After a much longer wait than any of us Marvel fans could have anticipated, we finally know when WandaVision will hit Disney+ as the first of its MCU-based shows on the streamer. We've been treated to just enough information at this point to know that some truly "bonkers" storytelling and action will be on the way, with the show taking on the look of sitcoms from several different eras for some of the coming episodes. Now, star Paul Bettany has revealed the smart reason why they filmed parts of the series in front of a live audience.
While we still have around two months to wait until we can feast our eyes on WandaVision and the show still holds many secrets and surprises for fans, Vision himself, Paul Bettany, sat down recently with ReelBlend to discuss his upcoming projects and was, of course, asked about the new show. When prompted to talk about filming the series in front of a live studio audience, Bettany said that there was a very "practical reason" why they chose to do things that way, as opposed to simply pumping in a laugh track later, and noted:
And, there was a practical reason for it, which is you're trying to have exactly the same production values as you would on one of the big movies. So, being able to shoot one episode in two days and really curtail the amount of time you spend on those early episodes - and shoot them as they would have been shot in the 1950s, with three-camera set-ups and sets that are built on a stage with an audience - you get through it really quickly, and then you're able to bank that time to shoot the action.
Oooh. I hadn't really thought about that, but it makes a ton of sense for WandaVision to take advantage of the way traditional three-camera sitcoms film for the show. As Paul Bettany explained, we can fully expect WandaVision to give us all the MCU goodness we're expecting when it comes to delivering action and production values we'd typically see on the big screen. But, this show is going to be very different from its Disney+ / MCU siblings, in that some of the action is so focused on capturing the look and feel of a variety of old sitcoms.
Typically, television shows, especially sitcoms, stick to a pretty strict schedule and tape one episode a week, after spending several days in rehearsal for that week's taping. Using this type of shooting schedule and format will not only help give the series the needed feel of old shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show and Family Ties, but also allowed the production to get the sitcom scenes finished quickly so that they could then spend any additional time necessary on the (I assume massive) action set pieces.
And, in case you're wondering how Paul Bettany felt about doing all that filming in front a live studio audience beside his co-stars, it may not have brought up any "meta" feelings like it did with Elizabeth Olsen, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a cool experience. When asked about filming before an audience while being painted blue so that Vision's standard coloring would show up in black and white, and Bettany said:
OK, so it was the best fun ever. And, I kind of thought, 'God, I've totally wasted my life. I should have been doing sitcoms.' It was so much fun; like being in summer stock or something. Running around backstage, grabbing props off prop tables, and bumping into Kathryn Hahn as she's trying to come through the door at the right moment. We shot it twice, I actually wasn't blue; I was looking like myself. There were only a couple of shots [where I was blue].
The idea of having to perform in front of a live audience is terrifying for most people, so it's very good to hear that Paul Bettany enjoyed this somewhat unique process for his superhero show. Luckily, even though the wait will be much longer than expected, we only have until January 15 to see the results, when WandaVision debuts on Disney+.