James Spader to Play Ultron in ‘Avengers’ Sequel

James Spader to Play Ultron in 'Avengers' Sequel

"Boston Legal" actor will play the chief villain in Joss Whedon's follow-up to his 2012 global smash

"Boston Legal" star James Spader will square off against Earth's Mightiest Heroes as the malevolent robot Ultron in Marvel's “Avengers: Age of Ultron."

For non-fanboys, Ultron is a powerful artificial intelligence who, taking the form of a shiny humanoid robot, brings the super-team to its knees. To what extent Spader will actually play Ultron — as opposed to just doing voiceover — will depend on how much license Joss Whedon takes with the Ultron story, which the director has already indicated will stray from the recent comicbook run of the same title (below, left).

(In the Marvel universe, Ultron is created by Ant-Man alter-ego Hank Pym, but Whedon has indicated that the mild-mannered scientist will play no role in Ultron's origin for the films.)

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The high IQ part should be no problem for Spader, who revels in roles that allow him to be quick-witted with a gift for the gab, such as that of white-shoe lawyer Alan Shore on "Boston Legal." He won three Emmys for playing that particular part and he has a silky voice that drips with menace if needed.

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Other credits include a tortured bohemian in "Sex, Lies and Videotape," a nefarious preppy in "Pretty in Pink," a schlubby scientist in "Stargate" and a back-stabbing corporate striver in "Wolf."

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The Avengers’ return to the big screen will once again be overseen by Joss Whedon and will star Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth. The film hits theaters on May 1, 2015.

"Marvel's The Avengers" was the third-largest grossing movie of all time, racking up $1.5 billion worldwide when it debuted in 2012. The sequel will be the highest profile role of Spader's career, which boasts a distinguished resume of mostly indie films.

Spader is represented by ICM Partners and his lawyer Melanie Cook at Ziffren Brittenham.