James Spader Was Joss Whedon's First Choice for Ultron in 'Avengers 2'

James Spader

The Movies with Butter faithful already know that we were pretty happy about James Spader being cast as Ultron in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but we didn't know just how satisfied writer/director Joss Whedon was with his casting choice -- until now, that is.

In a new interview with the in-house Marvel show The Watcher, Whedon revealed that the guy he ended up getting for Ultron was the one he wanted all along. "Spader was my first and only choice," claimed Whedon. "He’s got that hypnotic voice that can be eerily calm and compelling, but he’s also very human and humorous. Ultron is not Hal [the AI who makes life difficult for the astronauts in 2001: A Space Odyssey]. Spader can play all of the levels. He’s the guy to break The Avengers into pieces. Mwahaha."

While anyone who's suffered through one of Spader's cruddier efforts might call shenanigans on Whedon's effusive praise, there's little doubt that the guy has moved into a phase of his career where he's comfortable with his ability -- and getting progressively smarter about the parts he picks, opting more for oddball stuff like his arc as Robert California on The Office and less for obvious paycheck gigs like the 2000 dud Supernova.

In any case, Marvel is a studio that knows how to get the most out of its talent -- and as he so capably demonstrated with the first Avengers, Whedon is frighteningly good at playing ringleader for a large cast while making sure there's enough room in the script for everyone to have their time to shine. The Avengers: Age of Ultron could totally suck on May 1, 2015, but we wouldn't bet on it.

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Jeff is an entertainment writer and editor whose work currently appears at a variety of sites, including Rotten Tomatoes, Paste, American Songwriter, Popdose, Dadnabbit, Diffuser, and Ultimate Classic Rock.

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