I received an all expense paid trip from Disney to attend the #ChristopherRobinEvent and #InfinityWarBluray. The opinions expressed here are my own. Some interview questions and responses have been edited to improve readability.
Calling all Marvel fans! You won’t want to miss this Q&A session with Avengers: Infinity War Executive Producer Trinh Tran that I had an opportunity to be part of. She was awesome to chat with and it was fitting that the interview was held at Madame Tussauds Hollywood, where they just unveiled their new Marvel Super Heroes exhibit. The new exhibit features Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Wolverine and more characters from the Marvel Universe. Keep on reading to see my photos from the exhibit. While there, I also got to make my very own wax Infinity Gauntlet from a mold of my hand. Such a fun souvenir, thank you Marvel Studios and Madame Tussauds!
SPOILER ALERT AHEAD! If you haven’t seen Avengers: Infinity War yet, go watch it before you read on!
Q: A lot of people had nasty, angry responses to the outcome of Avengers: Infinity War. What has been the most bizarre or memorable fan reaction that you have witnessed?
A: You know what? I have been trying to avoid the public, to be honest with you, after the opening. Only because I was really nervous about how everybody was going to respond to the ending and it actually feels really weird because I can’t believe I can actually talk about it now. For the longest time, even during the Press tour, we couldn’t say anything and for 2 years. We had to keep our mouth mum about all the spoilers so this is actually one of my very first few times being able to talk about it and be open about it. Sometimes I’m going to be hesitant because I’m still used to the fact that can I say that? Wait a minute, the movie is out. It’s just, everybody embracing. Which is really shocking and great because for a lot of people, their fan favorites, didn’t make it for whatever reason. Peter Parker or Quill but whomever it is, they didn’t survive the ending and I think that the shock is that the bad guy won. So I think it was seeing that and being that the audience was OK with it was really weird.
Q : Talk a little bit about your role and day to day responsibilities when you’re producing a film.
A: It is amazing because I’m able to be part of the culture from beginning to end. When the idea first came out, we were finishing up shooting Civil War. We came back and we were in the story room with Joe, Anthony, Steven and Chris, our writers, and we started just hashing out ideas. Being a part of that creative process and sitting together with the writer, directors and coming up with the beats and ideas. Then really taking it all the way through shooting. Being in Atlanta for a year and a half, that was the longest time I’ve ever been away from LA.
Being on set every day, really making sure that Marvel’s vision was there and that were following through with the stories that we wanted to tell. Following it through in post production, being in Editorial every single day, night, holiday, you name it. I remember actually, the last day we called Wrap. We had a big cake there and everybody made speeches. As soon as the AD called Wrap, Joe and I ran straight to the airport because we had a 10 AM Editorial call. We went straight into post production, that’s how intense it was. But it was just being there every single day, every step of the way, which was the most exciting part.
Q: What are your feelings now that it’s all wrapped up?
A: It was a little shocking. The first weekend I had (to myself) was when “Infinity War” opened. I didn’t know what to do. I think I just sat there like I actually have a weekend, and I can actually enjoy it. I think a little bit of trying to balance life and work is difficult in any industry but particular, in the film industry. I think the first weekend I had was just taking the time to be with family and getting back into sort of the life so it felt good. Now we’re wrapping and onto the next one so I’m excited about that. It doesn’t end.
Q: When you are producing, at that point, are you getting the storyline developed and did this happen in this movie?
A: I think there’s always an idea that we want to bring each of our stories to, towards a particular direction. I think Kevin Feige is the genius behind this all and he has a vision. He has a vision of where Marvel is going to be and for the last 10 years, we were able to tell those stories. (He was abl) to bring us to where we are and so I think there’s always ideas. We want to be here 10 years later. I think what’s also unique is that we embrace the journey in a way. The audience is invested in these characters as much as we are. So to be able to see them actually grow in each one of our franchises it really helps us sort of, it allows to tell the story that we want to tell for each of the movies.
