'The Avengers' begins filming: See the first pic from set

avengers-starts-filming.jpgCameras started rolling on "The Avengers" this week, causing comic-book and Joss Whedon fans across the land to begin trembling with anticipation.

Or so we imagine, anyway; that's kind of what we're doing. Marvel has released a not-very-action-packed photo from the set -- showing four empty director's chairs for Thor ( Chris Hemsworth), Iron Man ( Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America ( Chris Evans) and the Hulk ( Mark Ruffalo) in front of the S.H.I.E.L.D. crest -- and writer-director Whedon gave an update on things via Whedonesque:

Tomorrow we start shooting (I THINK I'm legally permitted to say that). Day one. That's right. We'll be shooting the pivotal death/betrayal/product placement/setting up the sequel/coming out scene, at the following address:

[Marvel Lawyers rush in, take Joss's keyboard, blowtorch a picture of his family like in "Stormy Monday", drink his milkshake, leave the seat up, fluff his pillows, violently unfluff his pillows, leave]

Went too far. My bad. Anyhoo, it should be a fun day, followed by the eighty thousand other fun days it will take to finish this. I'll be checking in from time to time, if there's news or I crave attention (i.e. am awake).

Despite Whedon's tight-lippedness, Marvel's press release on the start of filming actually contains a couple of new details on "The Avengers." Most intriguing is the fact that "Thor's" Tom Hiddleston will be reprising his role as villain Loki; Stellan Skarsgard will also return as Professor Erik Selvig. The studio also lists "Thor" as one of Jeremy Renner's credits, which sounds like confirmation to us that that is in fact Hawkeye in a preview clip from the movie.

"The Avengers" (or "Marvel's The Avengers," as the studio is calling it) is filming in Albuquerque, N.M., and will also shoot scenes in New York and Cleveland. It's scheduled for release on May 4, 2012.
Photo/Video credit: Zade Rosenthal/Marvel