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Director Anthony Russo talks details about Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Jul. 25, 2012by: Paul Shirey

Director Anthony Russo, the second half of the directing team for CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER was at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour yesterday and answered quite a few questions about the upcoming sequel, while keeping the usual secrets under wraps.  Below are some highlights from the Q&A session.

On comedic aspects in the scripting process:
It definitely is. I mean, we're trying to grow him as a character, and certainly he's come a long way, from where he started in pre-World War 2 to where he is in modern-day America. So the character has room for growth because of that huge journey that he's been on, Number 1. Number 2, part of the appeal of these movies is the ensemble. Captain America isn't the only character in the film, there are other characters that are perhaps lighter in nature.

How the duo got the gig:
We were comic book geeks from a young age and big fantasy geeks. We got to talk to them in detail about that history. They knew that we understood the brand really well and the characters really well. It was a long process, actually, of talking to them over and over again, through a series of meetings over a long period of time. And I think they just -- we were really passionate about the movie, incredibly passionate about the movie. They felt that, and they felt like it was the right match.

On using Ed Brubaker's "Winter Soldier" storyline from the comics:
Well, we like the [story]. I can't talk too much about specifics, that's the way Marvel handles things. I can say in general that there's sort of a darker, edgier sensibility at work there that we found appealing, and that is going find its way into Captain [America] in the modern day.

On the possibility of WWII flashbacks:
Certainly Cap has this complicated history. We're making the movie for first-time viewers, not just for fans, so, because Cap does have this complicated history -- he was this skinny guy who became a super-soldier, he was born back then and he's living [now] -- in the storytelling, you need to convey that to an audience who doesn't know Cap's story.

On being intimidated by a big-budget tentpole film:
Well, two things. It has been something my brother and I have been working on for many years, behind the scenes, sort of preparing. We've had this great run in television comedy, and maybe "You, Me and Dupree" was an extension of that on a feature level. But we've spent a lot of years now researching that craft.

The other side of that equation is, Marvel is this incredible machine with all these amazing people who work there. That's part of their confidence and why they can go outside the box [in choosing] directors, because they have people there who know everything. They said to us early on in the interview process, "We don't expect you to know anything [about special effects and so forth] -- you don't have to know everything about this stuff, because we're here for that." They're very respectful of directors. They're an amazing company to work with.

On capturing the same character interactions from THE AVENGERS:
For me, what I loved about the movie, which is what many if not most people loved about the movie, were the character interactions, those great character moments. You have people rubbing up against each other in a way that's exciting and combustible. While all the special effects and the adventure, the thrill and the danger [are] fun, it was those character-to-character interactions are the heart of the film. So that's what [we'll hope to have].

does "Winter Soldier" have to have a different tone? I mean, it can't quite revisit mood or that feeling:
I have to be very careful how I answer this, because it does border on issues of what the movie is. But yeah, he is in a very different time and place. For as well as that style worked for his World War 2 experience and the origin of Cap -- part of the fun of picking a guy out of one time period and plopping him down in another is that all bets are off. The whole world is different, and that's part of the struggle of the character and the challenge the character faces.

I'm still leery of this duo on Cap, but I'm a huge fan of the comics, especially The Winter Soldier, so I'm certainly biased in that respect.  That said, I think that Marvel has a pretty good feel for who they hire and why at this point, so perhaps they deserve some faith in that department. Based on the Q&A it sounds like the story aspect of the sequel will be on point.  I'm not so sure about the aesthetic and style, though.

For the full interview, click here.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER opens on April 4, 2014.

Extra Tidbit: What villains would you like to see in the sequel? If they're following the storyline, then this could very well mean we get to see Crossbones, and that makes me a happy nerd.

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8:32AM on 07/26/2012
I still reckon it's far too soon to be doing this story, as far as Cap's story arc goes, but as it will have to differ significantly from the original comic anyway after the narrative choices they made in the first film, who knows what we're going to get. Personally I'd like to see them do something to make Captain America seem more remarkable than they have done so far. I'm sure they can make a great film out of this regardless, but it'll be far removed from the source material.
I still reckon it's far too soon to be doing this story, as far as Cap's story arc goes, but as it will have to differ significantly from the original comic anyway after the narrative choices they made in the first film, who knows what we're going to get. Personally I'd like to see them do something to make Captain America seem more remarkable than they have done so far. I'm sure they can make a great film out of this regardless, but it'll be far removed from the source material.
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+3
11:42PM on 07/25/2012

Darker and Edgier

"...there's sort of a darker, edgier sensibility at work ..."
Yeah rite, you forgot to add the words 'gritty', 'deep' & 'character driven'. I suppose your partner may use 'em.
"...there's sort of a darker, edgier sensibility at work ..."
Yeah rite, you forgot to add the words 'gritty', 'deep' & 'character driven'. I suppose your partner may use 'em.
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10:23PM on 07/25/2012

you, me and dupree???

please don't let this be another tim story fiasco.
please don't let this be another tim story fiasco.
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4:53PM on 07/25/2012

