Joss Whedon

Shakespeare at the Movies- The Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Avengers: Age of Ultron is being released in North America this week, and certainly needs no introduction. One of the biggest film franchises of the modern day, the Age of Ultron cast brings loads of experience performing Shakespeare’s works on screen and in the theatre. Let’s find out who has played what roles!

Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/ Iron Man)

Robert Downey Jr

Appeared in:

  • Richard III (1995) as Lord Rivers

Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/ Scarlet Witch)


Appeared in:

  • Romeo and Juliet (Classic Stage Company, 2013) as Juliet

Paul Bettany (Jarvis/ Vision)


Appeared in:

  • Romeo and Juliet (Royal Shakespeare Company, 1995) as Paris
  • Julius Caesar (Royal Shakespeare Company, 1995) as Decius Brutus/Strato
  • Richard III (Royal Shakespeare Company, 1995) as Richmond

Idris Elba (Heimdall)


Appeared in:

  • Trolius and Cressida (American Place Theater, 2001) as Achilles

Stellan Skarsgard (Erik Selvig)


Appeared in:

  • Romeo and Juliet (2013) as Prince of Verona
  • Den tragiska historien om Hamlet – Prins av Danmark (TV Movie, 1985) as Hamlet

Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaue)


Appeared in:

  • Othello (Royal Exchange Theatre, 2002) as Iago
  • King Lear (Royal Court Theatre, 1993) as The Fool
  • Macbeth (Royal Exchange Theatre, 1988) as Porter/Sargeant
  • The WInter’s Tale (The Dukes in Lancaster, 1986) as Florizel
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Dukes in Lancaster, 1986) as Lysander
  • Henry IV Part 1 (Nuffield Studio, Southampton, 1982) as Poins

Julie Delpy (Madame B)


Appeared in:

  • King Lear (1987) as Virginia

Henry Goodman (Dr. List)


Appeared in:

  • Two Gentlemen of Verona (Royal National Theatre, 1999)
  • The Merchant of Venice (Royal National Theatre, 1999)
  • Richard II (Royal National Theatre, 1995)
  • The Merry Wives of Windsor (Royal National Theatre, 1995)
  • Pericles (Royal National Theatre, 1994)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Royal National Theatre, 1992)
  • Hamlet (Royal National Theatre, 1990)
  • Richard III (Royal National Theatre, 1990)
  • Antony and Cleopatra (British National Theatre, 1988)
  • Cymbeline (British National Theatre, 1988)
  • The Tempest (British National Theatre, 1988)
  • The WInter’s Tale (British National Theatre, 1988)
  • The Comedy of Errors (Royal Shakespeare Company, 1983)

Joss Whedon (Director)



  • Much Ado About Nothing (2012)

Which of these roles is your favourite? Did I miss someone? Leave a comment and let us know!

The Shakespeare/ Whedon Connection

Today I’m going to do a blog entry about Joss Whedon and his connection to Shakespeare. For those of you that don’t know who Joss Whedon is, his most famous work is Buffy The Vampire Slayer, which was extremely popular in the nineties and early 2000s, ran for seven seasons, and reruns are still played on some local TV stations.


In 2012, Joss Whedon did a modern, movie adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Yes, he did a modern adaptation of a Shakespeare play, but what else do him and Shakespeare have in common? Well…lots. The most significant link is the fact that there are multiple references to Shakespeare in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Buffy The Vampire Slayer contains multiple direct Shakespeare quotations, and one of the characters shares the same name as a character from King Lear, Cordelia.

Choosing to include subtle culture references is an example of the one thing William Shakespeare and Joss Whedon have in common: they bring culture to the masses. Whedon and Shakespeare both wrote fairy tale like fables. These fables successfully appeal to the masses through creating stories that both fascinate the audience with their stories that are both from a world that’s different from the one that the audience lives in, and contains characters that the masses can relate to.

Shakespeare and Whedon’s common goal makes Dave Golder’s belief that, if Shakespeare where alive today he would write television scripts one hundred percent true. Yes, the language would have to be a lot less flowery to make the script Buffy proof, but Golden illustrates the language differences, and how this can be addressed by creating a list of famous Shakespeare quotes and showing us how Buffy character Xander Harris would say the same thing (see link to read Golder’s list ).


Shakespeare in The Park? Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?

I am sure most of you know where that quote came from. No, it wasn’t in any of Shakespeare’s plays! It comes from a little film you might have heard of called The Avengers. It only had the biggest opening weekend results of all time!

Anyways, I just thought that I would share with all of you the casts’ Shakespeare connection!

Robert Downey Jr.- Tony Stark/Iron Man

Robert Downey Jr. has appeared in Richard III, a film version of the play with a modern twist released in 1995.

Gwyneth Paltrow- Pepper Potts

One of Gwyneth’s most famous roles was that of Viola in the Shakespeare In Love. It was released in 1998, and gave Gwyneth her first Oscar for Best Actress!

Tom Hiddleston- Loki

Tom Hiddleston is the cast member with the most Shakespeare related experience. He has appeared in stage versions of Cymbeline, Othello, and Twelfth Night. He is currently working on two made for TV movie versions of Henry IV and Henry V, which will be released later this year!

Joss Whedon- Director

You don’t have to be an actor to work on Shakespeare related projects! Joss Whedon is currently working on a modern retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, being responsible for writing the screenplay! This project is due to be released sometime later this year.

Take a look at your favorite actors’ body of work, and see if you can find a Shakespeare influence! Leave me a message with your findings!