‘WandaVision’ Star Paul Bettany Reveals He Wore a Fake Butt in the Marvel Series
How the Disney+ series ‘WandaVision’ created the illusion of a perfect 1950s husband with Spanx, blue face paint, and a fake butt.
In the first ’50s-set episode of WandaVision, Vision stutters and fumbles and tries to distract his boss while Wanda prepares a magic-enhanced dinner, floats around in a feathered nightgown, and fields an unexpected visit from a nosy neighbor. The Dick Van Dyke Show-inspired setup turns Vision into the butt of the joke—but he had special reinforcements for the gig. Turns out Paul Bettany wore a fake butt in the episode to help fill out his high-waisted trousers.
The revelation comes courtesy of Disney+’s “original special” Assembled: The Making of WandaVision. The hour-long look behind the scenes of Marvel’s most unconventional project yet offers lots of colorful interviews with the stars, creator, director, production and visual effects designers, and more of the minds behind the show. Notably, costume designer Mayes C. Rubeo never turns up. But the stars she dressed—including Bettany, Kathryn Hahn, Debra Jo Rupp, and leading lady Elizabeth Olsen—testify to her “genius” in creating period-accurate costumes for each episode.
Olsen, bless her, segues midway through one segment while in costume on set filming the series’ first episode by turning to Bettany and asking, “Do you want to talk about your butt?”
“It makes me stand properly and it makes me kind of want to do this,” Bettany says, doing a little wiggle. He gives it a few good spanks, producing dull thuds—definitely fake. In addition to supplementing the curve of his derriere, Bettany wore Spanx around his midsection and lifts in his heels for the complete tall-and-slim ’50s husband look. Plus, blue face paint in place of Vision’s usual deep magenta to account for what he’d look like in black and white.
It’s as far as bombshell revelations from the making-of special go. But the interviews with the series’ hyper-enthusiastic stars are easily charming enough to justify the hour. Rupp, as always, is a treasure every second she’s onscreen. “It is my favorite period for clothes because it shows off the waist if you have a waist,” the sitcom veteran says of her own ’50s costume. “I have a waist—I have no limbs, I’m very short. But I have a waist.” She also makes a point of taking credit for picking out her own hat. (It is a very good hat.)
Olsen seems almost deliriously overjoyed to not only finally deepen her character, but to also play her in lighter, not-overbearingly-tragic notes for the first time. (“I’ve never been allowed to be funny… I’m very funny!”) Watching human ray of light Teyonah Parris recall the story of her audition is another highlight. She didn’t know what role she was going for, nor what the weird, heightened tone of the lines she was asked to read could mean. (They were from the series’ ’70s-set episode, while her character is still under Wanda’s spell.) When she learned she’d nabbed the role of Monica Rambeau, one of Marvel Comics’ most famous Black female superheroes, “I practically tried to jump off a set of stairs ’cause I thought I could fly, I was so excited,” she says.
The special never touches on the impact of the pandemic on production—which we know was significant—and, just FYI, the words “Fox” and “multiverse” are never uttered during Evan Peters’ interview about playing Fake Pietro. (Also, no Emma Caulfield. Why?! Dottie deserves!) It doesn’t delve deep into the show’s writing process and only skims the surface of its dazzling production design, too.
But talk of a synthezoid’s synthetic butt aside, the special is a fun time. It’s streaming on Disney+ today.