He plays the extremely well-spoken and powerful Vision in the Marvel cinematic universe, but British actor Paul Bettany says he’s far less posh than people think he is.
The Londoner, who stars as Vision in Captain America: Civil War, tells Loaded that people often get him wrong. He admits people also believe he’s far more intelligent than he really is because of Vision.
“It’s fun to play Vision,” Bettany says. “I don’t know how to be a robot and I’m only filled with emotions. So the bit that I’m faking as Vision is the massive intellect. I’m helped by having a British accent that people assume is well-educated. But the real story there is that I left school at 16.”
“In this film, Vision has matured and has become a paternal figure to people”
Bettany, who’s married to American actress Jennifer Connolly, has seen his Marvel character change dramatically since Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The current version co-starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen and Scarlet Johansson, is on a new journey of discovery, according to Bettany.
“In the first film, you see Vision born. He’s very powerful and omnipotent and learning things as he moves through the last act,” says the 44-year-old.
“In this film, Vision has matured and has become a paternal figure to people. I think it’s very interesting to see him discovering what love is. He wants to know what love is, as the old song goes. The reason for that is that logic affords no loyalty, but love does. I think it’s going to be important for mankind moving forward that Vision seeks out love and loyalty.”
Captain America: Civil War sees a strong bond flourish between Vision and Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, with the door certainly left open to develop this storyline further.
Bettany is in favour of the strong friendship between the pair, and stresses that both of the Marvel characters have come from similar backgrounds.
“I think Vision and Scarlet Witch understand each other and they have things in common,” he ponders. “Her power is very recent too and they don’t know the limits of them, or whether they’re going to be used as a force of good or as a force of evil. So I think they’re in the same boat.”
One scene sees the powers of Scarlet Witch overcome those of Vision, but the actor isn’t too upset about that.
“There are extenuating circumstances, which is her ability to manipulate density,” laughs Bettany. “I think one could be forgiven having been driven down through the mantel of the earth.”
Also, Vision is a far less hot-headed character than his other Marvel contemporaries, but Bettany stresses that this is as much to do with what he wears as anything else.
“Frankly, the calm that Vision seems to have is a by-product of wearing the fucking suit,” he laughs. “You have to find such a place of calm and zen to not rip the make-up off, so you just stay really centred and focused.
“Everybody on this set got on very well and made jokes, but you have something like 14 superheroes to cover. So it ends up feeling like an independent movie, because you get two takes and have to move on, because there are so many people to cover.”
Captain America: Civil War is in cinemas now.
Loaded’s entertainment editor Jennifer O’Brien is an award-winning journalist who has written extensively about popular culture as a national newspaper columnist and author. Follow her on Twitter at @Jen_OBrien1