking garage.

Did I miss something, or did the musicians pass up any mention of "Agatha All Along"?!

More disrespect of breakfast for dinner.

There’s nothing after the credits.
Well. "You may also like… WandaVision." Mmhmm.
posted by Pronoiac at 5:41 PM on March 14


Whoever laid in the scoring for this was really taking It easy. Very “google epic music”, random shifts in tone...
posted by sixswitch at 6:52 PM on March 14


Did I miss something, or did the musicians pass up any mention of "Agatha All Along"?!

I would have watched an hour-long behind the scenes that was only about Kathryn Hahn tbqh.

Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez were interviewed for Variety by Adam B. Vary a little while ago and they discuss the motif used across the songs in a bit more detail, including in "Agatha All Along."
posted by bcwinters at 7:32 PM on March 14 [4 favorites]


There was the occasional shot where you could see a crew person wearing a mask, which I thought was interesting.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:33 PM on March 14


Very disappointed they didn't show a rough cut of the supposed deleted scene where Monica, Boehner, and the kids fight a devil rabbit. Otherwise a pretty nice behind the scenes special.
posted by fomhar at 11:29 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I would've liked to see that.

Teyonah Parris's enthusiasm about playing Monica is utterly delightful, and I'm amused at how much Olsen seems to enjoy the flying rig stuff. Debra Jo Rupp is not the first actor I've heard of who did Marvel stuff because their younger relatives insisted on it.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:47 AM on March 15


I am a complete sucker for behind-the-scenes shows. I *loved* that the one for The Mandalorian was actually multiple episodes, and would have enjoyed it if this one had multiple segments as well. As it is, it was an okay overview. I feel like I've already read/heard/seen a lot of the info repeated in other media.
posted by briank at 10:37 AM on March 15 [1 favorite]


The main thing I got from this is that Teyonah Parris is fucking adorable and I hope she continues having a good time (and it makes me sadder about Monica's time getting cut in the series).
posted by dinty_moore at 12:44 PM on March 15 [5 favorites]




What blows my mind from time to time is that once upon a time 13 or 14 years ago, Paul Bettany got asked to spend like an hour in a voice-over recording studio*, and now he has to spend two hours a day getting his face painted to film a twisted sitcom parody slash meditation on grief.

* he originally voiced Iron Man's ai assistant JARVIS, who then got turned into Vision in Age of Ultron.
posted by Superilla at 3:14 PM on March 15 [6 favorites]


I thought this was a great Disney special, meaning that it showed how happy people were about specific things they did because they could with Disney money.

It made me happy because I love it when people working in a medium get to kind of explore different textures/periods/approaches and then bubble over about it.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:52 AM on March 16 [2 favorites]


I feel like if Paul Bettany didn't want to put on the cape and magic robot suit he could have turned it down with them slotting in another actor to play Vision. They probably wouldn't even have to mess with the "JARVIS becomes Vision" part of the plot.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:29 AM on March 16 [1 favorite]


There was the occasional shot where you could see a crew person wearing a mask, which I thought was interesting.

Apparently, most of the town square scenes across the series were filmed during the pandemic. Not sure at what point of last year, though.

Sounds like there was a lot of tinkering with the finale because of delays due to COVID. The original plan for airing the series was to drop the first three episodes all at once and then weekly after that, but they needed an extra week to work on the final episode - so they only dropped two the first week.
posted by crossoverman at 3:09 PM on March 16


Bettany mentioned in one of his publicity interviews that when he first played Vision in the movies, the prosthetic they used to cover his head and ears began to actually destroy the cartilage in his ears so they first moved to a partial prosthetic and now it's all cgi. I'll bet it's in his contracts.

As for his prosthetic ass and pecs, he turned 50 last week. He deserves zero shade for using prosthetics. Normal men have lost their ass by 50. And the whole blue looks more like red in black and white was fascinating.

It was just the first episode where they used a live audience and filmed sequentially, but holy fuck, what an accomplishment. With the crew in period costume even.

Biggest complaint, they had the theme song writers right there and they never got into Agatha All Along, which still plays in my brain at random moments in the day.

I think if Disney were honest they'd call Disney Plus, Disney + Fan Service = Profit, because that's what that platform focuses on. I hate them for playing me like that, just like they did with the Mandelorian, but I just can't get enough. I'm hooked and they leave me jonesing.
posted by Stanczyk at 4:30 PM on March 16 [3 favorites]


I also finally got to watch it! Very enjoyable, production stuff like this is catnip to me. Re: the prosthesis - follow along Iron Man's VFX journey (Insider YT channel): by the time they got to Infinity Wars/Endgame, with him in particular it's basically Downey in normal clothes and they added everything in post. By the time the whole crew went time travelling, the final time suit design wasn't even locked in at the time of shooting. So Marvel Studios basically have gotten to a point they could just add the fantasy hero stuff in post. Did you guys noticed also, Bettany wasn't shooting with a cape on? That's definitely one of the earliest things they did away with in on-location shoots.
posted by cendawanita at 6:59 PM on March 16


Stanczyk, Variety did a good nine-minute YouTube video with Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, the married songwriting team behind "Agatha All Along" (and the rest of the theme music).
posted by cgc373 at 9:20 PM on March 16 [2 favorites]


After the start, I thought this was going to stitch together the variety of behind the scene clips sprinkled on the internet, but they didn't show a lot of things I expected to see expansions of, like how much work went into wardrobe, makeup, props, and set design. It was surprisingly skimpy for all the material they had.
posted by provoliminal at 11:14 PM on March 16 [1 favorite]


cendawanita: Yeah. These days, between all the cgi costume/etc stuff and so much being shot on green screen, it feels like entire movies are being created in post-processing. If they want to completely change the plot all they really have to do is get new audio bits here and there and everything else happens in the computer.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:54 AM on March 17


If they want to completely change the plot all they really have to do is get new audio bits here and there and everything else happens in the computer.

Once deepfakes are more-or-less perfected, they won't even have to bother with new audio. I think we're quickly approaching the moment where actors merely license their image and voice to productions, and let the server farms create the movie from scratch.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:38 AM on March 18


That was a big theme in The Congress, in fact.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:43 PM on March 18


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