Q: How do you decide who survives?
A: It was pretty difficult. Sitting in the story meeting we really had to make the decision of yes, who we want to survive so that we could tell the next story. We sat there and we boarded out, we brainstormed, we’d sat in the room, we hash it out every single day. It was really trying to figure out how this was going to connect to Avengers 4. We wanted to be able to tell a story. I won’t get into it much because, I don’t want to spoil anything, but there is a specific reason why some of these people survive.
Q: That leads to the next movie. What are some of the biggest challenges of shooting 2 movies like this back to back and somewhat on top of each other?
A: Being away for a year and a half. I think was one of the biggest challenges was shooting a back to back movie is really just the amount of time that you spend trying to complete the movie but really, getting the cast together. I mean, this is the biggest cast that we’ve ever had in any of the (Marvel Films), I believe even in Hollywood, the amount of talent that we have so to be able to actually bring them all together. Even to shoot one scene, was pretty challenging but we have the best people. Some of these crew members we’ve worked with since “Winter Soldier” so we have this trust that everybody is going to be able to figure out a way to make that happen. We were able to pull it off and make a great movie out of it.
Q: Is there a character that you really wanted to survive?
A: You know, I had the same reaction the first time I watched Peter Parker and it was pretty hard, pretty emotional to see him go through it especially him being so young and he’s Tony’s protégé. You know, Tony taught him certain things and I was pretty heartbroken when we decided that he had to go.
Q: What was it like working with Victoria Alonzo? What support did she provide to you and what do you feel about women supporting?
A: She is amazing. She’s one of the Top 3 at Marvel. I actually used to be her Assistant for a period of time and she is so supportive. Marvel’s so wonderful because everybody’s very supportive, positive and really try to nurture your career. And Victoria especially, since Day One, brought me over to – to be with her and really allow me to just grow. She’s an advocate for bringing more women into the Film Industry. I wish we can all be in the story meetings together. And I think that it is important we have such a different perspective. We need more of that in the industry. She is a fighter for that which I really love. I’d love to see more and more of that. We’re doing more and more of that at Marvel, which is amazing.
Q: What would you say to young women who want to be you? What would you say to 18 year old you or young women who want to be you? Advice? Do this, don’t do that?
A: I would say a lot of things. I think first of all, I would say don’t worry. Just go on a journey and don’t worry about the outcome because ten years ago, never did I imagine that I would be right here producing two of the biggest Marvel Movies. I thought, Kevin was crazy at one point when he said, do you want to do it, do you want to spearhead this Movie? You want me to what? And I think also just embrace your difference. As I mentioned earlier, films are stronger when ideas are generated and questioned by different perspectives. Who we are and the way we think, is really important and it matters. As a Female and as a minority, I think it’s so important that I embrace it. I’m learning that every day that it’s OK to be in a room, and sometimes,I am among all males who some of them have over 20 years of experience. I’m sitting there and sometimes I feel a little intimidated. Do I speak up? It is all about if you let your perspective shine. There’s a great story that can we can all agree will be great.
Q: This is obviously such an iconic movie for this generation. What do you think this Generation will take away from this movie? What will it teach this Generation?
A: I hope that’s not the case. We really wanted to tell a different story which is why Thanos was such a prominent character. He had a prominent role in this but not that bad guys are good. We really wanted to raise the idea, a debate about society now and how he really thinks that what he’s doing is right. He feels that with limited resources out there we’re going to head that direction. And what he’s doing is absolutely wrong but his belief, he feels so strongly about. We wanted that conversation. I think people always assume that the heroes are going to win. At the end of every single movie and we wanted to challenge that. We wanted to say, you know what, it’s OK, sometimes it doesn’t happen but they are still Super Heroes. For kids out there, it doesn’t matter I guess whatever happens, they’re gonna find a way to overcome it.
Q: Which Character’s evolution has surprised you the most and why?
