We are days away from the release of the highly anticipated new Marvel studios show, WandaVision. On the heels of the release, The Beat was on hand for the Global Press Conference featuring titular stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 newcomers Teyonah Parris and Kathryn Hahn, plus the creative team behind this series, Head Writer/Executive Producer Jac Schaeffer, Director/EP Matt Shakman and Marvel Studios President/EP Kevin Feige. Moderated by sitcom veteran actor Jaleel White, check out our WandaVision scoop!
On shooting in front of a live studio audience, Olsen shared: “It was the first thing we shot and it was so nerve-wracking and I had a lot of adrenaline. There were a lot of quick changes and the entire thing confused my brain. The idea of not playing to an audience but feeding off an audience and having a camera, I was grateful when we added the fourth wall for our second episode (laughs).”
On which actresses she pulled inspiration from when it came to portraying Wanda’s comedic side onscreen, Olsen told us: “It was an amalgamation of Mary Tyler Moore and Elizabeth Montgomery, and I think I accidentally threw in some Lucille Ball in the 70s just because there was so much physical comedy.”
On Vision’s ability to transcend time & space and what holds true for him no matter his surroundings, Bettany said: “I was worried about that initially. I was like, ‘Wow, this feels so different,’ as I read the script and I kept asking myself ‘How do I keep him the same?’ And then I realized he’s always been becoming something else. He’s Jarvis, he’s part Ultron, he’s part Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), and he’s omnipotent but he’s also this sort of naïve ingénue. So, I just decided I’d just throw a little bit of Dick Van Dyke in there and a little bit of Hugh Laurie. As long as he remains ‘Vision,’ is decent, honorable, and exists for Wanda, then you’re safe.”
On what Vision needs specifically to blend into his community, Bettany shared: ‘Oh, a lot of wigs and great makeup (Laughs).’
On if she’s personally ever had a neighbor like her character Agnes before, Hahn told us: ‘I did have a neighbor that was very much like Agnes and would pop over unannounced and I tried to pretend to be excited to see them and it was always the worst timing. So yes, for sure.’
On Monica Rambeau, Parris said: ‘We met Monica in Captain Marvel as a little girl and in WandaVision we pick up with who she is now as a grown woman. Through the course of the show, we find out what she’s been up to, what’s happened for her between that gap in years, who she’s grown to be, and what she may or may not be involved in. In 2022, we will get to see Monica join Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) aka Captain Marvel and Miss Marvel in Captain Marvel 2.”
On the sitcom boot camp that he created to help prep the cast for WandaVision, Shakman shared: “Well, we wanted to be as authentic as possible. That was one of the biggest goals, and so when it came to production design, cinematography, costuming, etc., everything was about going on this deep dive, and with the actors, we wanted to do the same thing. So, we watched a ton of old television episodes and talked about how comedy changes over the decades. The approach to comedy in the 50s, 60s, 70s is different. And as Elizabeth said, doing it in front of a live studio audience adds to it. You can feel the energy of that sort of theatrical performance working with the audience. When you get into 60s shows like Bewitched it adds a fourth wall and all of a sudden, it’s much more like doing a movie these days. It changes the energy, the approach, the style, everything.
So, we worked with a fabulous dialect coach to work on how the people would sound in that era, how they would move. We did everything we could to make it as authentic as possible. I won’t ruin it for everyone by sharing how deep into the various decades worth of sitcoms we go, but we take quite a trip.”
On Wanda & Vision’s love story and journey up to this point, and what we can expect to see of their relationship throughout the series, Schaeffer told us: “Wanda and Vision are really as a couple a fan favorite because their love story has been so very tragic but also kind of warm and intimate. We’ve seen them in these really beautiful stolen moments in the MCU. It’s been a small amount of screen time but very powerful and very soulful. What we have with WandaVision is a treat for all as we’re sort of opening up the stage and the space for them
in this domestic sphere. We get to see them doing dishes and, in the kitchen, being cute and doing all of the homebody stuff that you would never get to see a superhero participate in. We go from these enormous dramatic and kind of fraught moments in the MCU to WandaVision. It’s a lot of cute things until it’s not.”
On writing the changing dialects as the series goes through the decades of sitcoms, Schaeffer said: “Yeah, it was almost like doing a period piece, especially with the 50s and 60s. We would compile these big lists of sayings from that era and then we made adjustments and improvements for all those sorts of little textural things. So, in the early ones, it genuinely was sort of a research thing that we were kind of plug-in playing the expressions to make it fun in that way. Then as we moved forward to the sitcoms of the 80s, those phrases were just burned into my actual DNA so, that was not so much of a challenge.”
On if we can expect other MCU sitcoms in the future, MCU mastermind Kevin Feige shared: “We’ll see. This was Marvel Studios’ test run. There were a lot of meetings before people sort of understood what we were trying to go for, and we’re only sitting here because of what Jac and Matt accomplished. We’re able to turn a whacky idea into a spectacular show. I’m very happy and it’s worked out perfectly that this is the first debut from the MCU on Disney+.”
We’ll have to stay tuned to see what lies ahead for Wanda & Vision, and how this shows kicks off Phase 4 of the MCU and all everywhere it goes.