With Marvel’s box-office destroying Avengers being released in the UK on September 17th on Blu-Ray and DVD, we were able to catch up with Maximiliano Hernandez; one of the main performers in Item 47, the new short film which is to be included in the special features.
Check it out below:
SB: Hi Maximiliano. You alright? How’s it going?
MH: Good! It’s beautiful in California!
SB: Oh I can imagine. Jealous!
SB: Okay, so we don’t have an awful lot of time, shall we get started?
MH: Ok man, go for it.
SB: What can you tell us about the plot of Item 47?
MH: Sure. Item 47 basically takes place directly after The Avengers. So, after the portal is closed [by Iron Man], my job was basically to collect the weaponry, make sure that it was securely put away by S.H.I.E.L.D.
SB: This is the weaponry from the Chitauri invasion force, right?
MH: Yeah, the Chitauri invasion that happened in The Avengers. Yeah, so that was basically my job. I was able to collect 46 Items and the 47th item kind of slipped through the cracks and was found by a couple, played by Jesse Bradford and Lizzie Caplan. They find this weapon, and Jesse’s character was able to get it to work.
I mean, it shouldn’t work, ‘cause once the Chitauri are dead their weaponry doesn’t work. But he was able to figure out a way to make it operational, and because of their economic situation they start going on a sort of East Coast bank robbery spree. [S.H.I.E.L.D] gets word of it and I’m sent out to retrieve the weapon and to neutralize both of them.
SB: That sounds awesome! So can you tell us a little more about your character specifically?
MH: I play Agent Jasper Sitwell who in the comics was basically trained directly by Nick Fury. He’s a real comic book hero character created in the mid 60’s by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby; so it was kind of cool to play a character that really lives in the Marvel universe.
You know, he’s been around for 40-some-odd years and they gave me the shot to play his part, to sort of like, reinterpret the guy. And in the film world I’m paired up with Clarke Gregg’s character – Agent Coulson – I’m kind of like, his protégé. I guess now, because of what happened in Avengers, I’m stepping up to fill his shoes.
SB: So will there be anything that we might recognise about your character from the comics in Item 47?
MH: You know what, I think we’ve taken a lot of license with my character from the real comic books. I mean you know, in the comics, Jasper is more of a technical guy; he’s almost always on the technical side of working on the Heli-carrier.
In the film, I think where they’ve taken license with these guys to sort of like push them more out into the real world. And that’s sort of what they did with Coulson and they do it with Sitwell. On the Heli-carrier [in the comics] our characters wear like tighter suits – but we’re don’t, we’re sort of like out in the world in our Armani’s.
SB: [laughs] Ah cool. That must have been nice for you.
MH: [laughs] Yeah, we’re trying to assist the Superheroes. Which is nice; I like the idea that we’re sort of like the support team. You know like, we have no superpowers but we know as much about what’s going on and maybe sometimes a lot more than the Superheroes.
SB: I guess S.H.I.E.L.D are sort of more intel based.
MH: Oh absolutely. We’re definitely more intel based. I think we definitely know a lot more than what the Superheroes know. We know a lot more than Captain America knows. And like maybe with the exception of Tony Stark, I think we definitely know a lot more than we let on to the others.
SB: I suppose they say ‘knowledge is power’; if you look at it that way, you guys do have a superpower really.
MH: Absolutely! We do have superpowers!
SB: I mean knowledge, really, is Batman’s superpower.
MH: Exactly! And being sort of plugged into a different way of sort of seeing what’s going on that like the criminal doesn’t know, or doesn’t want to know. That’s like us.
SB: So how did you prepare for the role of Agent Sitwell?
MH: Well, I’m very talkative and outgoing and this character, you know… isn’t [laughs]. So I basically just didn’t play myself. I played [Sitwell] very stoic. I think he’s sort of been trained to be this way; not to show his cards too easily, not to show emotion so much.
