LOS ANGELES -- Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the creation of "The Avengers" comic book created by Marvel comics legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. That comic served as the guideline for "The Avengers" movie, which features actors from previous Marvel movies reprising their roles.
Here's a quick look at some of the film's characters and the actors who play them.
Agent Phil Coulson
Loyal agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Greg's other credits:
"The New Adventures of Old Christine," "(500) Days of Summer."
On his an expanded role in the film:
"I just didn't think it was really feasible to have this many characters coming together really work. And if it did work, with that many amazing superheroes and movie stars, I felt it unlikely that Agent Coulson would do anything but bring some super coffee to somebody. So when I read it and kind of saw that it was my fan boy wet dream of an 'Avengers' script and that Coulson was a big part of it, that was the great day for me. I just kind of drove around the streets with the script in the other seat, just kind of giggling."
Along with great strength, he has a nearly indestructible shield.
Evans' other credits:
"Fantastic Four," "The Losers."
On having to play the group's straight man:
"It's tough not getting any jokes. That's kind of why I like it, because I am used to leaning on cracking jokes and being a wise ass so it's nice to play it straight a little bit. I think even in this film more than the first 'Captain America,' Steve Rogers has some issues, some conflict, some trouble given the fact that he is a man out of time. But given who he is as a man, his nature, he puts that second, he puts the mission first and he's just selfless. That's a fun character."
He is the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Samuel L. Jackson
Jackson's other films:
"Pulp Fiction," "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith"
On his favorite part of being in the film:
"It was a great time being able to be in that space and allow an audience to see that OK, these people have super powers but they have normal kind of attitudes. They get pissed with each other and they argue about petty and they can be smart asses and they can be heroes and they can just be jerks. But they eventually are going to find a way to love each other.
He's a master archer.
Renner's other films:
"The Town," "Hurt Locker."
On training for the role:
"I did take some archery, but I realized very quickly that I couldn't really use it in the film. It ended up being superhero type archery. It's nice to know the technique behind it but then I am shooting behind my back and over my shoulder and using fake arrows. I think most of the physical part is just stretching so I don't get injured.
Agent Maria Hill
One of the top agents at S.H.I.E.L.D.
Smulders' other credits:
"How I Met Your Mother," "The L Word."
On preparing for the role:
"I made it a point to do a lot of training to prepare myself for this role with weapons and to get myself mainly comfortable using them. That was the thing that I tried to do the most. We had a lot of stunts to do and a lot of fun things to explode, so it's very different.
When angry, turns into a creature with incredible strength and leaping abilities.
Ruffalo's other credits:
"The Kids Are Alright," "13 Going on 30."
On researching the role:
"I met with (director) Joss Whedon and he said he really liked "The Incredible Hulk" TV show and what Bill Bixby did with him. So I rented those with my 10-year-old son. And after the third episode, he turned to me and said, "Poppa, he's so misunderstood." I basically based my character entirely on my 10-year-old boy."
High-tech suit allows him to do everything from fly and fire explosive charges.
Robert Downey Jr.
Downey's other credits:
"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows," "Chaplin."
On being the unofficial leader of the group:
"Just being a worker among workers is kind what I started out and it was nice to not really have to carry a movie. I think everyone really, really, really is equal in this venture."
The demigod welds a mighty hammer and can control thunder and lightning.
Hemsworth's other credits:
"The Cabin in the Woods," "Snow White and the Huntsman."
On his motivation to play Thor:
"Thor's from another planet. I guess his motivation through the conflict and the villain was far more personal than the rest of them because of his brother. So it was nice to have already shot 'Thor' and have that relationship with (Loki) Tom (Hiddleston). Certainly we're from some other planet or some other world, so it was fun to play that dynamic."
TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at (559) 441-6355, firstname.lastname@example.org
or @RickBentley1 on Twitter. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.