Paul Bettany Thought He Was Getting Fired When Kevin Feige Pitched Him WandaVision
Along with Jon Favreau, Paul Bettany is the only other cast member to have remained part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since the franchise’s very first installment, not including post-credits scenes. The Iron Man director makes regular appearances as Happy Hogan having now become a key supporting player in the Spider-Man series, while Bettany was the voice of JARVIS for his first four outings before finally becoming a live-action presence in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Vision’s creation was integral to the plot the second time that Earth’s Mightiest Heroes were assembled, but he didn’t get much of a chance to become a permanent member of the team. In fact, after being killed by Thanos in Infinity War, it looked as though the actor’s days were numbered in the MCU, and Bettany himself certainly seemed to think so.
In a recent interview, the 49 year-old admitted that when he was called into Kevin Feige’s office after his contract had expired, he was fully expecting to be given his marching orders. Instead, though, Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer pitched him WandaVision, and the idea of a TV show was more than enough to convince him to extend his working relationship with the studio.
“So my contract was up, and I got a call from Kevin Feige saying, ‘Can you come into the office?’. And when the boss calls you up and says to come by the office when your contract is up, you know what that means. So I looked at my wife, and I was like, ‘I’m out of here’. So I went in, and I didn’t want anything to be uncomfortable between us all because it’s been such a great time. So I walked in and said, ‘Kevin , I love you. I totally get it. It’s been a great run and no hard feelings’. And Kevin went, ‘Wait, are you quitting?’. And I went, ‘No, aren’t you firing me?’. And he went, ‘No, we were going to pitch you a TV show’. So I went, ‘Oh, okay. Yeah, I’m in’. So that’s how that happened. I’m always thinking I’m about to get fired. I’ve spent my life thinking I’m about to get fired.”
WandaVision finally premiered on Disney Plus today, and Bettany is clearly having a blast getting to add so many new layers onto Vision, having largely been stuck in a relatively one-dimensional role as the emotionless synthezoid. The first episodic project from the MCU is a breath of fresh air for the franchise and adopts a visual, narrative and stylistic approach that none of the previous 23 movies would even dare think about. Some fans might not be too impressed, but there’s going to be a whole lot more who can’t wait to see where the next seven weeks will take the title characters.