Many Marvel Cinematic Universe fans would consider Robert Downey Jr. the defining actor of the franchise, though Paul Bettany also has a deep history with the series, despite not physically appearing in a film until 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron. In fact, it was Bettany's dulcet tones and ambiguous dialect that got him the role of JARVIS, Tony Stark's Iron Man operating system, which was exactly the voice director Jon Favreau was seeking.
"I got a phone call from Jon Favreau saying, 'I need the voice of a personality-less robot and I thought of you immediately,'" Bettany joked to GQ. "I thought that was the funniest thing I ever heard, so I said, 'Yes.'"
Bettany voiced the operating system in the three Iron Man films, Marvel's The Avengers, and Age of Ultron, with the second Avengers film allowing his character to evolve into a new form. In conjunction with the Mind Stone, JARVIS was injected into a synthetic body, giving birth to Vision. The process of embodying this new hero went similarly to how he earned his initial role in the MCU.
"I answered my phone, I didn't know the number, and I said, 'Hello,' and it was [Age of Ultron director] Joss Whedon," Bettany recalled. "And Joss Whedon said, 'Do you want to play the Vision?' And I went, 'Yes.'"
The actor recently revealed that he earned another coveted role thanks to an interaction over the phone, though to snag the role of Dryden Vos in Solo: A Star Wars Story, Bettany had to do the asking.
"It's humiliating. It was super humiliating. [Solo director] Ron Howard, I think it can be empirically proven that he's the loveliest, sweetest man in the world," Bettany shared with The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon of how he got the role. "He will lie and say that he went, 'Paul's the only guy for the job.' And the truth is that I texted him kind of begging."
The actor then shared a screenshot of the conversation, which went as follows:
Bettany: Have you ever spent long winter evenings wondering why you're not in the Star Wars franchise? I have.
Howard: LOL I'll get back to you.
Given the dire fates of his characters in both the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, the future is uncertain for Bettany in either role.
Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story are in theaters now.
Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6th, Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel on July 5, 2019 and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.
Are you hoping to see more Bettany in either franchise? Let us know in the comments below!
[H/T YouTube, GQ]