All week I’ve been bringing you exclusive Captain America: Civil War Interviews with the cast. Now, it’s time to for the two minds who brought this thing to life on the big screen! Joe and Anthony Russo directed Winter Soldier, Civil War, and are now working on Infinity War. With a schedule packed with superheros, the Russo Brothers took the time to let us pick their brains about the best Marvel movie yet!
(Thanks to Disney/Marvel/ABC for this all expenses paid opportunity!)
A lot of us bloggers at the #CaptainAmericaEvent Interviews were sporting #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan shirts. That prompted the Russo Brothers to have us cheer for our side to see who was the loudest, and cheer we did. It’s fun to see how pumped people are getting to pick side for the Civil War, and that was a bit of the plan.
The intent with the film was to hopefully, when you’re done watching the movie, you leave the theater and you argue with your family and friends about it. We didn’t want to make a declarative statement one way or the other. We just want to represent both as accurately and emotionally as we could. It’s more fun that way. It’s not the kind of story that the directors need to be too firm with their point of view, because I think it would close off the opportunity to have a conversation after the movie. – Joe Russo
I know when we left the screening in LA, we were jabbering away at what team we were no longer on or still on, and oh my gosh what would happen next. Discussion were being had, and the best part? They were all civil! 😉 Did things stay civil on the set between two brothers working on a superhero movie that is divided?
I don’t think there was rivalry, just because we both love both characters. We like very layered storytelling so we often times when we’re breaking the story, or prepping a movie, we’ll sort of step through the story from different characters points of view. We’ll take a pass where it’ll just be all about this character. And then we’ll take a pass where it’ll be all about that character. We work with ensembles a lot in our work, so it’s become part of our process to really have moments where the whole movie belongs to somebody else, just one particular character for a moment as we’re thinking about the film from beginning to end. I think that’s the process we went through on this movie as well, with the writers, Markus and McFeely, and the producer, Nate Moore from Marvel, and Kevin Feige. They’re both very near and dear to our hearts. We love them both. The other thing I think about Joe and I is that we love characters who are exciting and fun and cool, and all that, but also are very human and vulnerable. We always look for that side of the character. For us it was very important to find where Steve Rogers is vulnerable? Where is Tony Stark vulnerable? And sort of play to those in this movie in a way that would put them in conflict with one another. – Anthony Russo
Something that comes up often when movies based on comic books come out, is how the movie ties into the comic? Like The Walking Dead, where you think you know what’s going to happen because you read the comics, but they throw a curve-ball in the show. Personally I LOVE that. I don’t always want to know what’s going to happen, but I do like when the big plot points are kept. So what is involved with deciding what parts of the comic books will be kept, and what will they go away from?
I’m the first guy to line up to see the midnight screening of a movie I’m excited about., and I’ll drag my son out with me and sit there till 2:30 in the morning and watch the film just because I want to have that immediate response to the movie, the same way that everybody does want to be part of the cultural conversation about that movie. As a diehard comic book fan, I’m not interested in seeing a straight interpretation of a comic book. I already know the story. So why would I go see the movie? The Marvel Cinematic Universe is also building its characters in a very specific way that is very different than comic books. Film is a very different medium than comic books. We have two hours, 2 ½ hours, to tell a story and we can only put out one of those movies once a year, every two years, to move these characters forward. We have to make choices that are servicing the storytelling that is built up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Civil War in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is very different than Civil War in the comic books. We don’t have the same characters, we don’t have the same storytelling. For us, we borrowed the concept and applied it to our characters, but we also needed what we felt was a very emotional reason that would drive the story on both sides, because again, we were really committed to making sure that when he got to the end, he had a very difficult time deciding who was right. – Joe Russo
Spider-Man is by far my favorite superhero in Captain America: Civil War. I had no idea I would be saying that, but that kid seriously stole the show in the airport scene. Not only did he kick butt, he had some of the most hilarious lines in the film! Hopefully we will be seeing more of Tom Holland, who played Spider-Man in Civil War.
Oh my God, we are doing everything we can to hang onto him. – Joe Russo
Yeah. We’re more in love with him than anybody. – Anthony Russo
There was a really exhaustive audition process for that role. We saw him for the first time in our office in Atlanta, it was Anthony and I, and we were doing work sessions with all the actors. He came in and….Spider-Man was a very important character to me as a kid. I was a big comic book collector. I still have my collection in my closet to my wife’s dismay. That character was my favorite character growing up. So to be able to interpret him on screen was like a dream come true. The things that I loved about him as a character when I was a kid were his vulnerability, his insecurity, his sense of humor. But I loved that his sense of humor in the books was a very self-aware. He was a smart ass kid but he was a kid, and we felt that with our interpretation of the character, we wanted to have an actor very close in age to Peter Parker, and Tom’s a young actor. We also wanted to make sure that the actor had both the vulnerability and a confidence at the same time. It made him accessible, but also would allow him to stand in contrast to all these other really experienced superheroes who are running around dealing with a very adult problem. Then you insert into that a kid who’s trying to improvise his way through the situation, but doesn’t really understand the stakes and couldn’t understand the stakes because he’s a kid. Tom Holland just embodied all of that. He brought a real authenticity. That was the other thing too, we really wanted him to feel like he was of New York today, right now and not about comic book New York. He was a kid living in Queens who had a certain energy to him and a certain you know, that feeling that you get or that shift in your personality that happens when you do live in New York City. That was everything we were looking for and he, the kid, just embodied it so well, and he’s amazing in the film. – Joe Russo
With Captain America: Winter Soldier, there was a 70’s spy thriller vibe to it. You won’t find that in Civil War and I’m okay with that. The way the movie turned out is fantastically amazing, and I agree when the Russo Brothers called it a “psychological thriller“. Once you see it, let me know if you think so too!
