WandaVision's Paul Bettany Reveals Practical Reason for Filming in Front of a Live Studio Audience

Avengers star Paul Bettany explains why WandaVision filmed in front of a live studio audience for the Marvel Studios series Bettany calls the "best fun ever." In the upcoming Disney+ series taking place in between the events of Avengers: Endgame and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, super-powered couple Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and android Vision (Bettany) live their ideal suburban lives — styled after such classic sitcoms as The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Brady Bunch, and Full House — but begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems as their picturesque life unravels in front of a multi-camera setup.

"It was the best fun ever. I kind of thought, 'God, I've totally wasted my life. I should have been doing sitcoms all this time,'" Bettany told the ReelBlend Podcast. "It was so much fun. It was like being in summer stock [theater] or something, just running around backstage grabbing props or prob tables, and bumping into Kathryn Hahn as she's coming into the door at the right moment."

The sitcom-styled setup, which they filmed twice, was at first terrifying for Olsen and Bettany before they drew their first laughs from the audience bound by strict NDAs.

"It was so much fun, and there was a practical reason for it, which is you're trying to have exactly the same production values as you would in one of the movies," Bettany said. "So being able to shoot one episode in two days and really curtail the amount of time you're spending on those early episodes — and shooting them as they would have been shot in the 1950s, with three-camera setups and through 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."

The big-screen action of the small-screen WandaVision gives the first Marvel Studios series the feel of an "enormous movie," says showrunner Jac Schaeffer, a story writer behind the upcoming feature film Black Widow.

"I mean, first of all, with Marvel doing Disney+, it's not at all the small screen, you know? It's still the big screen, but streaming," Schaeffer told Variety during last year's D23 Expo. "And so there's still the same sense of grandeur and the same scope and the same opportunities and the same resources, so it just really feels like an enormous movie. We say it's like a run of a comic, which is just really exciting to do."

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Also starring Thor's Kat Dennings, Ant-Man and the Wasp's Randall Park, and MCU newcomer Teyonah Parris as the grown-up Monica Rambeau from Captain Marvel, the Kevin Feige-produced WandaVision premieres on Disney+ on January 15, 2021.

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