Marvel fans may not know it, but they have Victoria Alonso in large part to thank for their beloved films. Victoria is the Executive Vice President of Production for Marvel Studios and has worked on 21 of the 22 MCU films – including the newest highly anticipated release, Avengers: Endgame.
A native of Buenos Aires, Alonso moved to the U.S. on her own at the age of 19. She worked her way up through the industry, as a PA and as a video FX producer on films like Shrek, Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven and Marvel’s Iron Man. She won the Visual Effects Society (VES) Award for outstanding supporting visual effects/motion picture for Kingdom of Heaven, with two shared nominations for Iron Man.
Avengers: Endgame picks right up from the last MCU film, Avengers: Infinity War. The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos (Josh Brolin) that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand in Marvel Studios’ grand conclusion to its 22-film “universe.”
Our Bonnie Laufer sat down with Victoria Alonso to discuss the worldwide phenomenon of the Marvel Universe.
ORIGINAL-CIN: To be involved with 21 of the 22 Marvel films is quite extraordinary. What has it been like to have been a part of this Universe for so many years?
VICTORIA ALONSO: “I don’t know that i really know because I can’t remember not living in this universe. It’s been a journey of understanding what global love and devotion really means more than anything else.
“I think that when you make movies, you hope people will see them. Then when people see them a lot you go, ‘Wow, what a big responsibility.’ But when they see it so much, everywhere, multiple times, at all times, it’s a whole different level of responsibility. Every day we just give it all we’ve got.”
OC: I can’t even imagine what was resting, not only on your shoulders but those of everyone involved at Marvel, to deliver Avengers: Endgame. Everyone brought their “A” game! ( no pun intended). Was there anyone who just delivered way beyond your expectations in this film?
ALONSO: “ Every single actor was so committed to this movie. But I have to tell you that it was really difficult for them. They didn’t know the script, they were not given any hints or pre-reading of the material. So they don't know what to expect.
“They knew what their roles and parts were, but they were not aware of what was happening on the other side to somebody else in the film. So the fact they you get all of those phenomenal performances when they had limited information was beyond me.”
OC: Plus, they hadn’t seen the finished film until this week at the L.A. premiere!
ALONSO: “Exactly, none of them had seen the movie, so the premiere was a huge night.”
OC: Lots of Kleenex, I’m sure, for so many reasons.
ALONSO: “Yes, there’s that. But, you know, you give them this gift and you’re like, ‘OK, it’s yours now. Tell… me… what… YOU think.” (Laughs)
OC: You have to keep these movies on budget, make some big decisions, keep everyone happy. There’s a lot going on. What’s your secret to making everything work?
ALONSO: “You know, we do it the way you chew an elephant. One bite at a time!
“Every day there is something. You take that bite, you chew it and then you go on. If you look at the sheer size of all of it, it becomes undoable. But if you look at just the task at hand, that hour, that day, that week, it’s completely doable.
“It’s doable, because we are surrounded by some of the best people in the business. It’s doable because as a studio we have harmony, and I have the best two partners in the universe. I can’t thank (Marvel President) Kevin Feige and (co-president) Louis D'Esposito enough for everything that they do, they are the best partners anyone would ever want to make movies with.
“If anyone would have told me years ago that we were going to create cinematic history, I would have laughed really loud. And to be honest, we still laugh. It’s all so unbelievable.”
OC: Out of all the Marvel films that you have worked on there have to be a few stand-outs or extra special. I would think with movies like Blank Panther and Captain Marvel you took a chance because they were so groundbreaking, and they ended up being hugely accepted.
ALONSO: “We did, we took an intended chance. But in our hearts we knew there was an audience for these stories. We just had to defy a little bit of the chatter of people saying, “No, it’s not going to work. No it won’t make money. No one cares.’
“We kept saying, ‘Well if this is our last film at least we go out trying.’
“We go out trying to do something different and trying to make a difference and telling a good story. We were determined to do something that hadn’t been done in our Universe . I always say that those two movies are my two pillars, movies that I leave as a legacy to my daughter. I am incredibly proud of the journey of these 22 films. But those two are for me what MY Marvel Universe stands on.”
OC: Speaking of your daughter, she is 8 now. But you have such a high-powered job with so much responsibility, how do you balance work and motherhood? AND does your daughter think she has the coolest mom in our Universe?
ALONSO: “The balance is hard, I am not going to lie to you. But I don’t think it’s harder for me than any other parent. Every working parent makes hard choices every day, whether you take her to school, or go to that performance or soccer game or do I go out of town?
“Last night I literally took the red eye from Los Angeles to be here in Toronto this morning, so that I could pick her up from school. I could have not but it’s a choice.
“It’s a hard thing, but i have to say that she does think that I am a ‘changemaker.’ She told me that I am making change in the world. So for me, that means ‘i’m in.’ I ’m not in the doghouse, I’m doing good.