Joss Whedon discusses 'The Avengers,' 'tussling' with Mark Ruffalo and 'Dr. Horrible'

joss-whedon-avengers-set.jpgThe opening of "The Avengers" is less than six months away, and it's no stretch to say that the movie is one of the two or three most heavily anticipated movies of summer 2012.

But no pressure or anything, Joss Whedon. The fanboy hero directed and co-wrote the film -- which is by a long shot the biggest feature production he's ever taken on -- and says he found himself having to balance the story needs of all the primary characters with huge, heavily choreographed action scenes. No small task, that.

"I had one week where we shot basically the entire team arguing. I was like, 'If I can get through this week, no bullet can harm me,'" Whedon says  in an interview with Yahoo Movies. "And that week actually was complex, but went off really, really well.

"Then we got to the cars exploding, and I realized, 'Well, this is actually much harder.' And what's harder about it was ... trying to keep action from being generic -- from being the same gag over and over and over -- it's extremely tough. ... I ended up spending as much time writing the stunts as I did writing the dialogue. Just trying to keep track of who everybody was, what they were capable of, and keeping it from being repetitive. So the thing that I feared was, it's never the bullet that you see coming."

Whedon also talked about working with the cast on molding their characters, making the action fit the story and the chances for another installment of "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. You can read the full interview here; some highlights are below.

Collaborating with Mark Ruffalo on shaping the Hulk character: "Both of us agreed upfront that the template for who we wanted this guy to be in his life was Bill Bixby, the TV [show character] who was busy helping other people. That was more interesting to us than the Banner in the first two movies who was always fixated on curing himself. ... We even fought some. I mean literally we actually got some pads out and did some tussling. Just to talk about the physicality, and also the physicality of somebody who has to control this thing, and the way he moves in space and the way he relates to the people and the objects around him. It was extremely fun."

Samuel L. Jackson's role as Nick Fury: "This is something that I was very pleased that Marvel actually mandated -- they were very interested in keeping him, not just in the sort of mystery of how the organization operates, but a real moral gray area where you really have to decide, 'Is Nick Fury the most manipulative guy in the world? Is he a good guy? Is he completely Machiavellian or is it a bit of both?' And that was really fun to tweak."

The chances for a "Dr. Horrible" sequel: "We have been working on that for a while. It's been hard, because we all have jobs, and some of them are extremely taxing. But we have had a vision of the thing for a while, we have been working on it, we have a bunch of songs and a few scenes. We need a little free time and right now that's plenty hard to come by."

"The Avengers" opens May 4, 2012.
Photo/Video credit: Marvel