It’s taken a while, but it looks like Paul Bettany is finally finding the commercial career success suggested when he first began appearing on the British stage back in the early ’90s. Instantly recruited into smaller, arthouse fare, his first big film role was as Charles Herman, one of John Nash Jr.’s schizophrenic hallucinations in ‘A Beautiful Mind.’ From there, he went on to appear in ‘Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,’ Lars Von Trier’s ‘Dogville,’ and another pairing with Ron Howard, ‘The Da Vinci Code.’ But it was as the voice of J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark’s computer advisor in the Iron Man films, where most mainstream viewers know him from. Even with efforts like ‘Legion’ and ‘Priest,’ Bettany is still seen as one of many articulate English actors who seem to permeate most of our minor movies.
Now, he’ll have a chance at greater glory when he appears in the highly anticipated sequel to ‘The Avengers,’ currently known as ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron.’ Oddly enough, however, he won’t be playing Iron Man’s right hand…man? Instead, Joss Whedon has cast him as Vision, an automaton which starts out as part of Ultron’s villainous crew, but has a change of heart (can robots even do that?) and decides to help the heroes. It’s a big part for Bettany, considering that the first film made $1.5 billion dollars (that’s BILLION with a “B”) and how highly anticipated this sequel is. While there is still concern over the number of characters Whedon has to deal with, the last time out, he managed the filmmaking feat with several star heroes rather well.
This should be good news for Marvel fans. While DC keeps dropping the ball with its headline raising casting calls – Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor? – Marvel just keeps making rationale decisions – and lots of money. Hopefully, Bettany’s Vision will remain an Avengers fixture, affording the character and the performer a chance to bask in a bit more limelight than they’re both normally used to. Sadly, we have to wait until May of 2015 to see how successful they all are.