Interview with Titus Welliver on Transformers 4, Agents of SHIELD, and Ben Affleck as Batman

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Titus Welliver may not be a household name, but you have seen him all around on film and TV. He was recently seen fighting Mark Wahlberg in Transformers: Age of Extinction and as Agent Felix Blake in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Also, if you attend the Marvel’s Avenger’s S.T.A.T.I.O.N. exhibit at Discovery Times Square in New York City, you’ll be greeted by him as he welcomes new recruits. The exhibit is an immersive and interactive experience where you will get to feel like you’re a part of S.H.I.E.L.D. and includes artifacts like Captain America’s Birth Pod, the Tesseract Portal Device, Loki’s Scepter and more.

We get to chat with Welliver about his role in both the film and TV show and on Ben Affleck as Batman.

Nerd Reactor: Tell us about your role in Transformers 4.

Titus Welliver: I play a character named James Savoy. He’s a former Seal who is the commander of a paramilitary force called Cemetery Wind that’s been tasked with the eradication of Autobots and Decepticons. They’ve been outlawed since the Battle of Chicago because of the enormous loss of human life. Kelsey Grammer delegates to me and I’m his instrument of destruction. He’s an intense character and he was a lot of fun to play. I’ve never done anything quite that physical.

Nerd Reactor: Yeah, there’s a sequence where your character is chasing Mark’s character in China.

Titus Welliver: The foot chase in Hong Kong is an exciting thing. We were parkouring on the side of buildings on air conditioning units. That was a big first for me. I have no love of heights. They had me in a safety harness to jump down, and ultimately Wahlberg and I had to run across a real building.

Nerd Reactor: How is it acting opposite of CG characters?

Titus Welliver: Once again, that was kind of a first for me. My kids were sort of my technical advisors because they have a kind of encyclopedic knowledge of the films. I sat down and watched the films with them and they took me through it all. I had already seen the films with them before, but this time it was to prepare me for the film so that I had a sense of who and what I’m talking to and what the history of those characters were.

You’re reacting to a huge piece of PVC pole that has an image of a Decepticon’s head on the top. The effects guys are there to guide you and say, “Alright, the hand is coming down, and this is the size of the hand.” You had a sense of what you were doing. When I saw the film I was just blown away because it’s seamless. The effects in the film were just staggering.

Nerd Reactor: You’re a part of the Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.

Titus Welliver: Yeah, it’s amazing. I feel so honored to have been asked to do that, because I’m a long, long time Marvel fan. I still have my collection, which is pretty vast starting from when I was a little kid collecting comics in the ’60s all the way through until the mid-to-late ’70s. It kind of tapered off for a while. I’m a devout Marvel fan, and I still have all my original issues of Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. When I was a little kid, I was Nick Fury for Halloween several times. To be playing an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. for me, it’s a dream come true.

Nerd Reactor: You first appeared as an agent in the Marvel One Shot Item 47.

Titus Welliver: He was originally an ambitious Walter Mitty guy. You can just sort of tell that all he wanted to do was be in the field and not be sitting in this little room monitoring computer screens. When they finally got him out in the field, I got to do that little fight with Deathlok. I was so, so thrilled.

Nerd Reactor: For Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., did you fight for the role, or did it just fall into your lap?

Titus Welliver: It came into my lap, and I jumped at the opportunity. My agent said, “Our recollection is that you’re really into superheroes and Marvel Comics, and this thing has come up.” They didn’t even finish the sentence and I said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. When and where?”

Nerd Reactor: Do you see yourself focusing on more of these sci-fi genres after Transformers and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Titus Welliver: I’m a huge sci-fi geek. I mean, a lot of my favorite films include Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Blade Runner, John Carpenter’s The Thing, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Planet of the Apes films. These films are some of my favorite films and I watch them over and over again, so it’s not a huge leap for me to do that. I got the opportunity to do a few episodes of Star Trek: Voyager back in the day.

There’s a television series that I’m doing for Amazon Prime called Bosch that is very anchored in reality. I play Harry Bosch, who’s a robbery homicide detective in the LAPD. They’re based on the Michael Connelly novels and it’s very different. What I particularly like about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the entire Marvel franchise is that they have really, really good actors and the scripts are well written. They’re anchored firmly enough in reality so that you can really accept it and enjoy that universe. I think Agents of SHIELD, in the same way that made X-Files successful, is that you had very grounded, realistic characters in extraordinary circumstances. It just makes it far more appealing and interesting.

Nerd Reactor: Since you have been in all of Ben Affleck’s films, I have to ask you, what do you think of Ben Affleck portraying Batman in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film?

Titus Welliver: When he was cast in that role, I went, “Well, that’s a no-brainer.” I mean, first of all, he has the physicality. If you recall that moment in The Town where he’s doing pull-ups and push-ups, he’s built like a superhero. He’s very, very tall. He’s extremely handsome and he can act his ass off. To me he has the looks and the charisma to pull off the Bruce Wayne part of that character. I think he’s going to be an amazing Batman. I really like Christian Bale and Michael Keaton, but I think Ben is a perfect match for that character, and he’s going to bring so much to it. I love the Man of Steel and thought it was so good. I really like how they reinvigorated that character, world and story.

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John 'Spartan' Nguyen
John 'Spartan' Nguyen 10069 posts

Assassin, scoundrel, head honcho.