Iron Man fires up the Hulkbuster suitJoburgers will be lining up to get enjoy the rare experience of seeing their hometown play a starring role - as Jozi, not posing as some other city - when the blockbuster superhero sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron hits South African screens on 24 April.

The Gauteng Film Commission, which played an instrumental role in bringing Marvel's Avengers to Joburg and enabling the shoot in the CBD, has urged filmgoers to join in celebrating the event using the hashtag #AvengersJozi.

An early, extended sequence shot over three weeks in downtown Johannesburg in early 2014 features one of the biggest action sequences in the film, as Tony Stark/Iron Man puts his specially designed "Hulkbuster suit" to the test in an attempt to rein in an out-of-control Hulk.

As director Joss Whedon relates in a pre-release statement issued this week: "The team has come to the coast of Africa to find Ultron and Scarlet Witch who has gotten to Banner and basically given him a nightmare experience so overwhelming that he becomes not just The Hulk but The Hulk Hulking out.

"He is completely out of control and he comes to the middle of the city almost by accident and then he's just overwhelmed by noise, the lights and so many people," says Whedon. "It's not Super Hero Hulk, it's a really scary version and as much as he's fighting him, Iron Man is also making an effort to just get him out of the city and away from populated areas so he can put him down long enough to get Bruce [Banner] back."

"The Hulkbuster fight is one of the big action sequences in the film and is really an awesome spectacle," says producer Kevin Feige. "An amazing action sequence, but it also is a best friend trying to beat down and stop his buddy … even as he's literally punching the Hulk into the concrete."

For the filmmakers, pulling off the sequence required massive coordination between the local authorities and residents. As executive producer Jeremy Latcham puts it: "When you're bringing a movie of this size, you need a government that's going be welcoming, cooperative and give you the access to the city that you need.

"We looked all over Africa, for this sequence, and Johannesburg was clearly the place to be," says Latcham. "It had the look and access to the streets we needed. It was really film-friendly. In the downtown streets we flew helicopters, crashed cars and exploded massive pyrotechnics.

"It's really exciting to find governments that want filmmakers to come and show off their city, and that's what we have done and I think the people of Johannesburg are going to be thrilled to see their city well represented up on the big screen."

Whedon says the crew told him how happy they were to have shot in Johannesburg. "The government has been great, the city has been great and people have just opened their doors to us and we couldn't have done it on this scale without that.

"We are so grateful, because you really can't capture a place like this unless you're really there. I have to say the local background performers here were just so great and gave the same amount of energy running up and down the streets of the city take after take.

"Johannesburg has a very particular look and style to its architecture that I really liked," Whedon added. "It has very much its own rhythm, its own feel, its own tones, and there's an earthiness to the way it looks. It is very different from the other locations we shot. You know immediately you're not in North America."

Marvel Studios has released a number of clips featuring the Jozi scenes, including the two below - get a sneak preview of Hulk testing the limits of the Hulkbuster suit, then see where else the production crew travelled to as the Avengers "go global":

See also:

Check out some screengrabs from the first trailer released by Marvel Studios, which opens with a wide-angle aerial of Johannesburg approaching from the west, and offers further glimpses of the Hulk's rampage in the CBD:

Shot in Johannesburg: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Shot in Johannesburg: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Shot in Johannesburg: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Shot in Johannesburg: Avengers: Age of Ultron

Source: staff reporter
Contact the Gauteng Film Commission