Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Paul Bettany Calls Himself Shallow After Filming WandaVision

The joy of having an entire studio audience laugh at his jokes has led Paul Bettany to the conclusion that he's a tiny bit shallow, and he's totally fine with that.

During an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Bettany shared what it was like for him to film the first episodes of WandaVision in front of a live studio audience. The first of Disney+'s Marvel series focuses on Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Bettany) living in a sitcom reality, and as a result, Marvel was committed to making the series feel like an actual TV comedy. That meant Bettany and Olsen, neither of whom specialize in comedic acting, had to commit to making what was essentially an episode of a black and white 1950s sitcom in front of an audience.

While the idea was daunting at first, Bettany told Fallon that he soon learned to love having a captive audience to laugh at his comedy prowess. "I was incredibly nervous about the whole thing. I haven't been in front of a live studio audience for 20 years or something like that," he said. "It just pointed out really great things about my character, like, how shallow I am, because you have this trapped studio audience. They felt obliged to laugh and I'm really shallow."

In fact, the feeling was so good that he even briefly considered a career change. "I thought, I have found my wheelhouse. I've ruined my life. I've wasted my life, I should have been in sitcoms the whole time," he joked with Fallon.

WandaVision's sitcom episodes did more than just boost Paul Bettany's ego

By the end of WandaVision, Marvel fans will be treated to the big budget spectacle they've come to expect from the studio's movies, but the beginning of the series fully commits to its sitcom premise. For the actors that meant trying their hands at being comedy stars. But there was a practical reason for going all in on the sitcom concept, too.

During an interview with the ReelBlend Podcast, Bettany shared that by filming the early episodes as if they really were part of a classic sitcom, the production was able to save the bulk of the show's filming time for the action sequences. "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 on the podcast, via ComicBook.com. "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."

While the practical benefits of the show's sitcom-style production methods will surely lead to good things in the show's back half, nothing beats knowing that the joy of getting a laugh almost led Bettany to contemplate a career change.