Chris Evans to his costars: 'I have a lot of my family and friends here tonight, but I have a lot of my family and friends up here now, too'
At the end of the premiere of Avengers: Endgame, more than two dozen superhero actors gathered to close the curtain on a decade of moviemaking.
There were a lot of smiles, but also watering eyes, hugs, and powerful, sometimes halting, words for the audience.
Many of the actors were seeing the Marvel Studios finale for the first time, with parts of the plot completely unknown to them. They seemed just as overwhelmed and mindblown as the audience gathered at the Los Angeles Convention Center for the first screening.
“These films cost a lot of lifeblood,” said Joe Russo, who co-directed the film with his brother Anthony. “It’s not just us up here. There are a lot of people in this room that we owe a great deal of thanks to, who were incredible collaborators of ours over the past seven years as my brother and I made four films, including this one.”
“The sheer number of people who’ve contributed to what this movie is is almost impossible to innumerate or understand,” Anthony Russo added, shouting out some of the original comic book creators, now long gone. “It goes back all the way to Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Jim Starlin [the creator of Thanos], and all the way up through the love and support that our families have given us.”
Then the brothers coaxed the six original stars of The Avengers to address the crowd, starting with Hulk/Bruce Banner star Mark Ruffalo.
“Aww, man. Wow, it’s been an amazing ride. So moving,” Ruffalo said. “I love all of you guys so much. I’m so proud to be part of all this with you. It’s been the trip of a lifetime.” To the brothers, he added, “What you guys did up there tonight was just beautiful.”
Then Ruffalo looked up and down the line of costars. “You guys are my brother and sister Avengers. I love you so much,” he said. “And I can’t wait to make the next movie with you.” That line got a laugh from the crowd.
Captain America actor Chris Evans aimed for the heart. “It’s been such a huge chunk of my life, which means more to me than I can put into words,” he told the crowd. “I have a lot of my family and friends here tonight, but I have a lot of my family and friends up here now, too. It really becomes a bond that transcends what you do for a living or just a profession.”
Taking a breath, he added, “I don’t know about you, but I cried like six times.”
Iron Man star Robert Downey Jr. kept it short and sweet. “You’ve got a lot of parties and after-parties to get to, so I’m just gonna say, I love you times 3,000!”
Scarlett Johansson struggled to find the right words to characterize her years as Black Widow. “I don’t know what to say, I’m extremely overwhelmed,” she said when the mic was passed to her. “Thank you so much for this past decade of time. It’s been absolutely life-changing. It’s been such a pleasure to come to work every day, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of a cast of open minded people. It’s been an incredible journey, impossible to put into words.”
Hawkeye/Ronin actor Jeremy Renner directed his comments to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who is considered the mastermind of the interlocked series of movies, now numbering 22. “Thank you, man. I ‘m here because of you,” Renner told him. “And I have lifelong friends, because of you. I met Joe and Anthony Russo because of you. God, I met a lot of people I love because of you. … I guess I love you, too, man!”
Renner said he was “thankful and honored because it’s changed my life in so many ways.” Looking at his castmates, he added, “And you guys know how much I love you.”
When it came time for Chris Hemsworth to talk, he said, “All the good stuff’s been said! I love going last, it’s wonderful. I love this whole cast, every single one of you. This has changed all of our lives.”
Then Thor started a new feud with Captain America. “But I cried more than six times, Chris.”
In the end, Joe Russo directed more attention to Feige, who ducked behind the director as he spoke.
“None of us are here in this room tonight without one man, and his vision,” Joe Russo said as the crowd rose for a standing ovation.
Feige moved things along to the night’s only post-credit scene: “Now there’s a party somewhere, let’s go find it.”