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

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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