MCU Behind-the-Scenes: Fans Are Calling Photo of Jeremy Renner in Scarlett Johansson Mask a ‘Nightmare’

For better or for worse, 2020 has been the year of the mask, with endless debates about how effective they are against the coronavirus. Now, with vaccines finally on the horizon, Marvel fans have found a strange new way that Marvel stunt performers use masks of a different sort. 

Most fans know about stunt doubles and the creative ways Marvel and other studios use to disguise them. There are such tools as digital face replacement, where CGI artists graft an actor’s face onto a stunt double’s body. Thanks to Jeremy Renner, It turns out there is analog grafting going on too. 

How are fans reacting to stunt masks?

Jeremy Renner
Jeremy Renner | Mike Smith/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

This all started several years ago during the shoot of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

As explained on Cinema Blend, Renner told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show that the stunt performers wear masks of the actors they are doubling. So, just for grins and giggles, Renner tried on the Johannson double’s mask, and many a jaw on the Internet fell open. 

The story was revived in a recent Reddit forum, and heads were still rolling six years later. One fan on Reddit exclaimed, “Well, this is a f—ing nightmare.” Another quipped, “Man, these deepfakes are getting out of control.”  

But there was a more serious question – why was there a Johansson mask in the first place? As one fan explained,  “Scarlett Johansson specifically needed this for Age of Ultron because she was pregnant, meaning she couldn’t do almost ANY stunts at all. This isn’t very common as a whole.”

What stories have MCU stunt performers told?

RELATED: Jeremy Renner’s Controversial Past Could Still Threaten His Future in the MCU

When Avengers: Endgame came out last year, serving as a capper for 11 years’ worth of stunts and other adventures, Vulture took time to talk to some of the Marvel stuntmen about their most memorable experiences. They didn’t talk to the doubles for Renner and Johansson, but the ones that did speak had plenty to say. 

Marvin Ross, the stunt double for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, said, “The second I got the part, I was in front of the mirror practicing every Spidey pose I could. When you put that suit on, you really embody the character — your back has that hunch that Spidey has, you do his hand motions, and you have jerky head movements for your Spidey senses … It’s crazy to start feeling like you’re actually a superhero.”

Monique Ganderton, stunt coordinator and double for Karen Gillan’s Nebula spoke of the joys of mounds of prosthetics, saying:

“At least Nebula wears clothes, so, you know, that portion of your body doesn’t need to be made up. Then you work a 15-hour day, and it’s an hour and a half to get your makeup off. It’s always a challenge working in prosthetics — you’re fighting and sweating in it, it’s constantly needing to be touched up. But when you look in the mirror, you’re like, Okay, this is pretty cool.'”

The MCU may need more masks with ‘Hawkeye’ casting

Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye has been in the news again this week, but it’s for less bizarre reasons than him wearing a mask of Natasha. His much-discussed Disney+ series is finally getting under way, with significant casting news this week, per Variety

Not only does  Hailee Steinfeld appear to be playing Kate Bishop, as has been rumored for months, but Florence Pugh will reportedly appear as her Black Widow character Yelena, and this appears to confirm the speculation that she will be the “new”  Black Widow. Variety also reports that in addition, Vera Farmiga, Fra Fee, Tony Dalton, Alaqua Cox, and Zahn McClarnon will join the cast.

Now the obvious question is, when will fans get to see Renner in a Florence Pugh mask?