One of Avengers: Infinity War‘s most pleasing surprises – as opposed to all those other shocks that left us heartbroken – was the return of Red Skull. Captain America’s nemesis hadn’t been seen in the MCU since 2011’s The First Avenger, so it was thrilling to have the former HYDRA commander back. Someone who didn’t come back with him, though, was original actor Hugo Weaving.
We recently found out that The Lord of the Rings star was asked to return, but he declined – which fits with what he’s said about his experience making the film in the past. Marvel’s next choice was The Walking Dead‘s Ross Marquand, who’s also known for being a ridiculously talented impressionist.
Marquand explained how he was cast while speaking at San Jose Fan Fest recently, and said the following about how he got the role:
“Last year, last October, [Marvel Studios] reached out to my manager and they said, ‘Does Ross do a Hugo Weaving impression?’ They didn’t mention what the project was at first, for security reasons, and I said, ’I’ve never really tried to do Hugo, but I’ll give it a whirl.’”
The request proved to be a challenge to Marquand though, as Weaving himself is a master of various accents.
“And I said, ‘Well, which Hugo are we talking about? [The Adventures of] Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert, Australian? Are we talking about Agent Smith [The Matrix]? Are we talking about Lord of the Rings? Because those are vastly different Hugo Weavings.”
The studio “couldn’t really give much information at first,” as the production was so secretive, but the actor says they told him the following:
Well, try Hugo Weaving with maybe a German accent.’ So I was like, ‘Oh, Red Skull?! Okay!’ So I watched Red Skull, the clips a bunch of times, and I just realized that it’s essentially Agent Smith with a German accent.”
Marquand then explained that he had a great time playing Johann Schmidt, who had been reborn as the keeper of the Soul Stone on the planet Vormir – even though it proved to be a lengthy process to get ready to shoot.
“And then we got there and it was like the easiest day of shooting, it was like six, seven hours of very lovely people working their asses off. After the dots were applied to the face and you put on the motion capture suit and the head cam — it took like six, seven hours — we were out of there, it was great. Very easy day of shooting.”
So, could Red Skull return in Avengers: Endgame? Marquand was asked that million dollar question on a previous occasion and gave the mysterious response: “I don’t know. I can’t answer that question. I really don’t know.” Make of that what you will. Even if the villain doesn’t return once more though, the actor should congratulate himself on a fine Hugo Weaving impersonation in Avengers: Infinity War.