Many of the cast members of the MCU have had a crazy time of it over the past decade, but Paul Bettany’s career has taken more unexpected turns than most. He was initially part of the franchise in a mere voiceover role, portraying Tony Stark’s trusty A.I. JARVIS from 2008’s Iron Man until 2015’s Age of Ultron. Beginning with that movie, though, Bettany got to stand side by side with the rest of the Avengers as the android hero Vision.
But how did the actor get involved with the MCU in the first place, and then how did he transition from playing JARVIS to Vision? In a great interview in which he chats about his most popular roles, from A Knight’s Tale to Solo: A Star Wars Story, the British star explained to GQ how it all come about.
“I got a phone call from Jon Favreau saying ‘I need the voice of a sort of personality-less robot and I thought of you immediately.’ [Laughs] I thought it was the funniest thing I’d ever heard so I said yes.”
The story of how Bettany ended up graduating to the role of Vision is even more extraordinary. It turns out the actor was at a low point in his career at the time, having had a potentially damaging falling out with an unknown big-name movie producer, when director Joss Whedon came to the rescue by offering him a major role in Age of Ultron.
“Eventually, this big Hollywood producer told me that my career was over… I kind of stood up to him in the room and said ‘You know what? People have second and third acts in this town’, but then I went outside and my legs were like jelly. And I sat down on the pavement, the sidewalk, outside and thought ‘Maybe he’s right, maybe my career’s over’ and then my phone went. I answered the phone and I didn’t know the number and I said ‘hello’ – and it was Joss Whedon. And Joss Whedon said ‘do you wanna play Vision in The Avengers and I went ‘YES.'”
In Infinity War, Bettany’s journey in the MCU seemed to come to end as Vision was murdered by Thanos. However, concept art for Avengers 4 suggests that Vis will be back with a new look next time around, so it seems as if Paul Bettany’s got even further to go in the franchise in the years to come.