Spoiler Warning: While there aren't many, there may be small references to plot points from Avengers: Age of Ultron. If you are avoiding all spoilers, big or small, you may want to turn back now.
This weekend, Avengers: Age of Ultron hit screens and it's all that anyone can talk about in the comic book community! Whether you loved it or hated it, there's no doubt that one of the highlights of the film was the incredible Paul Bettany as Vision. In an interview with ComicBookResources, Bettany spoke about his fascination with Vision, and what he thinks will happen in the future.
It was fun to explore the idea that you're this super-powerful, omnipotent being, and yet you've just been born, you're entirely naive, and you have no preconceptions, no sort of inherited moral compass from anybody.
It was amazing to see the voice of JARVIS come to life, and get a part on screen with the stars, and the costuming was absolutely perfect, but the element that made it a show stopper was, without a doubt, Bettany himself. The classically trained and award-nominated British actor brought so much to this new Avengers role, and I absolutely cannot wait to see him on screen as Vision again.
When you first Google the Vision, one of the first images is an image of him crying -- [the story] "Even an Android Can Cry," with a tear coming down his cheek. And I thought, "God, that's really interesting, this A.I. having emotions."
We're not sure yet exactly which films Vision will be appearing in in future, although we can be pretty confident he'll be in the Avengers Infinity War films. He also sounds pretty excited himself about the character and where the role will take him.
There are so many ways that it could go. It's such a rich character. He changes in so many different ways. There's so much option for the filmmakers going forward with what they want to do with the character.
In the meantime, if you just can't wait to see more of this amazing actor, here are a few of my favorite past films of his to check out.
1. A Knight's Tale (2001)
This brilliant adventure comedy was the film that introduced me to both Paul Bettany and the late Heath Ledger, and to this day it remains a favorite. The entirely historically inaccurate movie follows Ledger as William Thatcher, the common boy who always dreamed of being a Knight. With plenty of humor and slapstick, a phenomenal soundtrack, and the gorgeous Shannyn Sossamon to inspire him, he chases that dream all over Europe. It's sweet and funny and timeless.
In it, Bettany steals the show as Geoffrey Chaucer (yup, that Chaucer), and plays a key role in William's rise to fame and fortune. More than that, however, he ranges from charming rogue to pleading in fear, shows overblown confidence, respect, humility and pride. The film as a whole is an emotional rollercoaster, but it is in Chaucer that we really see the extremes come out, as well as seeing a lot of Bettany's Shakespearean experience. Perfect.
2. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
This multi-award winning (and four time Oscar winning) film became an instant classic, charting the heartbreaking journey of prodigy John Nash. The film is incredibly intense, showing his struggle with paranoid schizophrenia and his attempt to balance it with his genius. Russel Crowe is the star of the movie, but Bettany gives an absolutely stellar supporting performance as Charles, his college roommate.
3. Master And Commander (2003)
Another Oscar winner starring Russel Crowe, Master and Commander is a sweeping epic set on the high seas, with Bettany as Dr Stephen Maturin. Master and Commander is the epitome of drama, with as much going on internally and between characters as with the rest of the plot. Bettany and Crowe play off each other wonderfully as confidantes and friends who are being torn apart by the ship's mission, which is no surprise given that this was not the first time they worked together.
Master and Commander would have undoubtedly received more awards had it not been released the same year as Lord of the Rings: The Return Of The King, but even so, Bettany was nominated for six awards for his supporting role.
4. The Da Vinci Code (2006)
While the film itself was far from a masterpiece (I've got to get to a library!), there's no denying that Bettany was still the standout as Silas, the terrifying albino monk. Bettany has had a few other more frightening roles, but this is possibly his best known villain, and it's easy to see why.
I'd love to make a movie that shakes the world and offends people, but I really. Didn't think it was going to be this one. I play a monk who murders people, but it's no more a comment on monks than it is on people who wear sandals. Or big long brown dresses.
While the thriller chases Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu through Europe on a religious mystery, Silas lurks in the background as the stuff of nightmares. There is something to be said for making an assassin obsessively religious - terrifying!
5. Wimbledon (2004)
On the opposite end of the spectrum entirely, we finish our Bettany viewing list with Wimbledon, a straight-up romantic comedy centered around the British tennis championships. For once, Bettany is the star of the film (alongside Kirsten Dunst as his love interest) rather than a supporting role, and he does not disappoint as the handsome Peter Colt.
The film is one of my favorite rom-coms because while it has all the standard set-up of boy meeting girl, falling out, and then falling back in again, it is also much more realistic than most. Rather than unbelievable situations and misunderstandings to separate our lovers, Wimbledon follows two tennis champions, and deals with the issues of romance distracting us from ambition. It's humor is very British, and Bettany manages to be the charming Brit without crossing into trope territory.
For a star who isn't always the most recognized, Bettany has a huge range of films under his belt, and these five are only the beginning. He currently doesn't have anything listed as in the works, and he is an active father who often takes time between his films to spend it with his family. We may not see him again until Marvel's Infinity War, but at least he has a huge back catalog to keep fans happy!
What's your favorite Paul Bettany movie? Comment and let me know!