By Adam Barnhardt
Moments before Paul Bettany was hired as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Vision, he was told his career was over in Hollywood. It’s a story Bettany has brought up before, but he details it further in The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The actor was meeting with a big-time Hollywood producer when he was told he’d never act again. It was on the way out of that meeting Bettany got a call from Joss Whedon, asking him to be The Vision.
“I was thinking, ‘Maybe he’s right? Maybe I’m done. Maybe my career’s over,” Bettany recalls in the book. That’s when his cellphone rang and Whedon offered him a job. After quickly accepting, Bettany adds he turned around and flipped off the building he just had his meeting in.
“It taught me a really nice life lesson,” the actor adds. “If you’re good to people and you slip, people will put their hand out and help you back up. If you’re an a–hole to people and you slip, people just look at you floundering on the floor. So it was nice to get the affirmation that having good manners [pays off]. I will always be grateful.”
As it turns out, Bettany’s job offer was years in the making. Whedon says in the book it was always his plan to turn Tony Stark’s JARVIS into the fabled Avengers villain.
“Look, I don’t know if I can help you with this, but I do know this: If you do it, and you do a sequel, in the sequel, it has to be Ultron. And then he has to take Jarvis and make the Vision. Because Paul Bettany has to play The Vision.”
As fate would have it, an Avengers sequel was made. Then two more were made after that, and eventually, Bettany got to star in his own television show alongside Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch.
WandaVision is now streaming in its entirety on Disney+.
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By Adam Barnhardt