- Category: Interviews
- Published: Thursday, 14 January 2021 13:37
- Written by Lupe R Haas
Marvel makes their foray into a sitcom format series for Disney+'s WandaVision, an odd blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe starring Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany reprising his role as Vision. The stars including Teyonah Parris (“Monica Rambeau”), Kathryn Hahn, Kevin Feige, director Matt Shakman and head writer Jac Schaeffer give us a few clues to what's behind the bizarre premise including a Hydra connection.
WandaVision premieres on Disney+ Friday September 15 with weekly episodes. The Avenger couple find themselves living in an idealized suburban setting straight out of a 50s sitcom for the first two episodes and then transition into the 70s in a Brady Bunch set. For MCU fans, Vision can only exist in Wanda's mind since Thanos killed him in INFINITY WAR. So what is her state of mind? Let's look for clues in what the cast and filmmakers had to say at a recent press conference.
FAMILY SITCOMS SPANNING FIVE DECADES
The Marvel show takes inspiration from the Mary Tyler Moore, Bewitched, Dick Van Dyke and many other family sitcom shows, according to director Matt Shakman.
"We wanted to be as authentic as possible. That was one of the biggest goals, and production design, cinematography, costuming, everything was about going on this deep dive and with the actors we all wanted to do the same thing, so we watched just a ton of old television episodes, talked about how comedy changes, you know, because it really does. The approach to comedy in the 50s, 60s, 70s is really different. And as Lizzie (Olsen) said, the doing it in front of a live studio audience, which is this weird quasi theater-TV.
So we also worked with a fabulous dialect coach to work on how the people would sound in that era, how they would move. We just did everything we could to make it as authentic as possible."
The live audience aspect was new to Elizabeth Olsen who also says she drew from Lucille Ball, Mary Tyler Moore and Elizabeth McGovern for her performance.
"It was the first thing we shot. It was so nerve wracking, and there was a lot of adrenaline. There were a lot of quick changes and it totally confused my brain."
A LOVE STORY
Head writer Jac Schaeffer says the show is a love story at heart.
"Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that Wanda and Vision are really as a couple a fan favorite because their love story has been so very tragic but also really kind of warm and intimate, and we've seen them in these really beautiful kind of stolen moments in the MCU. It's actually been a small amount of screen time but very powerful and very soulful, and what we have with WandaVision which is really a treat for all, is we're sort of opening up the stage and the space for them and they're in this like domestic sphere."
CAPTAIN MARVEL CONNECTION
Teyonah Parris was previously announced as the adult version of Monica Rambeau who we meet as a child in CAPTAIN MARVEL with Brie Larson. Parr will join Larson's Carol Danvers in the CAPTAIN MARVEL sequel in addition to the MISS MARVEL film. Rambeau makes her appearance in Episode 2, and the actress reveals what to expect from her character.
"Yeah, I mean, we met Monica in Captain Marvel as a little girl and basically in WandaVision we pick up with who she is now as a grown woman, and through the course of the show we find out what she's been up to, what’s happened for her, between that gap in the years and who she's grown and evolved or-or not. And we just follow her along."
Marvel's terrorist organization has a role in WandaVision in hidden references during commercial spots in the episodes. Feige hints that MCU fans will get the many clues in those interstitials.
"And commercials was an early idea for that. And if this is the very first Marvel thing you're watching, it's just a strange version of a 50s commercial or 60s commercial that you'll have to keep watching the series to understand. If you have been watching all the movies, you might be able to start connecting what those things mean to the past."
It's not all laughs in WandaVision. While the nods reference family sitcoms, there's a darker element that's straight out of the Twilight Zone says Feige.
Twilight Zone is an enormous influence on me personally. I really think that's actually kind of how I learned to tell stories."
In WandaVision, you won't see Wanda's usual flashy powers with big explosions everywhere. Instead they remained classic sitcom appropriate in at least the first three episodes press was allowed to to view. Olsen gives us insight into how they created the special effects with old school techniques.
"Well I can't wiggle my nose so we had to figure out something else that was period appropriate. So this kind of was our translation and to watch our special effects team that usually you know, blow things up, set things on fire, create wind, create smoke, these guys became like puppeteers... things floating in the sky and dealing with magnets in different ways to make things spin and it was just so incredible to watch our special effects team adapt to the air of specific ways of creating these practical effects by doing the research of what did they do on Bewitched.