You can’t do a movie called Captain America without sort of thinking about the politics of it, okay? It’s at the center of the character, who the character is from inception, and obviously in his name. So while there is still elements of the political thriller that carries us forward, and kind of maybe even launches us into this movie, we always thought about this movie as a psychological thriller. That shift was very important to us because the heart of this movie, for us, is the relationship and the conflict between Captain America, Bucky Barnes, and Tony Stark. It’s what has to play out between those three characters in the climax of the film that we are driving towards as storytellers for the whole movie. I mean, we are setting up that sort of awful reveal and that awful tension that plays out between those characters in that moment. So that’s why we always thought of it as a psychological thriller in terms of what happens to these characters on a psychological and emotional level, when this horrible revelation comes through at the end of the film. We were thinking about movies in that vain. Like, one of the movies we talked about a lot was David Fincher’s seven. We talked about Brian de Palma’s blowout a lot. These are movies that have had this similar trajectory where the characters are on this sort of road to something very awful. What is going to happen to them when they get there? How are they going to react as characters? How are they going to weather it as characters? That was the heart of the film for us this time around. – Anthony Russo
It’s no secret there is mega action in Captain America: Civil War. We talked with Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, and Emily VanCamp about the hardest scenes for them to shoot. But when it came to the Russo Brothers ,we had to know the most bad ass scenes to shoot!
Oh, that’s a good question. It’s hard to answer . It depends on what you’re focusing on at any given moment. I mean, look, these actors are all so good, right? They’re easy to direct, they’re amazing actors. Getting the emotional stuff, like the performance stuff out of them, is easy. The execution of action though is very, very hard. We are action fetishists we always say. We love action and we use action very specifically to find ways to express character, and express narrative through action. That airport scene was about the biggest thing we’ve ever attempted to do as directors. It was the biggest thing. It was almost like a mini movie within the movie. It took months and months and months to prepare that sequence. It took us an extremely long time to execute that sequence. That sequence was built in many different ways. There’s some practical shooting we did at a location in Germany called Leipzig, at an actual airport there. We had to build a huge, what they call a back lot, outside our studio in Atlanta where we just put down an enormous slab of concrete, and surrounded it with green screen. Some of those characters are really physically there and are highly trained to do very difficult stunts with the stunt team as well. Then some of those characters are entirely CG, so they’re interacting in the fight. – Anthony Russo
Plus 110° in Atlanta. We would take the temperature of the asphalt we were standing on and it was close to 125. Yeah, guys like Chris Evans and Chadwick Boseman in full costumes standing out there. Poor Paul Bettany, I remember one day where he was hanging on wires out there in full Vision outfit, and he moved his arm in a way that his sleeve opened up and sweat just squirted out. That’s true. – Joe Russo
They just dissolving in front of your eyes. Anthony Russo
Certainly uncomfortable circumstances, but they’re very difficult sequences to shoot. Most bad ass is probably… – Joe Russo
The Romania sequence was really thrilling, to be in that tunnel. We love cars like we love vehicle chases, car chases. The moment where Winter Soldier grabs the motorcycle! Also, we love fighting. We like hand-to-hand fighting which is what we focused on in the Winter Soldier with Captain America. So to bring him forward and have a fight with him and Bucky Barnes, fighting their way out of the apartment through the stairwell, that was another thing that’s very bad ass for us. – Anthony Russo
Natasha’s fights. – Joe Russo
Yeah. Natasha’s amazing. I mean, you know Scarlett is an amazing, amazing actor. There’s a wonderful stunt woman that works with her, Heidi Moneymaker, and she’s just an amazing fighter. – Anthony Russo
She really embodies that character and allows us to do some of those really bad ass Natasha sequences. – Joe Russo
In our Emily VanCamp Interview we talked about the kiss between Cap and Agent 13. We couldn’t let the Russo Brothers get away from us with asking if the love story between them would be continuing into Infinity War . Yes, we got a few details about Infinity War for you die hard Marvel Fans! 😀
Yeah. We’re sitting down and breaking into new war stories now, and that might be the next time that you see a lot of these characters on screen. Everything’s in the conversation. Where do these characters go? Where do we want them to be? The interesting thing about Civil War for us is, the fact that we knew we were going to be doing the Infinity War films, and there’s really a connection between the Winter Soldier, Civil War and the Infinity War movies. It’s an arch and that arch is of this family. This movie is a downbeat in this family’s existence in the Avengers, and what we thought would be most interesting heading into Infinity War would be putting these characters in the most complicated position they could possibly be in. To face the greatest threat that they’re ever going to face. Can they pull together? Can they forgive each other? Will they forgive each other? Should they forgive each other? Can they ever work together again? I think you’ll see some fracturing as we move forward, this Civil War is known for and it’s certainly going to carry forward. In the fracturing you will see camps of characters dealing with each other and moving forward. The Civil War isn’t over and certainly, Captain and Agent 13 will be part of that. – Joe
Well folks, that wraps up our exclusive #CaptainAmericaEvent Interviews for Captain America: Civil War. It’s been so much fun reliving these interviews as I share them with you all, and I hope they’ve gotten you even more excited for this epic film. A film which will be in theaters TOMORROW and I can’t wait to share my review with you Friday morning.
Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps—one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.