word got out this week – Marvel is planning an Avengers movie, and Zak Penn, one half of the writing team on X-Men: The Last Stand and the writer of the upcoming Incredible Hulk, will be doing the screenwriting chores. I contacted Zak to ask him for some more info about what his vision of The Avengers would be. First I wanted to know where he would be getting his inspiration: the normal Marvel Universe Avengers or The Ultimates, Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s widescreen re-envisioning of the team?

“No question the thing that it inspired me was the Ultimates run,” Zak told me. “I thought it was brilliant, cinematic, and made me realize that a super hero team didn’t have to be goofy. There has been a lot of discussion about whether it will be live action or a next-gen big budget CGI thing, but we’ve tabled it for awhile while I write the Hulk. I imagine we will make all these decisions next year.”

One of the things that has fans excited about The Avengers movie is the possibility of scale. While there’s a long time between now and real work getting done on this project, Zak does have his eye on making this a real Marvel U movie – a real Marvel Film U movie, that is. “One thing I can tell you is that when I was a kid, I loved Marvel Team Up, Marvel Two in One, anything where you got a sense of the whole Marvel universe. The more we can draw from the other Marvel movies the better.”

It’ll be interesting to see where that goes – will whoever gets hired to play Iron Man also be contracted for The Avengers? Or at least for his voice, if the film does go CGI? And with Marvel having so many of its characters home under one roof again, we could be seeing a massive showing of Marvel characters.

And we may not have to wait for The Avengers movie for that. “By the way, I’m hoping you’ll see some other Marvel characters in the Hulk,” Zak teased.

Look for more from Zak Penn in the coming weeks as Dave Davis and I recount our massive and epic Las Vegas adventure on the set of his improv poker movie, The Grand. And it won’t just be Zak – we’ll have on set interviews from Werner Herzog, David Cross, Avi Arad and more.