Don't stray from Brubaker

This movie should be more Bourne in tone, an espionage thriller with occassional flashbacks to moments between Cap and Bucky, both before and after steve's transformation as well as scenes of what happened to Bucky after his fall. The story is one of redemption. For Steve, he feels like he failed his best friend and desperatly wants to save him now. For Bucky, it is a story of heart and faith, and poses the eventual question: can he forgive himself for the things he was forced to do during the
This movie should be more Bourne in tone, an espionage thriller with occassional flashbacks to moments between Cap and Bucky, both before and after steve's transformation as well as scenes of what happened to Bucky after his fall. The story is one of redemption. For Steve, he feels like he failed his best friend and desperatly wants to save him now. For Bucky, it is a story of heart and faith, and poses the eventual question: can he forgive himself for the things he was forced to do during the past seventy years? You need scenes of Steve and Fury, where the fact that Fury has kept this from him is a major issue, and you should have Sharon. Hell, bring back Amanda Righetti. She was the unnamed SHIELD agent at the end of Cap one, and bares enough of a resemblance to Haley Attwell. It would make sense. Also, include the Falcon, but a SURE WAY to doom this is to go the Wayanes route and make him a stereotypical black smart ass sidekick. Sam deserves better than that, the role deserves someone like Idris Elba. Anyway, that's how I see it, but I am overjoyed they are doing The Winter Soldier, my favorite Cap storyline ever.
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+6
12:56PM on 07/25/2012

in relation to the story...

I think the best bet is taking this second film..and wrangling it in to a more internal point for Steve/Cap...With the first being a sprawling WW2 Epic origin...I feel the second should be a tight character piece...the best bet in designing the script is notching up the action, but keeping the film EXTREMELY Steve/Cap centric in a way that differs from the first film bc we know where he's been...

now let's see him stand on his own two feet in the here and now without a stanley tucci, or a
I think the best bet is taking this second film..and wrangling it in to a more internal point for Steve/Cap...With the first being a sprawling WW2 Epic origin...I feel the second should be a tight character piece...the best bet in designing the script is notching up the action, but keeping the film EXTREMELY Steve/Cap centric in a way that differs from the first film bc we know where he's been...

now let's see him stand on his own two feet in the here and now without a stanley tucci, or a tommy lee jones, or a haley atwell type character...He's obviously the central character, but exploring him in ways where his eccentricities in the present day sorta strip him down much like his height, and stature did in the first film by making him have a disadvantage (being a man from a different time should be the second level of disadvantages)...

I'll be honest, I feel the first CAP AMERICA film was just a tad on the under developed side during the second half of that film. I also think the first CAP film is the weakest out of the three released in succession, speaking of Iron Man 2, and Thor in that succession...(even tho Iron Man 2 was messy also, it still had a very strong first installment that propped up the second flick)

With that being said...Although the second Cap film should be more of an internal struggle with life after the avengers for Cap in the modern world...it also cannot be too much like THOR, whereas THOR was a fish-out-of-water story as well...and I think the difference maker comes in by making Cap's second installment a little more hard-nosed, where as THOR was very fluffy and colorful...

so, let's drop Cap in the city, take his training wheels off, and put him up against a modern adversary trained in modern ways of extreme warfare, while adjusting to modern ways of essentially EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD being so extreme for him too...without the back-up of the Avengers team unit while creating a relationship dynamic with another hero (IE: Falcon rumors) who is a MODERN ALLY that could be Cap's first true modern day "real" relationship where he develops a solid link to the modern world thru a character like--> (Falcon rumors) and a brother-in-arms that gives cap a sense of permanence, and confidence while dealing with the villain, AND the world of 2014.
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-7
12:29PM on 07/25/2012

I'm worried

The sequels all getting director changes is a worrying sign. And having two director's for this is even more so.
I hope it's at least as enjoyable as the first movie. Trying to remain positive for what is a great series of movies so far.
The sequels all getting director changes is a worrying sign. And having two director's for this is even more so.
I hope it's at least as enjoyable as the first movie. Trying to remain positive for what is a great series of movies so far.
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2:29PM on 07/25/2012
because Jon Favreau coming back for Iron Man 2 worked so well or what?
because Jon Favreau coming back for Iron Man 2 worked so well or what?
12:03PM on 07/25/2012
They seem to be passionate and knowledgeable about the Marvel universe, and that is a good thing in my book. I was a bit weary when I heard they'd be directing too, but I was also weary when Jon Favreau was chosen for Iron Man. A couple TV shows, Made, Elf, and Zathura? There was no way he could handle a big budget action movie.
How wrong I and many, many people were.
I have faith in Marvel Studios. They're directing choices are always so bizarre and out of the box, but maybe that's why their
They seem to be passionate and knowledgeable about the Marvel universe, and that is a good thing in my book. I was a bit weary when I heard they'd be directing too, but I was also weary when Jon Favreau was chosen for Iron Man. A couple TV shows, Made, Elf, and Zathura? There was no way he could handle a big budget action movie.
How wrong I and many, many people were.
I have faith in Marvel Studios. They're directing choices are always so bizarre and out of the box, but maybe that's why their movies have been so consistently good. (Yes, I'm one of the folks who really like Iron Man 2.)
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