I mean every once in a while he’ll you know, show something. But he’s pretty much been tasked to sort of keep things quiet, and that’s completely the opposite of me. I like to, you know, make jokes and hang out, play poker with my friends and ride on motorcycles and do all this other stuff.
SB: [laughs] So whatever you would do, Sitwell wouldn’t do.
MH: Exactly! Sitwell would be like “Why would you ride on a motorcycle, cars are a lot more comfortable and a lot more conducive to the work we do”.
SB: [laughs] He sounds exactly like a S.H.I.E.L.D Agent to me. So I’m wondering now, are we going to maybe see Agent Sitwell in the upcoming Avengers 2, do you think?
MH: You know what, you very well could. Marvel is very good at keeping secrets, as you would imagine [laughs]. Well, they’re kind of good at it, ‘cause sometimes the odd detail leaks out. Like you’ll find something out online and you’ll be like “how the hell do people know that”. But they’re usually really good.
Like, I don’t know at all. I literally find out maybe like a month before I’m going to do something for them. I’ll get a phone call from Marvel and they’re like “hey, suit up, we’re sending you into battle”. But I’m pretty optimistic that, you know, I’m gonna get that phone call late in the year and it’s gonna be like “hey, get ready”. So… I’m excited.
SB: As would I be in your shoes. Jealous!
SB: Are you a comic book fan yourself?
MH: I am. I’m a big comic book fan. I’ve had an on-going subscription to Incredible Hulk since I was 12.
MH: Yeah. In some way shape or form at least. When it switched over from ‘Incredible Hulk’, to ‘Hulk’, to back to ‘Incredible Hulk’ to ‘Hulk’ again, there was a bit of a transition and I definitely went through that transition with them. He’s my favourite character I think. He’s just a reflection of what humans really want, you know, they want to express themselves. I think he’s like a super-heightened version of that.
SB: The director, Lois D’Esposito, has done a lot of first assistant directing. I know he’s Marvel’s co-president which is a pretty impressive job title, but how was he at directing?
MH: He was amazing. He’s won so many jobs in the business, like working as Line Producer and really working his way up. I mean he’s done everything. He really earned it, and he knows what he’s doing. So we felt really nurtured and completely just, like, really taken care of. There was never moments where we were like “alright, I just don’t get this, I don’t know what’s happening here”.
There was never, ever a moment where that happened. I mean, I know Lizzie [Caplan] and Jessie and Titus and I; we were very like “wow, this is really smooth”. And it’s also his facility to talk about the characters. I mean he knows what he’s talking about – he’s the co-president of Marvel! So he knows where all these stories are going. He knows where they’re going to connect. He’s got a much farther view of it all than we do.
So that definitely helped because we knew that we were going to be taken care of that way story wise. And then when you see the short, I mean, it looks like Avengers. It moves so seamlessly from the big movie to the short movie and the truth is, since it is Lou, he can and did make the phone call and he got the entire crew that shot Avengers to shoot this movie.
SB: Awesome. Well, that’s what you want isn’t it?
MH: Yeah! I mean when Lou calls you and says “hey, we’re gonna do this thing but we’re kind of on a budget…” and people are like “dude, don’t even worry about it, I’ll be there and I’ll bring my crew”. You know what I mean? It’s like that kind of reverence [laughs], because they know “I’ve been working on the last three movies, I’m gonna continue to work on the next four”. You know so Lou definitely has that confidence and everyone who worked on it – the graphic effects guys, the stunt guys, everyone – was like 100% involved in this project, and it shows. And when you see it, it looks like it’s just a chunk of Avengers that became this lil’ short film. It’s very cool that way.
SB: That sounds very, very awesome. I will of course be looking forward to watching Item 47, if nothing else to get some sort of fix while I wait for Avengers 2. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Maximilano it’s been a blast. Good luck for Avengers 2!
MH: [laughs] Thanks a lot, great talking to you.
Item 47 is released on September 17th in the UK (25th in the US) as part of the Avengers Blu-Ray special features.
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