When Disney announced WandaVision at D23 last year, I couldn’t have imagined what to expect when it hit finally hit Disney Plus. What I do know is the last time we saw Wanda or Vision was during gate snap in Avengers: Endgame. All fans were left wondering were they went, how they got there and what happened once they arrived.
While, I can’t really answer any of those questions, what I can reveal is that Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are wonderfully weird in WandaVision. Created by Jac Schaeffer and directed by Matt Shakman, the world of Marvel has now come to television invoking all of your favorite sitcoms aesthetic into enthusiastically bite-sized adventures. I mean who doesn’t need a little pick me during these crazy times we are living in.
Disney Plus and Marvel invited the press to get a sneak peak before its worldwide release today moderated by sitcom legend from the hit Family Matters – Jaleel White. I know what you’re thinking because I thought the exact same thing. Why is Jaleel moderating a panel with MCU stars. Funny you should ask. Turns out Jaleel and Matt Schakman have history. Apparently, they were both cast in aa sitcom in which they were recast. The sitcom was “Saved By The Bell” and they have been buddies ever since. Wild…right? So, Jaleel basically begged to moderate and Shakman granted his wish. I have to tell you…he was absolutely perfect. Here are some excerpts and interesting facts from that conversation. Don’t forget to go check out WandaVision when you get a minute. I saw the first three episodes a really dug it.
On Shooting in Front of Live Studio Audience and Sitcom Inspirations…
JALEEL WHITE: Apparently you shot the first episode though in front of a live studio audience. How did that affect your-your performance?
ELIZABETH OLSEN: God. It was the first thing we shot and it was so nerve wracking. There was a lot of adrenaline and a lot of quick changes and, um…it confused my brain. Did you guys shoot in front of a live audience a lot?
JALEEL WHITE: Of Course, we shot 215 episodes…Ah, quick changes are great. I love the stress of ’em. I feel like you were drawing from either Elizabeth Montgomery or Lucille Ball if not both. Which one do you think you pulled from more?
ELIZABETH OLSEN: I don’t know. I think it was like an amalgamation of Mary Tyler Moore, Elizabeth Montgomery and I think I accidentally threw in some 70’s Lucy in the 70s just because there was so much physical comedy.
And what about Vision?
JALEEL WHITE: Paul Bettany, Your character is so off the chain. But, what is it about Vision that seems to hold true, whatever his surroundings are?
PAUL BETTANY: Yeah, I was worried about that initially. I was like, “Wow, this is-feels so different” and how do I keep him the same? Then I realized, he’s always been becoming something else, you know. He’s Jarvis, he’s part Ultron, part Tony Stark, and omnipotent but he’s also this sort of naive ingenue. Then I realized, I’ll just throw a little bit of Dick Van Dyke in there and a little bit of Hugh Laurie…I think Vision is just decent, honorable andexists for Wanda.
What About Those Classic Sitcom Nosy Neighbors? Jaleel asked Kathryn Hahn (Agnes) is she ever encountered a neighbor like the one she portrays as Agnes. You won’t believe her answer.
KATHRYN HAHN: Well, we did have one that would pop over unannounced and we tried topretend to be excited to see them and it was always the worst timing. So yes. For sure.
JALEEL WHITE: Do neighbors really even exist anymore today with phones and everything? Who knocks on someone’s door other than Postmates?
KATHRYN HAHN: I know! However, I do miss it.
What about Monica, played by the gorgeous Teyonah Parris? Will we see her again in November 2022?
TEYONAH PARRIS: We met Monica in Captain Marvel as a little girl and in WandaVision we pick up with who she is now as a grown woman. Through the course of the show we find out what she’s been up to, what’s happened for her between that gap in the years and who she’s grown and involved into or not. And yes, We will get to see Monica join Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel in Captain Marvel 2.
How did Matt Shakman pull off sitcom classics for the MCU?
MATT SHAKMAN: Well we wanted to be as authentic as possible. So. the production design, cinematography, costuming, everything was about going on this deep dive and with the actors and we all wanted did the same thing. We watched a ton of old television episodes, talked about how comedy changes from the 50s, 60s, 70’s.And doing it in front of a live studio audience, which is this weird quasi theater-TV. You can feel the energy of that sort of theatrical performance working with the audience. Then you get into shows like Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie…it’s a forth wall and all of a sudden it’s much more like doing a movie these days. That laugh track is all canned and brought in, changes the energy, the approach, the style…everything. So, we also worked with a fabulous dialect coach, to work on how the people would sound in that era, how they would move…we just did everything we could to make it as authentic as possible.
WandaVision is now streaming on Disney Plus and here is a little sneak peak for you to enjoy in the meantime.