The Russo Brothers Interview – Captain America Civil War

Joe & Anthony came in asking us, “Team Cap or team Ironman?” We all yelled our #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan. Joe said, “That’s what we were hoping for.” We were all wearing Team Cap and Team Iron Man shirts. Joe said, “That was the intent with the film was to hopefully when you’re done watching a 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 and because I think it would close off the opportunity to have a conversation after the movie.

Captain America: Civil War Director Joe Russo on set. Ph: Zade Rosenthal ©Marvel 2016
Captain America: Civil War
Director Joe Russo on set.
Ph: Zade Rosenthal
©Marvel 2016

Was there any rivalry between you guys writing the script and thinking out the process of the movie between Captain and Ironman?

Anthony answer, “No, I don’t think there was rivalry just because we both love both characters. Our process has always been; we like very layered storytelling so we often when we’re breaking the story or prepping a movie we’ll 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. And so it’s become part of our process to 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. 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. We love characters who are exciting and fun and cool at 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’s Steve Rogers 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.

Spiderman in the movie, where did you find him and are you going to hold onto that kid?

Joe told us, “Oh my God….[We are] doing everything we can to hang onto him.
Anthony said, “Yeah. We’re more in love with him than anybody.”

Joe chimed in on the audition process for Spiderman, “There was an exhaustive audition process for that role. We saw him for the first time in our office in Atlanta; it was Anthony and I. We were doing work sessions with all the actors, and he came in. Spiderman 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.

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland) Photo Credit: Film Frame © Marvel 2016
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War
Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland)
Photo Credit: Film Frame
© Marvel 2016

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 you know. He was a smart ass kid, but he was a kid. We felt that 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 confidence at the same time.

It made him accessible, but also would allow him to stand in contrast to all these other experienced superheroes who are running around dealing with a very adult problem. And then you insert into that kid who’s trying to improvise his way through the situation but doesn’t understand the stakes and couldn’t understand the stakes because he’s a kid. And so that was [UNINTELLIGIBLE]. And Tom Holland just embodied all of that. He brought a real authenticity. That was the other thing too is that we 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, a certain –, that feeling that you get or that the shift in your personality that happens when you do live in New York City. You know and that, so that was everything we were looking for and he, the kid just embodied it amazing[ly] in the film. It was amazing.

joe-and-anthony-russo-768x512 anthony-russo-768x903 anthony-and-joe-russo-768x512

Some Spoilers Ahead

With your last film, you guys had wanted to do more like a 70s spy thriller. Was that your vision? What was your vision going into this one?

Anthony told us, “You can’t do a movie called Captain America without thinking about the politics of it. It’s at the center of the character, who the character is from inception and obviously in his name. There is still elements of the political thriller that carries us forward and 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 you know 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. We are setting up that sort of awful reveal and that awful tension that plays out between those characters in that moment. 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 Blow Out 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 whether it as characters? That was the heart of the film for us this time around.”

When you guys are taking stories that are from the comic books and there are so many fans that are loyal to these comic books, how are you able to translate part of that story in keeping with the comic books and then deciding to go away from that? What’s involved with deciding what you’re doing with that?

Joe told us, “As comic book fans ourselves, and I was a huge comic book fan, I don’t have a lot of interest, and I’m the first guy to line up to see the midnight showings of a movie. 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 this 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? In the Marvel cinematic universe is also building its characters in a very specific way that is very different than the comic books. Film is a very different medium then comic books. You know, we have two hours, 2 ½ hours to tell a story in. And we can only put out one of those movies you know once a year, every two years to move these characters forward. So we have to make choices that are servicing the storytelling that is built up in the Marvel cinematic universe.

And so 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. You know, and so 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 committed to making sure that when he got to the end, he had a very difficult time deciding who was right.

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War L to R: Director Anthony Russo, Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier) and Director Joe Russo filming a scene on set. Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal © Marvel 2016
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War
L to R: Director Anthony Russo, Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier) and Director Joe Russo filming a scene on set.
Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal
© Marvel 2016
Captain America: Civil War L to R: Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes) and Director Anthony Russo on set. Ph: Zade Rosenthal ©Marvel 2016
Captain America: Civil War
L to R: Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes) and Director Anthony Russo on set.
Ph: Zade Rosenthal
©Marvel 2016

What was the hardest scene to shoot? And what was the most bad ass scene to shoot?

Anthony responded, “It depends on what you’re focusing on at any given moment. These actors are amazing. They’re easy to direct, their amazing actors. So like getting the emotional stuff like the performance stuff out of them is easy. Yeah, the execution of action though is very, very hard. We are action fetishists. We always say. We love action. 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. 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 back lot outside our studio in Atlanta where we just put down an enormous slab of concrete, surrounded it with green screen. Some of those characters are physically there and are highly trained to do very difficult stunts with the stunt team. Then some of those characters are entirely CGI. They’re interacting in the fight.

Marvel's Captain America: Civil War L to R: Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), and Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) Photo Credit: Film Frame © Marvel 2016
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War
L to R: Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), and Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)
Photo Credit: Film Frame
© Marvel 2016

Joe added, “Plus [it’s] 110° in Atlanta.” Anthony then added, “We would take the temperature of the asphalt we were standing on, and it was close to 125. 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. He moved his arm in a way that his sleeve opened up and sweat just squirt. They just dissolving in front of your eyes

Anthony talked about the most bad ass scene, “The Romania sequence was thrilling to be in that tunnel. We love cars, vehicle chases, car chases. The moment where winter soldier grabs the motorcycle! We love fighting. We like hand-to-hand fighting which is what we focused on in the winter soldier with Captain America. 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 you know.

The love story between Captain and 13, are you looking forward to furthering that and sharing more of that with the audience?

We’re sitting down and breaking into new war stories now and 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 and the fact that we knew we were going to be doing the infinity war films as we were [writing]. There’s 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. 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. It’s certainly going to carry forward. In the fracturing, you will see camps of characters dealing with each other and moving forward and certainly will be you know Captain and Agent 13 will be part of that.

Follow along with the hashtags to get the details as they happen: #TeamCap #CaptainAmericaEvent & of course, #TeamIronMan if you like that sort of thing!

Are #TeamCap? Or #TeamIronman?

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Most Photos are c/o Coralie Searight Lovebugs and Postcards. Thank so much Disney for the opportunity to interview these amazing stars. 

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