A: That’s a good question. There are so many of them to choose from. I think the one that really stood out in this particular movie, “Infinity War” is Gamora. I think she really shines in this one and I didn’t really get to see as much of that from Guardians 1 and 2. We really wanted to give her a prominent role next to Thanos so I think her evolution, her back story and having to be able to tell her side. Her relationship with Thanos was really important here. I think she would be the one.
Q: Which Avenger would you want to be?
A: You know what? I know Captain Marvel is not Infinity War but she’s the one. I’m looking forward to her movie and I think it’s about time. It’s only because she’s so strong and what’s so important is that she embodies leadership and we got to have more of that. Especially Female (leadership) so I’m looking forward to March when this movie comes out.
Q: What is the most challenging part of the movie making process?
A: This particular movie is really about bringing the cast together. In general, it’s really making sure that the vision is clear and the audiences are coming to love what you do. We all want to make something we’re passionate about but people have to go and see it. I think there’s a lot of pressure in terms of making the right movie or making movies that everybody is going to watch. What we do is we try to push on all sides and it’s just about the passion of film making. It’s the passion about the story that we want to tell. I think the challenge is to not hear some of that and just really bring out each and every one of what we love to tell in the story. We try to tell the best one we can.
Q: Did you take anything from set?
A: I wish. No they usually taken by the talent. I thought about that. It would be great but I try not to. Maybe after the next one. I might want something.
Q: And the star power. What’s it like having them all under the same roof? And to add to that, do all of them use a stunt double?
A: Most of them do. When they do have to perform the bigger stunts, we try to definitely use the stunt double. I think the first time when I saw them all in their costumes, walking together the first time, seeing the different characters from the different franchises come together, it’s pretty incredible just to see them. Thor and Peter Quill in one shot just talking to each other. I can’t believe that this is finally happening. The star power, when they’re all coming together and they’re all in one scene. I think the crew just goes silent, this is happening. We’re actually making this. It’s pretty powerful.
Q: Just between us, if there was one, who was the biggest Diva, man or woman?
A: I have to be honest. Everybody is so friendly and nice to work with and there really isn’t a Diva. I do know that when Mackie comes on set, nothing ever gets done because he’s so much fun and everybody wants to talk with him. We’re there to have fun so we’re never on schedule when he comes on. But that’s the fun of it and I can’t say there is a Diva.
Q: How did you know that you wanted to get into film or was there a moment when you thought this is what I want to do.
A: There wasn’t really one moment per se but I knew I wanted to get into the Film Industry ever since I was little. Watching all the Movies and just loving everything that came out of it and I want to be a part of that. Growing up, being in the culture, it was very different because my Parents never understood what that meant. ‘You want to be in the film Industry? You’re female.’ Which they understood as very male dominated Industry and ‘you’re a woman of color so, what does that mean?’ It really just pushing through all that and going, you know, I want to do what I’m passionate about and I’m gonna do my best. You know, I’m gonna work hard. I’m gonna surround myself with positive people.
Q: Were you into Marvel before?
A: Between us, I actually didn’t grow up reading Comics, as some of my Colleagues did. Probably shouldn’t say that but I remember when I walked into Marvel, there was about 20 people working there. Now we’ve grown to hundreds, but I remember the first time my boss brought me into watch “Ironman” and I absolutely fell in love with the movie. I fell in love with the Character and I just knew — this is the company I want to be in business with. This is the type of movie I want to work on. And so from then on I grew to love it. I actually didn’t grow up in that world.
Q: What was the most satisfying Character pairing for you?
A: When we worked on the story, we really tried to figure out which Character made sense with each other. We call that ‘strange alchemy’, putting Characters together that you normally wouldn’t see, ever. I think it was really Tony and Strange because I really like those two personalities. I wanted to see the Ego vs. Ego and where that was going to go. There was a lot of uncertainty and brainstorming. These two guys that we call Goatee vs. Goatee. We really wanted those Characters to come together and be on the screen.
Here are a few fun photos from Madame Tussauds Hollywood:
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