Hilarious things that happened on Marvel movie sets

Marvel movies have been the biggest blockbuster movies of this generation ever since Iron Man reinvigorated the genre with heartwarming fun that could be enjoyed by everyone. These movies are nearly as big as the Marvel Universe itself and have had many of Hollywood's biggest actors and directors contribute to bringing these beloved comic book characters to life on the big screen. While the final products are always an incredible spectacle, there's plenty going on behind the scenes that you'd never know about from the film itself.

Play-Doh galaxy

Filming a movie can be a long, grueling affair; especially on huge works like any Marvel movie. It can be hard enough to keep crews of hundreds of people organized, let alone motivated. Director James Gunn had a few methods for keeping the Guardians of the Galaxy crew at its best. In order to keep the energy up, he would play his own compilation of songs known as "Awesome Mix Vol. Zero," along with the tunes featured in the movie itself when shooting their respective scenes.

Far stranger was Gunn's method to keep morale up on set. If he found that someone had done an especially amazing job (an actor, stuntman, production assistant, or any of the more than 200 crew members), he would bequeath them a little container of Play-Doh.

Gunn claims to have been very selective with the recipients, only giving out about 40 containers to those lucky few over the course of the 85-day shoot schedule. Gunn's love of Play-Doh comes from its smell: "Opening a new container and smelling it puts me in a creative, child-like place," he wrote on Instagram. Now just imagine how much fun Thanos of Titan or Drax the Destroyer could have with Play-Doh.

Iron Man Audi flip

Marvel movies aren't all the CGI fests people claim they are. There are plenty of stunts and practical effects thrown into the mix to give movies about super soldiers, super suits, and big green men as much realism as possible. One of these moments was supposed to come in the final battle of Iron Man, where Tony Stark takes on his plus-sized counterpart, Iron Monger.

Director Jon Favreau said the final battle was originally going to include a sequence where Iron Man crashes an Audi R8 into Iron Monger's legs. The car would flip over, and as it tumbled, Iron Man would rip through the car's roof and jump out of it. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, those blasted German engineers foiled the epic scene. The FX crew did everything possible to flip the car, but the Audi R8 wouldn't flip.

And when it was time to rip the roof apart, the same thing happened. The roof was so well-built, it was snapping the cables of the machines doing the ripping. In this clip above, everyone is gushing over the car, which surely had nothing to do with Audi being a major promotional partner for the movie.

He is Groot

It's not uncommon for actors to go to great lengths to get into character. Method actors even let their roles completely take over their identity, on camera and off. However, it is a little strange to do it when you're not even being filmed, and when it involves a pair of stilts.

Vin Diesel was so committed to his role as the gigantic humanoid tree that he strapped on a pair of stilts so he could get all the way up into the headspace of his character while recording his lines. Well … line.

If you thought saying that one line over and over again would get repetitive, don't worry: the Fast and Furious star had plenty of direction to make each "I am Groot" one of a kind. In an interview on the red carpet of the Guardians of the Galaxy, world premiere Vin Diesel explained that just because Groot has a wooden larynx doesn't mean there's no nuance to what he's saying.

In fact, when he came into the recording room, "there was a 50-page document and on the left-hand side it said 'I am Groot' and on the right-hand side it would have a paragraph or a sentence explaining what he was really meaning." It would have been nice to get a peek at that version.

Avengers Assemble

It's easy to imagine all the cast members of these big movies just hanging around together on set throughout the filming, but the lives of stars are (unsurprisingly) so busy that they're only brought in for the minimum amount of time they're needed to record their scenes. However, there was one night where the entire cast of The Avengers was in town, so team leader Chris Evans did the only responsible thing: he sent out a mass text telling them to "Assemble." They took Albuquerque by storm that night, although Chris Hemsworth said they suffered for their late-night dance fest during the next day of shooting.

Skinny Steve

Captain America: The First Avenger told the story of brave little soldier Steve Rogers growing into a brave supersoldier set on defending those who couldn't defend themselves, but it was no easy feat to depict this physical transformation. Marvel had to call in a company specifically for the task, and English stage actor Leander Deeny filled in as Chris Evans' body double for these scenes.

To accomplish this movie magic, the crew filmed each scene with "Skinny Steve" at least four times. In the first take, Evans would act alongside the rest of the cast as normal. In the second take, Deeny, having watched the first take, would mimic Evans' movements. The third take was Evans doing the scene in front of a green screen, and the final take would happen without Evans or Deeny for a "clean plate" so the crew could replace the background behind the shrunken Evans.

Things got even more difficult when the other characters were factored in. There were many different techniques to get everyone properly aligned with Skinny Steve. Evans might bend his knees when he walked or sit in lowered seats. Evans would wear oversized shirts and hats, and he had a huge army helmet so it would look the same size as the other helmets after his head was shrunk down. For close-ups, Evans would look at other actors' foreheads while they looked at his chin. It may have been complex, but the results speak for themselves.

Called out

Captain America: Civil War saw a divide form between Captain America, Iron Man, and the Winter Soldier. Metal fists were thrown between Iron Man and the Winter Soldier onscreen, but apparently there was some offscreen smack talk going as well.

The day before filming a fight scene with Robert Downey Jr., Sebastian Stan (who plays Bucky Barnes) sent RDJ the crazy video above. It shows Bucky doing power bicep curls in front of an Iron Man helmet. Stan included a message: "Looking forward to our scene tomorrow, Robert." The animosity was likely all in character, as Sebastian shared the memory in a loving Instagram post for Downey's birthday.

​Iron Nurse

You always hear about the tremendous, life-consuming workout regimens actors do when taking on superhero roles. Getting a superbod isn't easy, but even after the washboard abs are in place, the physicality of being a superhero isn't over. Actors can undergo some pretty intense stunts while filming, maybe none more superhuman than the helicopter scene in Civil War.

Chris Evans had to be the glue holding a freaking helicopter to the ground. Robert Downey Jr. said that when he came to set and saw what Evans was doing, he was sure Evans was going to be injured. "They're saying, 'Flex and hold it!' It wasn't the other 3,000 stunts, it was that." And, boy, was he right: Evans said it really messed his arm up.

You're probably thinking, "What's so funny about injuries?" You're right, you smart reader. Injuries aren't funny. What is funny is that Downey apparently has all kinds of gadgets in his trailer, perhaps taking after Tony Stark a little. He attached what he described as "electric guns" to Evans' arm to massage the injury. Just another day on set playing tug-of-war with a helicopter.

​Stolen Star-Lord suit

You might think that once you land a leading role in a Marvel movie, you wouldn't need to resort to thievery anymore. But Chris Pratt needed a very specific item, and he didn't want to settle for a replica or a backup. In a bizarre turn of events, he stole his Star-Lord costume from the set of Guardians of the Galaxy, so he could go be a hero in real life. Yes, Pratt stole his costume from the set just so he could take it to visit sick children in the hospital.

He explained his rationale in an interview with Panzer TV: "If it was a big enough movie to where it would mean something to a kid who's sick in the hospital for Peter Quill or Star-Lord to come visit them, I'll do that. I think that's awesome, man. That would give me real meaning for this movie, you know?"

He got his chance to put his trenchcoat to use after losing a Super Bowl bet against Chris Evans. The loser would don his costume and visit a children's hospital in the winning team's city. After the Patriots won, Star-Lord made a trip to Christopher's Haven, "a home for kids and their families battling cancer in Boston." Of course, Captain America still made an appearance at a children's hospital in Seattle because he's Captain America! It doesn't just take a lost bet to get Star-Lord into action: he's visited a hospital in Los Angeles for a special screening of Guardians of the Galaxy with his young fans.