Casting reached its final stages the following year. In February 2011, Cobie Smulders acquired the role of Maria Hill,  after participating in screen tests conducted by Marvel for the role of a key . member, who Samuel L. Jackson described as Nick Fury's sidekick.  Over the successive months, the film's cast expanded to include Stellan Skarsgård ,  Paul Bettany,  and Gwyneth Paltrow.  Paltrow was cast at Downey's insistence; prior to this, Whedon had not intended the film to include supporting characters from the heroes' individual films, commenting, "You need to separate the characters from their support systems in order to create the isolation you need for a team." 
David Albert is a professor of philosophy at Columbia and the author of “Quantum Mechanics and Experience.”
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