by Brett White
So, that came out of nowhere, right? With Elizabeth Olsen still in talks to play Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson still nothing more than a rumor for Quicksilver, all of our attention was focused on who would be playing the good guys in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Now, out of nowhere, with no warning and not even a few courtesy rumors, we know who Ultron is.
He’s James Spader. And this is good news.
There isn’t much news beyond just the actor’s name, meaning we don’t yet know if he will be physically portraying the role as some sort of human-looking menace, or if he’ll just be lending his voice to a fully CG-character. Either way, though, the casting makes a lot of sense.
If you only remember James Spader from his previous flirtation with the geek crowd in 1994’s “Stargate,” then you might be scratching your head at this casting. But if you’ve been glued to your television set for the past few years and have seen the actor turn in performances on shows like “The Office” and “Boston Legal,” then you’re probably seeing all of Joss Whedon’s plans coming together inside your head.
Spader has proven over the past decade to be one of the best actors around at playing absolutely creepy, disconnected, borderline/full-on sociopaths in pretty much every appearance he’s had on the small screen following his creeptastic turn in the 2002 film “Secretary.” His character Alan Shore on the series “Boston Legal” was incredibly charismatic while being incredibly emotionally restrained; if someone had outed Shore as a relentless artificial intelligence programmed only for lawyering, it wouldn’t have been a surprise.
The real place to look for hints of Ultron has to be his one-season turn as Robert California on NBC’s “The Office”—and yes, I know that’s an incredibly weird sentence to write. But Spader’s short-lived character, who sorta/kinda replaced Steve Carell’s Michael Scott as the sitcom’s head honcho, contained “Secretary”-level sexual creepiness with shades of his “Boston Legal” character’s eccentricities, all mixed together to create a master schemer with unparalleled intimidation abilities. The guy was as close to a Lex Luthor-type supervillain that any NBC sitcom has ever seen.
Did this come out of nowhere? Absolutely. Was this at all expected? A world of no. Will this be awesome? Yeah, oh yeah I think it will be. If anyone can fill Tom Hiddleston’s shoes, it’s Spader.
What do you think of James Spader’s casting as Ultron? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter!